Review: ‘It Chapter Two’ doesn’t live up to the hype

Muschietti lets audiences down with highly anticipated sequel

Pennywise the clown isn’t nearly as scary the second time around.

Story by Trent Davis | Contributing Writer

It was funny, it was scary, but more than anything ‘It Chapter Two’ was too long and too disappointing.

In one of the most anticipated sequels of the year, Andy Muschietti makes the same mistakes he committed the first time around – just on an even greater scale. That’s not to say this is a terrible movie; it’s just to say that it isn’t very good either.

Picking up twenty-seven years after the first installment of ‘It,’ the second part begins at a carnival in the fictional, current-day Derry, Maine.

After fleeing the carnival for their lives, two young men are chased down by a pack of bullies and thrown over a bridge and into a river. It is here that the audience gets its first glimpse of Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard).

Unlike the rest of the “Loser’s Club,” Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) decided to stay in Derry after the traumatic events of the first movie, taking over as the town librarian. He acts immediately after hearing the report on the attack of the two men by calling his old friends, knowing that this can only mean the return of their nightmares.

Returning to Derry brings back a barrage of memories for the Loser’s Club; memories that are both joyful and somber. The gang reconnects over a Chinese dinner and, after having far too much to drink, are reminded of the reason for their homecoming when Pennywise decides to give them a good scare.

What unfolds is nearly 170 minutes of the Loser’s Club revisiting the trauma they buried, kindling old relationships, arguing just like always and working out a way to finish off their immortal enemy once and for all.

One of the best components of the movie, and certainly its strongest strength, is the cast.

Not only did producers do a really good job of picking actors that looked very similar to their child counterparts, they chose the best people for the job. Names that jump right off the cast list include James McAvoy as Bill (who was brilliant in M. Knight Shyamalan’s ‘Split’ and ‘Glass’), the hilarious ‘SNL’ star Bill Hader, who got the nod to play Richie and Jessica Chastain (‘Zero Dark Thirty’, ‘Interstellar’), who was cast as Beverly Marsh.

As far as the performances of the cast went, they did exactly what they needed to do. As most everything with this movie, there were no exceptional performances, but that’s not to say that the acting wasn’t good.

McAvoy’s portrayal of main character Bill shone through as the best of the group, with Skarsgard’s ever-haunting performance of Pennywise coming in at a close second.

What really holds the cast back, however, is the strength of the script.

Most of the jokes landed and for the most part the timing was appropriate, but the one’s that missed, missed hard. The same goes for the overall dialogue.

The words and actions of the characters aren’t always consistent or believable throughout the film, which causes it to struggle to find a solid footing. This is disappointing given the fact that they were working from a piece of literature from one of the greatest fiction writers ever, and considering the same people wrote a great movie that was based on the same book just two years ago.

If there’s any blame to be placed anywhere, however, most of it falls on director Andy Muschietti.

Going on the same theme of not being able to find footing, Muschietti’s direction is incoherent. The sequences aren’t put together in any sort of meaningful order, leaving audience members confused on what the story is about.

Is it explicitly about trying to stop an immortal clown, or implicitly about facing your fears and growing up?

The way in which he directs the movie doesn’t give us a clear answer either way, and therefore misses to find any sort of tone whatsoever.

Another major disappointment was the lack of how scary the movie really was.

The first installment was unique in the way it was scary; the second was cheesy and relied too much on jump scares and not enough on psychological fear.

It also becomes apparent that, the more we see Pennywise, the less scary he becomes.

Overall, ‘It Chapter Two’ isn’t really that bad of a movie. It was certainly entertaining.

However, it faulted too often and for far too long. It’s nearly a three-hour movie that could have easily been condensed into ninety minutes.

In comparison to the first movie and considering the amount of hype that was drummed up around its release, it just doesn’t live up to its own standards.

Rating 2.5/5

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