This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Demi Adejuyigbe’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
It has been a looooong time since I disliked a big studio blockbuster as much as I disliked this one. The script is awful, the balance of humor and horror is so fucking slapdash and without concern for really nailing one or the other, and so much of this movie feels like Muschietti really wanted to sit in the theater next to a 15 year old watching it so he could lean over with a smirk and go "Pretty fucked up, huh?"
The CG de-aging and pitch adjustment of the children is so fucking ghastly, the homophobic hate crime that kicks of the film feels entirely out of place and pointless (I've heard it's in the books, but... who gives a shit? It doesn't serve any purpose in the film series' adaptation of the story) the rules by which Pennywise 'works' are somehow made more and more unclear as the film goes on, it's extremely overlong and still somehow still under-developed its characters and under-explained its own plot, Chastain's character is only in this movie to be an abused woman and to fulfill the terribly-written romantic cliche role of the One Girl Of The Group, who's... in a love triangle with the other members? Still? After 27 years? Because of a poem? Alright, man.
I mean, Jesus, what works about this movie? Ben becoming "hot and successful" is so fucking hammy. There's a bonding moment between two characters that is ruined by them agreeing that one of them "married a woman 10 times his body mass" and we're supposed to love it. There are several scenes where McAvoy is left to do brooding, dramatic hero poses or the gang is spread evenly in an unnatural way so that the camera can get a good shot of them all together, because this entire film is directed for the trailer. The ending of this movie is a bunch of grown adults yelling "you're a clown!" and "you're a fucking bully!" at an extraterrestrial light monster in order to make him feel bad and defeat him. There's a god awful needle drop moment with "Angel In The Morning" that makes no sense and ruins what could've been a good moment. Hell, this whole thing is just a series of moments that make no sense and ruin potentially good moments– jokes about puppies and incessant, contrived callbacks to the first film and jokes about mullets and puns after brutal stabbings make it clear that they don't care if you give a shit about the traumatic reality of literally anything happening. It's all just index-carded ideas being tossed onto a conveyor belt piping right into a screenplay. "This is funny, it goes in. This is freaky, it goes in. This tests well, it goes in. Yes, they can all go in right after each other."
There's one moment I liked in this movie, and it's Bill Hader going limp after being hit with the deadlights. That's it. I don't even think Bill Hader's performance in this movie is anywhere near as good as people set it up to be– he's absolutely guilty of all the worst tension-ruining moments, and none of his comedy worked for me. But I also thought the same of Finn Wolfhard in the first part. No more characters whose entire personality is "we have one-liners for them to say so you know they're sarcastic. You love how sharp and witty they are, and it's funny." No it isn't. Write a fucking character. I love Bill Hader almost as much as I hate Richie Tozier.
And look, it's not the biggest deal– but Stephen King making a meta-commentary on shitty endings is one of the worst and most audacious authorial inserts I have ever seen. The gall of them to joke about a screenwriter doing a shitty ending, on this movie of all movies. Like they were so sure they couldn't be embarrassing themselves. We should all be insulted as hell that they really think they're that much smarter than us.
But then again, I paid $15 to see this alone in the middle of the afternoon. So maybe they are.