There are a few things I can’t look at when watching horror movies: mannequins, clowns, and character stupidity.
I’ll be honest: I’m not very familiar with Stephen King’s works. I’ve heard of him before through cultural osmosis, and the 1976 film adaptation of Carrie gave me nightmares as a child. But aside from that, I wasn’t really exposed to anything he’d written until I watched the latest recreation of his 1986 classic, It, with the first part of the story being released in 2017.
The first segment was captivating. It was gruesome, It was terrifying, It was absolutely enjoyable. The Losers were colorful, lively, and easy to connect with. I found “It’s” persona of Pennywise genuinely terrifying, and came home to an empty dorm room after seeing It in theaters half-expecting a sadistic clown to pop out of the darkness and rip me to shreds.
In comparison, It: Chapter 2 honestly didn’t do much for me. It was an enjoyable experience, but I think the film relies heavily on reusing material from the first segment without adding much of a fresh take on it. And while they’ve incorporated the reused material well, at times it feels repetitive. As a result, the movie seemed unnecessarily long.
You would think Pennywise would up his ante considering the Losers’ Club had a general idea of how they needed to defeat him this time around, not to mention the fact twenty-seven years had passed since their encounter. Twenty-seven years of growth, experiences, and newly integrated fears for Pennywise to pick apart and terrorize them with.
Instead, he pulled his usual tricks which, while still chilling, felt a little stale considering he spent a whole other movie using them. And while I understand that even the “Eater of Worlds” has his limitations, the fears he materializes for the Losers had already been run through each of their respective character arcs in the first film. It made sense to roll back to some of them, such as playing on Eddie’s hypochondria, but others were bridges that had already been burned down.
Of course, this can be overlooked considering each member besides Mike entirely forgot their experience with “It” (a phenomenon from having been away from Derry for so long) but may still feel a bit lackluster to anyone who’s seen the first movie. I will say that introducing the Ritual of Chüd—a battle of wills—did bring a fresh sense of purpose to the narrative and brought more relevance to revisiting past trauma.
And I understand why the Losers needed to relive their childhood trauma; doing so introduces themes of forgiveness, self-acceptance, and personal growth. But when it comes to the great and fearsome “It” himself, the scares were entertaining, but nothing new or special to an audience already familiar with his tricks from the first movie. The fear Pennywise instilled during the first chapter was more impactful when he was terrorizing children than a bunch of adults who knew what was coming for them.
Circling back to Pennywise’s game plan, I was admittedly a little disappointed about Bowers, the Losers’ Club’s tormentor prior to cannibalistic sewer clowns. Having him escape from the institution added more oomf to Pennywise’s game, demonstrating exactly how far his reach is. The fact that Bowers was sent for also tells the viewers that he is different, he will be a trying obstacle for them to overcome once again.
But Bowers died off so quickly, and without leaving much of an impact. I quickly went from “Oh, this fucker’s back, this will be interesting” to “Nevermind, I guess not”. He did stab Eddie in the cheek though, so there’s that. Eddie stabbing him back through the shower curtain was certainly a heart-jumping moment. I just wish Bowers was more properly utilized because, in the end, he was just a waste of Pennywise’s abilities.
This all being said, I don’t think It: Chapter Two is a bad movie. The visual and sound effects were grabbing, and they honestly could not have picked a better cast to portray the fully-grown Losers, who are still just as witty and comical as when they were children. It was still a pleasure watching them interact on-screen, and the flashbacks were all heart-pulling. The jump scares still made me jump. As a stand-alone film, it works well. But compared to the first segment of this adaptation of Stephen King’s classic, It: Chapter 2 fell a little short of my expectations because I knew exactly what to expect as the narrative progressed.
If you watch this movie without having seen the first part, then it will be an absolute treat for you. It is a good movie, and worth seeing at least once. But it doesn’t have anything on the first chapter.
Michelle is a wandering soul. She doesn’t know what she’s doing with her life. She hopes she’s doing something right. She is a great person to talk to; doesn’t talk much herself. If you’re nice, she’ll haunt you forever. Or until she’s bored.