May 16, 2020

A Brief Review of It Chapter Two (2019)

As noted in my previous review, I had mixed feelings about It (2017). I thought that it improved upon the original made-for-TV film from 1990 in many ways, and I ended up enjoying it more than I had expected. But I thought it was too long and contained unnecessary scenes that did little to advance the narrative, much like the original. My main complaint was that SkarsgÄrd's muppet voice repeatedly took me out of the film as I found myself laughing at how ridiculous it sounded. So while I did enjoy it, I thought it was a shame that they came so close to something great but ended up missing the mark.

I am happy to report that the muppet voice did not bother me nearly as much during It Chapter Two (2019). Maybe they toned it down a bit, but I suspect this had more to do with me being ready for it this time. Unfortunately, Chapter Two struck me as longer, slower, and as containing far more unnecessary scenes. It wasn't just that it was long and slow-moving because those aren't necessarily bad things. The real problem was that this crossed over into pointlessness. The first film already gave us the character development, but the second one was not content to rely on that. There was too much repetition, mostly through needless flashbacks. There were also plenty of unnecessary scenes with the worst coming at the very end of the film. It seemed like the director just couldn't stand the thought of concluding his film at the point where it was obvious to the audience that it should have ended.

As anyone even somewhat familiar with the story will know, Chapter Two focuses on the children from the first film, now grown up, returning to Derry nearly 30 years later to conclude their saga. I thought that the adult cast did a decent job but not as good as the child cast from the first film. There seemed to be something missing that I had trouble putting my finger on initially. It seemed like there was something flat about the performances. It wasn't exactly that the actors were phoning it in, but the emotional tone just didn't seem compelling. My guess is that this probably had more to do with the direction than anything. The result was that, despite the length of the film, the characters seemed one-dimensional at times.

While I didn't find Chapter Two to be any scarier than It, I did appreciate the visual effects and the number of unsettling or just plain strange visuals included. The first one was good in this respect too, but this one was even better. I really liked the scenes where something odd would suddenly appear in the background and I wouldn't initially be sure if I saw what I thought I saw. That helped to maintain the creepy vibe throughout much of the film.

Would I recommend It Chapter Two? I expect fans of the first one will have already seen it. I would definitely recommend it for the few who haven't. If you didn't like the first one, I don't think there is anything here that will change your mind. I enjoyed it, but just like I said about the first one, seeing it once was enough. As much as I enjoy horror movies, getting me to sit through those that last nearly 3 hours is going to require more than either of the It films delivered.