'It: Chapter Two' (2019) Review: Sink Like a Lead Buffoon

Updated on September 9, 2019
ChrisSawin profile image

Chris is a Houston Film Critics Society Member and a contributor at God Hates Geeks, and Slickster Magazine.

James Ransone, Jay Ryan, Isaiah Mustafa, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Hader in, "It: Chapter Two."
James Ransone, Jay Ryan, Isaiah Mustafa, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Hader in, "It: Chapter Two."

Filthy Little Children

It: Chapter Two has Pennywise return to Derry 27 years after the events of It. The blood pact the Losers Club made as kids also brings them back to the hometown they’ve all but forgotten. They swore they’d do whatever it takes to stop Pennywise once and for all, but how do they go about doing that when he’s as powerful as ever and local children are once again his delicacy?

This world where both chapters of It takes place is cruel and heartless to a scary extent. Mostly residing in the fictional town of Derry, Maine, older teenagers and adults are viciously mean and violently nasty to the point where it’s practically inhuman. You likely rectified this thinking that it only brought those lucky enough to be a part of the Losers Club closer together. These kids attempting to survive on their own seems like suicide; an uphill battle that would leave them bloody and beaten. Staying together as a group is what made life tolerable and never leaving each other’s side meant they always had each other’s backs. They say there’s strength in numbers and the Losers Club could take on the world one psychopathic clown at a time; broken bones and loss of crucial bodily functions be damned.

Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise.
Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise.

At nearly three hours in length, It: Chapter Two is a lot to process. The film is apparently more accurate to the book than the 1990 TV miniseries, but whether that’s a good thing or not is entirely up to you. Pennywise’s origin intertwines with Native American folklore and the bizarre cosmic jargon. It: Chapter Two spews at you is like a peyote-laced fever dream. The sequel/second half rests on a Native American ritual Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) was introduced to during a Native American bender he experienced while the other Losers were off living their own lives away from Derry and requires participation from them all in order for it to work. All of this playing out on screen isn’t necessarily good or bad, but it is certainly a kind of ominous and strange kind of peculiar.

There also seems to be less Pennywise this time around, which results in less actual horror. It: Chapter Two simply isn’t scary. It’s an odd thing to say since Pennywise seems to devour more children than in the previous film, but so much time is devoted to the Losers hemming and hawing over whether they should stay in Derry or not, finding their trinkets/special items for the ritual, and reacquiring their forgotten memories that Pennywise feels secondary. Where and when he’ll show up is part of the fun of the film, but you’re left craving more solely because Bill Skarsgard is so memorably haunting in the role.

A Clown's Utopia

The cast is easily the best and most enjoyable aspect of It: Chapter Two. For this being his introduction to the horror film genre, Bill Hader is ridiculously great. He’s funny, sincere, and inappropriate –a genuine and unfiltered motor mouth that basically annoys his way into your heart. James McAvoy brings this panicked intensity to the role of Bill, Jessica Chastain seems to be floundering in her poor life choices as Bev, and Kevin Ransone nearly steals every scene he has thanks to his neurotic behavior and outrageous interactions with everyone and everything around him.

The terror manifestations and their execution are hair-raising and mind-bending in It: Chapter Two. The camera caters to what movement would best discombobulate the audience like Bill entering the funhouse, Bev in the bathroom stall, and Ben in the clubhouse. These sequences are creepy, reality warping, and intriguing but they still fail to scare you. It’s a stripped down version of what Inception was aiming for while being much more grounded in comparison. Questioning whether or not something is real in It: Chapter Two also factors in to the film’s ability to shatter expectations.

Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Dylan Grazer, Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Jaeden Martell, Finn Wolfhard, and Chosen Jacobs in, "It: Chapter Two."
Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Dylan Grazer, Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Jaeden Martell, Finn Wolfhard, and Chosen Jacobs in, "It: Chapter Two."

Many reviews are stating that It: Chapter Two feels clunky and that it’s as if director Andy Muschietti tried to cram an entire miniseries into a 169-minute film. It’s difficult to argue those points. There is a lot of dialogue to sit through, a ton of setup that doesn’t play out until later, and a general anxiety that is more focused on what could be there rather than what is or isn’t but It: Chapter Two never feels boring. The film’s inclusion of a Native American/astrological fused origin of a shape-shifting cosmic evil with the ability to manipulate reality and be invisible to adults is odd, unique, and teeters on the brink of absurd. Chapter Two isn’t as enjoyable as the 2017 film, but it’s also quite different in comparison. The young and adult ensemble casts have such palpable chemistry with one another and Bill Skarsgard injects a vigorous jolt to the beating black heart of a maniacal clown.

This is an unusual film to process since it doesn’t really deliver on scares, but it also gives life to the weirdest parts of the source material, which deserves some sort of recognition. It: Chapter Two is a cryptic head-scratcher of a second half and it’s likely to be completely off-putting to casual moviegoers. For those willing to stick with the Losers until the bitter end, It: Chapter Two is incredibly bold, overwhelmingly bloody, and an undeniably bonkers slice of cosmic pie.

Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise in, "It: Chapter Two."
Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise in, "It: Chapter Two."
3 stars for It: Chapter Two (2019)

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Chris Sawin

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Ilan XD profile image

        Raziel Reaper 

        10 days ago from Hyrule

        I am yet to watch this one, but I remember the first movie. Back then whenever asked about It, the one thing that stuck me was that the movie wasn't particularly scary (and from what I hear, neither this one); rather, to me It felt like an "anti-horror movie". Instead of scaring its audiences off, It:Chapter One felt like it was trying to "teach" the audience that there is nothing to fear - that you must fight your fears rather than submit to them.

        Not sure when I'll get to watch the second movie, but I do wonder how would it be for me.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)