Austin’s review published on Letterboxd:
Even though Muschietti's only approach to directing a "scare" sequence is to have Pennywise shake himself and run quickly, this somehow works as grand, epic horror; unlike the first film (which I've warmed to), this maintains the novel's structural design of switching generational perspective, imbedding memory/trauma directly into Chapter Two's cosmic/social rot.
This is genre via blockbuster sensibility and while that dilutes the nightmare, it expands the scope—individual sequences are strange and time feels expressive; scenes transition beautifully, especially between individual journeys and the baton handoff between childhood and adulthood. Dead-spider things cocooned in fortune cookies are spooky, but traumas that have for years corrupted memories and left psychic scars, that's what evil eats.
Even if the movie's actual terror is sometimes too weak, scenes climax with disturbing imagination and total emotion. The undercurrent of connection fighting away Hell, the kind hiding beneath home, the kind beyond star blackness, and the kind infecting memory, that's powerful. Muschietti works the timelines for maximum emotionality and so do the actors, both children and adult.
McAvoy and Hader in particular are exceptional, and of course, Skarsgård is demonic (even if he feels underutilized). The entire cast is fantastic and just like while reading the book, I feel like a Loser.
We can move beyond childhood hauntings.