It Chapter Two ★★★

Following the brilliantly characterized and patiently detailed adaptation of IT, and with director Muschietti still at the helm, I’m genuinely surprised and disappointed to discover such an ill-paced, simultaneously rushed and plodding, sequel. Where the first film succeeded in world-building through character experience not really done so well in King-adapted page to screen attempts since Stand By Me, this feels like cookie cutter versions of the same warmly manifested characters dropped into what looks and reads like a series of stage lot sets. I won’t go into the many problematic story threads or the immensely uncanny valley of the CGI de-aging of the already young cast during the flashback sequences — Finn Wolfhard’s Ritchie gets it worst of all. There are few fun moments outside of the awkward editing and story structure. That said, Stanley-headed spider IT is creepy and fun, but any time the film veers close to the easy fun, horror, or heart of its predecessor, the magic is quickly interrupted by clunky editing, effects, and writing.