IT's come back! And so did the "Losers Club." But this time, they're all grown up and they intend on finishing IT once and for all. The much-anticipated sequel to 2017's It has finally arrived and just like the previous one. It Chapter Two was great! When the first film came out two years ago, I wrote about my feelings toward it for the Desert Review. Like the Losers Club in the film, I have returned, so let's get to it!
Set 27 years after the events of the first film, the group of misfit kids collectively known as the "Losers Club" have reluctantly returned to their old hometown of Derry, Maine, now as successful adults. The group is reminded of the oath they made as youths that if IT were ever to return, they would too. With most of the group back, they unite once again to finish what they started nearly three decades earlier and defeat IT for good.
I enjoyed the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King's classic so much that I just couldn't wait for the sequel. The adventures of the Losers Club as kids in It (2017) was so good it made me eager to see them return as grownups. Thankfully, two years went by fast. Here we are now with the conclusion of this epic saga. Much like the first, this one did not disappoint.
I attended a showing of the film with high expectations on the preview night with one of my friends. I'm happy to say that my expectations were certainly met. It turned out to be a lot different than I expected, but in a positive way. Just as when I saw the first one two years earlier, this one had me on the edge of my seat at times and managed to surprise me on more than one occasion, which is the point for a horror movie, of course. The direction by Andy Muschietti, who also directed the first, was well executed so I have to praise him on that.
The shining stars of It Chapter Two were its cast. To me, the cast made this movie. The first It had a great cast of child actors, who by the way, return in this one for some flashback scenes, which was great. One of the things that I kept thinking about after watching the first film was who would play the grown-up versions of the main protagonists.
If you're familiar with the story either through the original novel itself, or the 1990 TV miniseries version, then you already know that there are two parts to this narrative. The first chronicles the events that take place when our heroes are kids, and the second as adults. The three names that immediately caught my attention were James McAvoy, who portrays the adult Bill Denbrough; Bill Hader, adult Richie Tozier; and Isaiah Mustafa, who plays adult Mike Hanlon.
McAvoy has become a familiar name to me mainly due to his portrayal of Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men movies. Then there's Bill Hader, whom I remember from Saturday Night Live and the movie Hot Rod. And lastly, Isaiah Mustafa, whom I recognize from those funny Old Spice commercials. As for the rest of the cast, I was unfamiliar with them, which sparked my curiosity. Like their child counterparts before them, the adult cast was amazing. My hat goes off to Bill Hader, who I was really impressed with. As long as I have known about the actor/comedian, I've always seen him as a comedy guy so seeing him in this darker, serious film is definitely a breath of fresh air. Yes, he still gets to be funny. And that's another thing, It Chapter Two was not all thrills and chills; it had its share of funny moments, and a lot of that is attributed to Bill Hader, which is no surprise.
Once again, Bill Skarsgård nails it as the main antagonist Pennywise, the Dancing Clown. I praised his performance in the first It and I'll praise him again. His work as the killer clown is great and disturbing, in a good way, of course. Now, my views on which performer I think is the best hasn't changed since 2017. No matter what, I still like Tim Curry's original portrayal in the 1990 miniseries version and will always consider him the definitive Pennywise. But like I said in my review of the 2017 film, Bill Skarsgård brought his own unique take on the character and delivered a wonderful performance that did not seem to rip off Tim Curry in any way. As expected, he made the character his own rather than a copy.
The visual effects were superb and added to the film's scarier elements. In fact, I think some of the visual effects went hand in hand with Bill Skarsgård's acting and helped make the Pennywise character a lot more frightening on screen, even though I think he could have pulled it off without it, simply because he's a clown, which is already frightening to most people, except for me. Yes, I still like clowns. That hasn't changed, either.
So overall, It Chapter Two was great. Now as far as which part was better between the first and the second, I can't really say. I haven't seen part one since it was released so I will need to go back and re-watch it. But nevertheless, this one was very good and well worth the price of a ticket.
Just because Halloween is a month away doesn't mean you can't get a good scare here and there. My final grade for It Chapter Two is a solid A and it definitely has my seal of approval.