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It is Good, But Not Great

A Review of It: Chapter Two

Normally, I file things from the horror genre under Triple A.C: Avoid At All Costs. Every now and then, though, I find something scary that I’m willing to enjoy, like Stephen Kong’s It. After I saw Nostalgia Critic review tear the 2017 film a new one, I thought I should see it for myself, and I wound up enjoying it. So I decided that I would go and see the second half of the story, It: Chapter Two.

I now know that Nostalgia Critic’s going to have a field day with this.

The Plot

Twenty-seven years have passed since the summer of 1989, and the Losers Club members have gone their separate ways. When people begin to start disappearing, though, Mike Hanlon, the only Loser to remain in Derry, realizes that Pennywise has returned. Remembering their blood oath, the Losers must reunite to finish what they started as kids. Luckily, Mike has a plan in the form of a ritual passed down by a Native American tribe that can destroy It once and for all. To do that, though, they have to dredge through some very unpleasant memories of their old foe. They’ll never know peace until It is destroyed.

The Bad

Now then, it’s time to pick apart the things that I thought were holding the film back. A big one happens to be the actions of Pennywise himself: It doesn’t learn its lesson from last time! If you got beaten by a bunch of teenagers, killing them should be top priority. It even has the perfect opportunity to do so. When Mike tells the Losers they each need to retrieve an artifact from their childhood, they all split up.

Bill Skarsgard gives his all as Pennywise, and easily steals the spotlight when on screen. Too bad Pennywise is still full of himself.

I’m sitting in the theater and thinking to myself “why split up? That’s the first thing you never do in the horror genre.” Plus, they all go around Derry unarmed without even a bat. They’re sitting ducks, and the creature just chooses to continue messing with them.

This wasn’t the first time It went after the Losers while they were split up. Through a series of flashbacks to the time of the first film when the Losers split up, It went after them then, too. Again, it does nothing beyond scaring them.

The flashbacks themselves were nice, gave us some extra padding on the characters with some moments not seen in the first film. Eventually, though, they become dead weight that makes the film longer necessary. By the time the final fight rolls around, I’m about ready to leave.

The Good of It

Bill Hader as Grown Up Richie in IT: Chapter Two
Bill Hader owned it as Richie in IT: Chapter Two. He’s just so much fun to watch, I consider him my favorite in the movie.

Thankfully, there’s plenty of good stuff to be found in this movie. The actors, for both the kid and adult versions of the Losers, all do a good job with their roles. My two favorites are Ben and Richie. Richie’s still hilarious when he doesn’t want to bail, dishing out one-liners and saying what everyone’s thinking. Ben’s still the sweet romantic towards Bev, even though I felt the love triangle subplot pointless. Plus his house is dope.

Other than the cast, the thing I liked most was how It: Chapter Two corrected some things from the novel and the miniseries that I consider a mistake. If you’ve read the novel or seen the miniseries, then they make some adjustments to Pennywise’s final form and final fight. I don’t want to give away too much, but the whole thing plays out like the final boss fight of a video game. The way they defeat Pennywise is handled better, too; none of that “spider-tipping” nonsense from before. It’s fun to watch.

Fixing Stephen King’s Mistakes

The thing about the film that I think it did best, though, was fixing the ending. In the book, after It’s defeat, the Losers go their separate ways and eventually forget everything about the events in Derry. I hate that. As terrifying as it may be, I wouldn’t want to forget what happened, since that would mean forgetting my friends. Friendships like what the Losers have can come once in a lifetime, and that’s worth all the hardship in the world. Fortunately, the movie realizes how stupid that is, has the surviving Losers remember everything after leaving Derry, and presumably keep in touch for the rest of their lives.

IT: Chapter Two ending.

Also, in a meta-joke, everyone acknowledges that Bill’s novels are great, but the endings suck. It basically calls Stephen King out for his great stories but terrible endings. Except for Shawshank Redpemption.

The Verdict

So, It: Chapter Two does have a lot of glaring flaws. The run times too long, Pennywise is still trying too hard to be scary, and tons of flashbacks could have been cut. It does make some improvements, and at the end of the day, it’s a fun movie. I’d go the movie if you’re a fan of Stephen King, but don’t expect it to be the definitive adaptation of It that the film tries to be. Plus side, I can’t wait to see Nostalgia Critic and How it Should Have Ended poke fun at it.

I Give It: Chapter Two a 3.25/5. It is good, but not great, either.

…. Hollywood’s making a sequel to The Shining, you know. If Stephen King hates the Stanley Kubrick film, he’ll despise this.

Click here to see my reviews for various films.

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