It Chapter Two ★★★★

A couple of years ago me and my friend bought tickets for It: Chapter 1 only to be refused entry because we were a year younger than the rating. Boo hoo. But today, I, a proud new 17 year old, walked into a theatre to watch It: Chapter 2. Truly, the film grew with its audience.

I heard a lot about this movie before seeing it: That it was too long, lacked focus, and wasn’t as *scary* as its predecessor. I’ll agree, all of these things are true. In regards to length, the film’s big weakness is repetitiveness. The character mentalities took multiple scenes to establish when they could’ve been established just as easily in one. There’s also a lot of unnecessary back and forth. A scene from the first 45 minutes of the film could be indistinguishable from a scene 1 hour and 45 minutes in. It’s very predictable in its structure, yet somehow still felt oddly jarring in its build up to, what is supposed to be, its ultimate conclusion. It was about halfway through the final fight when I realised “Hang on... is this the final fight? Is this it?” The film meandered in its plot and driving plan, never quite sure of how exactly the Losers were supposed to beat Pennywise. And aside from the scenes that catered to the individual viewers fears, the film was vastly less... twisted? As the first? It relied far more heavily on jump scares, shock horror, and fake-strobe lighting effects (which are by far THE WORST horror movie trope). And what the fuck was the meaning of the “lights”??? That’s all I’ll say about that.

But... it can’t help but like this movie. The negatives outweigh the positives, but what this film succeeds it at it does perfectly. I could not get through this review without talking about the characters. This is a character driven horror film, which is unusual for the genre. Each characters unique fears, weaknesses, and traumas bleed into the film and its manifestations of their nightmares. No character gets done dirty (well... except for one very obvious one), and each character grows and becomes more fleshed out in a natural and believeable way. This would be impossible to pull off without the endearing and pitch-perfect performances, with special recognition to Bill Hader, James McAvoy, and James Ransome. I especially like the attention and development given to Mikes character, where in the first film he really only served as a token with barely any lines. You really feel like these characters have grown up and changed yet are still the same kids, deeply haunted by their pasts and unable to escape their childhood weaknesses. I was afraid the new, older ensemble would feel jarring in the universe, but they worked just as well as the original cast.

The film’s scares may be less effect this time round, but its style and creative execution is amplified to extremes. There are some scenes and even specific shots that could only have been pulled off by Andy Muschietti. All I can say is that’s it’s almost lovecraftian and cosmic in its approach to the horror, like a nightmarish Doctor Strange. There’s some great visual effects on display to the point where some of it I wasn’t even sure was practical or not.

Most importantly of all, this film had heart. It retained the tone of the first film without taking away its own personal and character growth. I probably couldn’t have made a better sequel. I’ve never read the original novel and have no intention of doing so (it’s THICC) so I can’t say whether it’s a faithful adaptation or not. Needless to say, it’s fun, endearing, and a hella good time if you’ve got 3 hours to spare. Losers stay losers, or whatever.

- BREATHTAKING transition near the beginning from a sewer to a carnival. Thought about it for like 5 minutes after.
-Bill Haders first shot in the film is of him throwing up in graphic detail.
-The Chinese Restaurant scene is *chefs kiss* cinema.
-There’s a mirror maze scene in this movie that just kept me wondering “How the FUCK is the camera man not reflected literally everywhere???” There are some master editors out there.
-That Georgie kid is really good at scary chanting but god is it annoying
-May downgrade to ⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2 later

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