It Chapter Two ★★★

The first It was certainly lightning in a bottle - the intersection of blockbuster scares and 80s nostalgia made it a perfect fit for 2017. Two years later, It: Chapter Two can't quite recapture the magic, despite a raft of mostly unnecessary flashbacks. Chapter One was tighter, scarier, and most of all, surprising. We've seen Pennywise's tricks; like the adult Losers, we can handle him now.

All that having been said, I still enjoyed this quite a bit. I've never read the book but did see the Tim Curry miniseries, so I had a broad idea of what to expect. The best thing Chapter Two has going for it is a game cast, including standouts Bill Hader and James Ransone, most of whom are eerily similar lookalikes to their preteen counterparts. I also appreciated the sheer scale of the climax, which certainly packs a bigger punch than the miniseries (in fairness, the budget is several times larger). And of course, there are a number of fairly effective scares, though it's very much "more of the same" - if you've seen the first film, you know what to expect every time the music cuts out.

I often appreciate sequels that go wilder than the originals, and it's clear that director Andy Muschietti was allowed to do basically whatever he wanted here. The result is a hot mess but at least it's rarely boring, and I can't say I'm not a little thrilled to see horror get the blockbuster treatment yet again.