This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Chris Allen’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
The main thing I enjoyed about Chapter One was the interactions between the kids and Pennywise. Chapter Two wears out that welcome pretty quickly when the only actual damage that Pennywise will do is to secondary characters. Our heroes are never really in any jeopardy, as the story never spells out any rules for how or why Pennywise can basically only scare them. Why won't he kill them?
I don't remember this half of the book that well, but I think I was turned off in the film instantly at the offensive hate crime scene in the beginning. It isn't enough that this character is going to get eaten by Pennywise that he has to get basically murdered by some local savages. If those characters never show up again to receive any rightful justice, then why have that scene be there?
Which brings up the main issue with this film: what is Pennywise's power exactly? I do remember that in the book, he had control over the townsfolk as well, which is why no adults ever cared, or people acted in a savage way, as depicted in the hate crime scene. This film never lays any of that out. Which is what ultimately makes the opening scene so egregious.
Also, why doesn't he ever kill any of our heroes? I know the answer: in this film they were more interested in writing crazy clown interactions than at least attempting to pass along a competent reason for why Pennywise acts as he does. It's all a shiny object meant to distract us from the inherent weakness in depicting an all powerful villain who can do anything and everything without creating a valid way to defeat the villain.
Without being grounded in any type of reality that exists in the film, there is ultimately no satisfying way to complete the story, without relying on a couple of ideas briefly and simplistically addressed earlier in the film.
I admit I enjoyed the crazy clown sequences, but they were empty and end up taking away any satisfaction of seeing the death of Pennywise.