'It Chapter Two'-A Hateful, Lazy, Boring, Mess
Opening with an exploitive hate crime towards two gay men," It Chapter Two" like its book is an overly long cliched jumbled mess hiding under the facade of sentimentality. Much like the first film's nostalgia for the eighties, our memory of the source material is as hazy as its traumatized protagonists. The general audience is grasping onto something that never indeed was that great, to begin with. The ubiquity of Stephen King's 1986 novel is admired more for its length than its content. It's like we praised an epic for its scale instead of its subtext. Underneath all its layers of blood is a hollow drawn-out remake of a cheezy 90s TV movie that never needed to exist.
We're primarily familiar where "IT Chapter II" takes off. The losers club are all adults now. Playing against their childhood club name, everyone has gone on to become prosperous. Eddie (James Ransone) is a wealthy businessman. Stanley (Andy Bean), an upscale architect. Richie (Bill Hader) a popular standup comic. Bill (James McAvoy), a famous writer who works are turned into successful Hollywood movies. If you haven't figured it out, Bill is Stephen King writing himself into his own story. Such a novel idea! Ben (Jay Ryan) is no longer fat. Honestly, that's all I could figure out about him. Beverly, (Jessica Chastain) lives in a lovely house in New York City. Her occupation is not revealed in the film. The only loser who remained on the lower end of the status poll is Mike. (Isiah Mustafa) Who never left his hometown. When Mike calls up all his buddies to let them know that Pennywise the killer clown (Bill Skarsgård) is back in town everyone reluctantly returns to Barry. Despite every character's occupation or singular quirk, there's nothing to distinguish them as flesh and blood characters. Each person feels like a fill in stock character whom you wouldn't care if they lived or died. You have the neurotic guy, the funny guy, the paranoid guy, the guy who used to be fat who's now hot, and the girl who's well, the girl. Such an excellent cast is put to waste due to a script that lacks characterization allowing anyone's talent to shine. As the film runs through its almost three hour running time, so did my patience. All seven members, excluding Stanley, are given their scare sequences which takes up about forty minutes of the film's running time before it reaches its climax.
Each scary sequence recycles every trope from the horror movie playbook from fake-out jump scares, to actual jump scares, haunted houses, characters slowly walking down dark hallways, areas filled with blood, creepy old ladies, CGI monsters and zombies. The only thing that was missing was a genuine sense of terror. After sitting through the first "It" and "Pet Sematary," the novelty Stephen King's horror cliches overstays its welcome. Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise just seemed to be trying too hard to make the audience afraid where he would come off more like a clown that a menacing sense of terror. The film champions itself as a horror movie with a heart, but its melodrama is a repetitious unfocussed wreck. After seeing the fifth inspirational speech about never letting go of your friends, I was about ready to let go of my ticket and head straight to my car. Where "It" focussed itself exclusively on the children, this picture can't help but continually flashback to remind us who each adult is. If Director Andy Muschietti wasn't confident enough in telling a story just about the adults, then why even make this a two-part story? It's as if the audience was unintentionally misled after the first film because the filmmakers realized while making Part 2 that the story wasn't strong enough for the adults to stand on their own two feet.
Where "IT" was barely able to hold my attention "IT Chapter Two" creates the cardinal sin of continuing a story that didn't need a sequel at all. If the theme of the first film was about not letting fear get the best of you then "Chapter Two" laughably hammers that theme into the ground. A child learning not to be afraid is something we can grasp onto as it's something we all grow up with. Witnessing a group of adults struggling with the same issues of anxiety is ridiculous when put on screen. Pennywise must be one of the weakest villains in cinema history if all you have to do is yell "you're a clown!" to make him go away. I believe many have left this film wishing they didn't get clowned so much by this movie's hamfisted themes and opportunistic use of moral challenges.