Movie Review: It Chapter Two (2019)

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Summary: Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

You can read Movie Review: IT (2017) , Spoiler Talk: IT and Spoiler Talk: IT Chapter Two.

Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • The Losers’ Club.
    • James McAvoy and Jaeden Martell as Bill Denbrough. While Richie was my favorite kid in the first movie, I actually think James McAvoy was my favorite adult. They gave him a lot of emotional things to go through and he’s so good at that that I was so invested in his journey throughout the film. As a kid, he had a stutter that as he grew bolder, he was able to speak without it. He is the leader, even though the actors say they all are, which is true, but let’s be real, Bill’s the leader lol. He’s smart, resourceful and determined. He started out wanting revenge for the death of his younger brother and when he finds out it was an actual entity; he was determined to take it down. Jaeden Martell was great as Bill, very likable and soft which works for his character because he’s like a leader who has to grow into his role. We get a lot of flashbacks with him and there’s one where Jaeden and James actually get to act together and that was one of my favorite moments in the film. They are the only ones to really get to work with the other actor of their character and it was really great. As an adult, he’s a successful mystery novelist and is married to a successful actress, Audra Phillips. It’s clear that he hasn’t quite gotten over Beverly even if he doesn’t quite remember her due to a line he says to Audra. He also has a hard time writing good endings because I mean, he hasn’t really experienced one lol. I liked that that had to do a lot with his development. He’s the first one to get called and the first one to come back and he’s also the first one to be more on board with everything. I loved his scene with Mike in the attic of the library with the visions. Wonderfully acted by both actors. I also loved that throughout the film as he lost his nerve and became more afraid, his stutter came back full force and HE DOES SUCH A GREAT JOB! GOSH! I love me some James McAvoy and I was so invested in him. I mean, I know Chastain got top billing but he knocked it out of the park. I loved the strength he had in trying to pull everyone together at the behest of Mike. I love that he had to learn what happened wasn’t his fault, because he feels such crushing guilt. I also really loved the Fun house scene with him because it was something added just for this movie for us to see not only how Bill feels responsible but also lights a fire under him. Oh, the scene at the storm drain was also a great scene too. Man, he’s so good.
    • Bill Hader and Finn Wolfhard as Richie Tozier. He was my favorite character from the first movie and I really liked him a lot in this one too. My biggest issue was that while Richie was involved way more than both Stan and Mike, he didn’t get as much development as the others. As a kid, he was a loud and foul mouth which got him into trouble a lot. He’s Bill’s best friend, which I thought was evident in a lot of their conversations, their fight and his awesome speech at the end, Finn Wolfhard did a really great job in this role and I love that fact that his idea of Bill Hader playing Richie as an adult actually happened which was great casting. We get a few flashbacks where we see Richie encounter Pennywise in monster form, as well as dealing with other character moments which were pretty nice and I thought Finn handles that emotional moment wonderfully. It’s very subtle but I think it’s clear to understand. Plus, he’s a boss at running away from things thanks to Stranger Things lol. Adult Richie is a successful stand-up comic in LA and he’s very similar to how he was as a child. He’s still foul mouthed and still makes jokes, even in the worst of the times… which to get off point for a moment, I know the “Beep beep Richie” is the Losers’ way of saying “Shut up” to Richie but no one literally says that in the first one other than Pennywise and it was just random. Just an Easter egg I guess, but I suppose fans were upset it wasn’t used properly before Pennywise’s taunt and they randomly included it in this and I was like “Wait… I’m glad you used it but it was so random because no one else has ever said that to him” just something I’d thought I’d mention lol. Bill Hader was really good, I quite liked him as well and I liked that he was still similar to how he was as a child where he’s against this but when it comes down to it, he has everyone’s back. It was pretty cool seeing Bill Hader in a role like this. He is definitely someone I have found myself thinking about a lot after I saw the film. A standout to me.
    • Jessica Chastain and Sophia Lillis as Beverly Marsh. As a child, she was physically and sexually abused by her father. She’s his “little girl” and all that. She was bullied at school due to rumors of promiscuity. She was the love interest of both Bill and Ben with her being more into Bill. Sophia Lillis was great as Beverly as she became a strong member in the group, she was brave and always willing to charge in with Bill. I personally think Amy Adams would have been better cast, as Sophia looks more like her but whatever lol. Jessica Chastain was fine, I thought she fit into the group just fine and that she did well with a lot of Beverly’s emotional moments. I did find myself rolling my eyes at her being overdramatic sometimes but I think my favorite moment of her was in the beginning when the Losers all get together again in the restaurant, it was very reminiscent of Sophia Lillis’ Beverly. Also, I hate to say it lol but the scene in the bathroom during the last third as well.
    • Isaiah Mustafa and Chosen Jacobs as Mike Hanlon. I am so happy that Mike’s role was larger in this because he was grossly underused in the first one. There’s not much to say about him as a kid other than, he was the strong silent type and came off as the protector being that he was bigger than the others. As an adult, he stayed behind in Derry as the librarian and has made it his mission to keep track of Pennywise so he could call the others back if he needed to. He almost has an eccentric quality about him because he’s been so hyper-focused on this for so long. I liked Chosen Jacobs, I thought he did well with what he was given but they still didn’t give him his due even in the flashbacks. ANYWAYS, I am proud of Isaiah Mustafa because he was great. He pulled off the manic and sweet personality that Mike has. A gentle giant in ways just because he’s a big guy lol. He had some really great scene with James McAvoy and I would like to see them partner up in the future in some other movies, they had great chemistry. He has some really strong scenes towards the end.
    • James Ransone and Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie Kaspbrak. He is a hypochondriac and is over exaggerated in how he always thinks something is wrong with him lol. As an adult, he is a successful risk assessor and married a woman similar to his mother (who is played by the same woman who played young Eddie’s mom lol). Eddie was clearly a fan favorite from the first film because JDG was great with his quick-fire comments, witty replies and his little ticks. I mean, him and Richie are the two I immediately think of when I think of the first movie because they were really good. He’s very funny and I thought James Ransone did a great job portraying an older version of the Eddie we’re used to. He clearly paid attention to JDG and tried to really capture some of his ticks and how he delivers his lines because I thought he managed to pull it off. He’s really quick with a lot of retorts, he’s funny without trying to be funny and I like that his arc centered around being brave because he had that issue in the first one too but it’s magnified in this one.
    • Jay Ryan and Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben Hanscom. As a kid, Ben was bullied for being overweight, but he was a sweet kid. He was into history and he got “inducted” into the Losers’ club after he finds them when he escaped from Henry Bowers. I thought JRT had this innocence and likability about him that helped his character even though he might have been a little forgettable at times. He has a great flashback scene in the school though lol. As an adult, he is fit and a successful architect. We get some flashbacks to see how he got into that. Jay Ryan plays adult Ben and I think he was the weakest actor out of the bunch and I also thought he didn’t belong a lot of the time, I’m not sure why but I often forgot he was there. When he inserts himself in the scene, he does have this likability about him and he comes off very earnest… but I don’t know lol. But I won’t put him in the cons because I still liked him, he was fine. He had a lot of quiet moments with Chastain to showcase more of how he feels about her and to show us that he’s been lonely for his adult life and all of that is great. But honestly, outside of kind of pining and then kind of being someone to be a bit encouraging, he was just fine.
    • Andy Bean and Wyatt Oleff as Stanley Uris. So, we don’t really get the chance to know Andy Bean’s version of Stan as much as the others, but I have to say, he is spot on casting physically because he looks like he’s related to Wyatt lol. We get to see a lot of Wyatt in flashbacks and I’m glad because it helped his character since he didn’t get a lot of screen time and other things in the first one. He was the stick in the mud of the group but he was very wise and both actors manage to pull that off in the little we get to see of him.
  • Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. He is an ancient monster that awakens every 27 years to feed on the fear of children it murders. Pennywise the clown is clearly it’s favorite form because he gets to have more fun lol. He does a lot of scaring in the first film and gets overpowered and injured but he comes back with a vengeance and he haunts the town of Derry. When the Losers come back, he begins to haunt them as well. He wants revenge for what they did to him all those years ago. I mean, he pulls out all the stops on them. Being that he is a shapeshifter, he takes the forms of many creatures in this film. Some of which we’ve seen before. I think one of the most interesting things about him is when he’s luring people in, he’s very charismatic (creepy) and he appeals to certain natures within that person. However, when he’s with our Losers, whether it be in flashbacks where he’s tormenting them, after they defeated him that first time, or in present where he’s back, he’s really trying to terrify them to get them back for what they did. Bill Skarsgård is amazing. He still does that eye thing which I’m used to now but still off-putting and then he makes some great facial expressions and coupled with the makeup… it’s a lot lol. I still don’t like clowns and if Pennywise ever showed up around me, I’d freak out but at least in the movies, I enjoy watching him do his thing. The voice, the body movements, his presence, it all works. Sometimes he comes off a little silly, particularly when they do the face thing with the teeth but otherwise, he’s a great villain. He does take the form of other creatures in the movie.
Intense Adventure. This movie has a lot of adventure elements, especially when it gets to the last third of the film. When they enter the sewers, the action is going down and it’s handled really well actually. Sure, there are a lot of horror elements in the last act but it’s also very physical and the characters have to do a lot. I was really into it and invested in watching them defeat this monster. It’s definitely bigger than the climax in the first one and we get to see the characters go off on different sections of adventures, some things we’ve seen already from the first film and other are new things. I mean, it’s pretty nonstop once they get into the sewers so be ready for a fast-paced adventure in the last 45 minutes.
Character Chemistry… sometimes. I think the adults manage to have chemistry in some aspects of the film but not always, so I will mention this later. James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain have worked together before and they have chemistry, friendly and romantic which is important since Bill and Beverly had something when they were kids. Bill Hader and James Ransone play off each other really well as while I thought Richie was Bill’s oldest friend and vice-versa, Richie and Eddie seemed to be closer and that shows in this one too. Isaiah Mustafa played really well off of everyone, especially McAvoy as they had a lot of scenes together and Jay Ryan fit in where he could get in… sometimes lol. A great scene though is when they all are in the Chinese restaurant and they just are having a great time, I believed they were all great friends. I also love group shots lol.
Chinese Restaurant/The Fun House/Storm Drain Sequence. Once all the Losers make it back to Derry, they meet at a Chinese restaurant to have dinner and it’s a great sequence because we get to see them fall back into their old ways, remember each other and their childhood and it’s a great scene for all the actors to just live in their characters. It was probably the scene where you see them the most like their kid counterparts. It has a lot of stuff happening, emotional moments, light and comedic moments and of course the scares which was creepy and everyone did well in freaking out about it. I sat in my chair like O.O the entire time. As for the Fun House, you see this part in the trailer, where Bill is in a hall of mirrors trying to save a little boy from Pennywise and it’s such a good scene. It really adds more to Bill’s character and the guilt he feels for Georgie. I read that it was a scene they added last minute, it doesn’t show and I think it was necessary to have. Bill has a lot of internal struggle and this scene really shows all of that. Pennywise is taunting him, and he’s in the fun house to eat this kid and Bill is trying to save him. He ends up getting stuck to watch this kid scream as Pennywise is on the other side of the glass. It’s a great scene and James McAvoy is so good in that scene. He is masterful and I really felt his fear. The kid did a good job as well and of course Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise was good in the scene too. The storm drain scene where Bill goes by his old house and he sees the storm drain where Georgie went missing and he stares at it for a moment. There’s a flashback which Jaeden does a great job acting in. Adult Bill has a moment and I can’t spoil it obviously but gosh it was so good.
The Horror Elements. Obviously, it’s a horror film so there are supposed to be scary elements. Now, with that said, depending on how scared you are, they may not scare you. I really only jumped maybe once in the film and it was towards the end with the “Not Scary At All”, “Scary” and “Very Scary” doors lol. It was what was behind the second door that got me lol. OH! I’m sure you remember the trailer with the old lady, that entire sequence was frightening, all the buildup that led to her reveal was great stuff because you can see her in the background doing weird movements and it’s an entire trip. Her actual reveal was pretty silly, I think I laughed, but everything leading up to it was unsettling. I think the biggest thing this movie does really well is the buildup to things. Pennywise surely takes out all the stops when it comes to going after the adult Losers because he wants revenge but the anticipation of what’s going to happen gets you more than what actually happens, at least, I think. This happens in the locker with Ben, the pharmacy with Eddie, the park with Richie and of course the storm drain with both versions of Bill.
Good Humor. Just as the first one was funny; this one is very funny. I mean, with Bill Hader it was bound to be funny. A lot of the humor goes to both Hader and James Ransone as Richie and Eddie respectively. They both really feel like adult versions of their kid actors. I think Ransone really tried hard to really emulate Jack Dylan Grazer’s quick-fire reactions and witty comments and he managed it most of the time but JDG is so great lol. But anyway, even when they’re not spouting off jokes, they have great facial expressions or even moments that help dissipate the horror. Not to mention, some things that were meant to be scary turned out funny.
The Flashbacks. So, we get some flashbacks with the kids from the Loser’s club which is great because I saw the first one because of the kids. We get to see some scenes we saw in the first one but we also get a lot of new scenes. A lot of them is with the losers on their own, after they defeated Pennywise that first time but he comes back to get in a few more scares. Or at least I think it’s after they defeated him, I thought one of the scenes made that clear but it also is a little confusing because it’s like “they defeated him where he went into early hibernation but he came back just to torment them a few more times??” I don’t know, but either way, I liked the flashbacks. It’s clear they did some de-aging on the kids because it’s been two years since filming and some of them have changed, particularly Finn Wolfhard lol. I mean look at him in the first movie and then look at him now. Some characters get more flashbacks than others, more like little moments than scenes but we still get to see more of them and what their lives were like. Stan has a great flashback during his Bar Mitzvah and I was like Yass Stan the Man. Great scenes.
Cons:
Too Long. This movie is 169 minutes or about 2 hours and 49 minutes long. I mean, it’s long and I think you would be aware that it is. It didn’t really bother me but I wanted to put it here because I’m sure people will complain about it.
Fluctuating Chemistry. I don’t think it’s like horrible or anything but I do think there are times when certain characters just don’t seem to fit as well. It happens every now and then and maybe it had to do with the conflict with the characters in the film but there are times where it’s like “wow, y’all look uncomfortable together” and like I said, it might be the writing. However, Jay Ryan was such an outlier with this group it was pretty noticeable a lot of the time. I don’t know what it was to be honest but I just thought he was the odd one out. It was just something I noticed.
The Romance. I’ll get into this more in the spoiler talk but I don’t really like how it was handled. One character, I thought it was fine. It was the love triangle with Bill, Beverly and Ben that I didn’t quite like. It’s not in your face or handled super poorly the way it normally can be handled in horror films but I thought the payout was lame no matter how it ended in the book. I didn’t believe in the end pairing because I didn’t think there was enough time for them to really have those romantic moments. That is all.
CGI Stuff and Horror. Obviously, this movie is a horror film and don’t get me wrong, I am not a horror fan, there are just some movies that catch my attention that happen to be horror lol. But, a lot of the time the build up for a reveal is handled really well but when things actually happen it turns out funny instead of scary. For example, I’m sure you remember the trailer with the old lady with Beverly in the house. So, that entire scene is unsettling and the old lady does weird stuff in the background and you can see her doing it, but when she actually is revealed, she looks ridiculous that I laughed. That happens a few times. My friend had her face covered with one eye visible for most of the movie and I know she was scared but I’m sorry, I cracked up quite a bit lol. Also, towards the end when we see Pennywise’s true form, it’s a mixture between the clown and his true form and if you have a fear of both clowns and what his true form is, then I can see it being too much and while I don’t like clowns, Pennywise isn’t that scary to me anymore and his final form was also kind of ridiculous. I laughed when they first showed it. I say all that to say, it may be scary to some but funny to others and while I was a little unsettled, I laughed at a lot of the designs. Unlike Judith (the painted lady) and the headless boy from the first film who were genuinely scary, I didn’t quite get that here. Not to mention, it’s also really a little weird when we get flashbacks with the kids and they are de-aged, some more than others, I think I noticed this particularly with Finn Wolfhard, probably because I’m so aware of him. I mean, look at him in the first one and then look at him now and it’s pretty obvious lol.
Loses the Simplicity. I thought a lot about this afterwards, but I think because this movie has to wrap everything up and so much is happening, it suffers a little for being complicated and having a ton of exposition at times. I know Mike is trying to impress upon the others the seriousness of the situation but a lot of times, it’s him talking and shouting at them and then everyone shouting at each other trying to say how they feel about everything. Then you have the entire third act of the film where they go into the sewers and it’s just a scary and fun joyride from there but they have to do so many things that it’s like “get to the point!” don’t get me wrong, I understood everything, I enjoyed the process but I’m also aware that what made the first movie so good, is that it’s complicated but pleasantly simple and it felt more contained whereas this one, is bigger and you can tell. It just feels like so much is going on and being thrown at you at once that it can become an overload of just stuff.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoy this movie. I think the first one is much better but this movie does a lot of great things. The cast is masterful which is great because the kid actors were the main reason why I wanted to see the first one in the first place. I thought all the adults managed to play the characters well where I can see the kids in them and not be completely upset at how they’re nothing alike. I still hoped for Amy Adams for Beverly but after seeing it, Chastain was fine. I’m happy at the development that Mike and even Richie received compared to the first film and I thought that James McAvoy and Bill Hader were standouts. They all have great chemistry together, especially when it counts. There are three really strong sequences that were acted so well that I just can’t even. This movie is really funny as well. There are a lot of laughs, some that are uncomfortable and some that are genuinely funny. The flashbacks scenes were some of my favorites because we got to see more with the kids and get a bit more development and time with them, which was great and it was handled so well in the film that it didn’t take me out the way flashbacks usually can. There is also some horror in here for the horror fans. I’m not one of those but I was able to handle it for the most part. Now, speaking of horror, I think the buildups to the scary moments were better than some of the actual scary reveals because  sometimes they just looked ridiculous that it made me laugh. I was more unsettled at the little stuff that might have happened in the background or that led up to the reveals. I do think the chemistry was off in some places, but mostly when it came to Jay Ryan. I do not believe the pairing at the end of the movie. I’m not upset about it but I wish the film did better in making me believe it was even an actual option, not just one-sided. Lastly, this film has a lot of stuff to get through and handle and you can tell that there is a lot more going on and it has a hard time, sometimes, making it through without it feeling like a lot. But in the end, IT Chapter Two is a great follow up to a wonderful first film and I definitely recommend it.
Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen IT: Chapter Two? Who is your favorite Loser? What did you think about this film? Let me know in the comments below!
There will be a spoiler talk for this film once I see the movie a second time :D.
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