It: Chapter 2 has Scares and Heart

I wasn’t a big fan of It, part one, and I was wary of whether or not It: Chapter 2 has scares and heart. Well, I went and saw it today, and I have to say I wasn’t as disappointed as I thought I might be. Did I like the movie? Short answer: mostly. I will explore the longer answer in this post. There won’t be many spoilers in this post, but there will be some. I have warned you.

The image shows a poster for It: Chapter 2, a movie that has scares and heart

I am a huge fan of the novel, but as I wrote in my reaction to the trailer, I understand separating book from film. They are two different mediums, and the novel is so large, there is no way any movie could cram everything in. In that vein, It: Chapter 2 succeeds because it has scares and heart in equal measure.

Things start off strong with a quick flashback to the end of the first film, then we move to 2019, and things never really slow down.We begin at the Derry Canal Days festival, and follow the homosexual couple of Adrian Mellon and Don Hagarty. Don is from Derry and therefore knows the town is mean and nasty. He tries to impress this knowledge on Adrian, but his lover ignores him. Then, some small town bigots jump them and beat Adrian to a bloody pulp.

It: Chapter 2 Has Scares and Heart Thanks to Humans

Sure, monsters are scary and thanks to modern technology, they look good, too. However, I’ve always found the people to be the scariest part of horror films. By that, I mean horror is at its best when it has a human element. Most of the time, that element is the heroes fighting monsters. However, humans acting like monsters is terrifying. Just think about it. We know monsters aren’t real. Unfortunately, human monsters are all too real. All we have to do to see them is to look at the world around us. Humans behaving terribly is relatable, and is something so true we can’t ignore it.

Soon after the brutal business with Adrian and the local yokels, Mike Hanlon makes his phone calls to the rest of the Losers. These calls bring them back to Derry to face the clown once and for all.

All of the adult actors put in fine performances, but three stand above the rest. Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, and James Ransone do a lot of heavy lifting, and carry large portions of It: Chapter 2, providing heart in the face of scares.

It’s difficult to discuss the movie without giving things away. Instead, I will just say that there were some highly effective scenes in this film. There were a few good creepy moments, some humor, and a surprising amount of feeling. I was worried the film was just going go through the events of the book like a checklist, which wouldn’t be any good. But, they didn’t go that route, and the movie was better for the choice.

Strange Choices Hobble It: Chapter 2

While it is safe to say that I enjoyed this movie overall, I have some gripes about it. Gripe number one is the character changes. As I stated before, changes happen in adaptations. That is a simple fact. Sometimes, the changes work well, and other times they don’t work at all. In the case of It: Chapter 2, the changes hamper the scares and heart found in the film.

What changes? You ask. The first big one is Mike Hanlon. In the novel, and the original mini-series, Mike was well-spoken and well-grounded. In the newest version, however, he is neither of those things. Could the direction the filmmakers took his character have been interesting? Of course, and to an extent it was. But, those changes also opened the door for character inconsistencies from all the Losers. The movie makers made an interesting choice with Mike, but it didn’t fully work for me.

Another odd choice they made for this film was the Henry Bower’s story line. On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with it. But, if I think deeper about it, I have to say it felt rushed. Again, there’s just not enough time to fit everything in and give it room to breathe. I accept that. Still, a little more focus on Bowers would have benefited the flick.

There were other choices and changes that irked me at the time, but were so small that I can’t remember them now. I did like the running joke about Bill and his endings. That was a small, and welcome, change.

Final Thoughts

Overall, It: Chapter 2 has scares and heart and is entertaining. It tries to do too much sometimes, and gets muddled with mythology. Additionally, it relies heavily on CGI and doesn’t always give its players time to breathe and grow. Still, the acting is serviceable to excellent, even if adult Ben looks like some free spirit d-bag and doesn’t have much of a personality.

Have you seen It: Chapter 2? What did you think of it? What do you think of this review? Let me know in the comments. And, as always, thanks for reading.

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8 thoughts on “It: Chapter 2 has Scares and Heart”

  1. Oh yeah, Derry collapsing…same here. I guess they decided to use a smaller scale and destroyed just the Neibolt house.
    I agree with you on Beverly and yes, it works for me as well.
    And – just a small detail but it makes me smile. Andy and Barbara Muschietti cameos were nice but Stephen himself and the actor who played young Ben in Tim Curry’s TV version as a part of the group of developers talking to current Ben – these were simply awesome.

  2. I couldn’t agree more, man. Very well written and totally on point.
    I made a list of pros and cons and it’s more or less the same thing except you have written it in a nice way. : )
    I loved the humor in It (there was quite a backlash for that), I just take it as a coping or defense mechanism of Losers and therefore it does not disturb in any way. Bill Hader just excelled. Speaking of Losers – yes, Mike’s change was strange to me, too, so was Ben but otherwise the cast was really good and very similar to their young counterparts.
    The main pros, in my opinion, are the Adrian scene, pretty much everything with Bill Skarsgard (especially killing of Vicky and him being without make-up), humor, Mrs Kersh before CGI took over – so yeah, the “human” element is way scarier than the monsters. Then pretty good audio and score and the fact it has balanced scares and heart, as you wrote.
    On the other hand – the cons are definitely the CGI overuse, not enough Henry and even Pennywise could have more space, the running time is more than sufficient.
    Beep – Beep!

    1. Yep. Thanks for reading, man. Yeah, the humor didn’t bother me much. I don’t mind that they made Richie gay, but it would have been nice for him to come out and admit it to the rest of the adult Losers. They wouldn’t have cared. And yeah, Ben pretty much could have not been in the movie and it wouldn’t have been too different, and Henry was done too quick. Still, overall I enjoyed it, and especially more than part one.

      1. I’m glad you liked it, I was really curious what your opinion would be since you’re such a huge fan of the novel.
        I enjoyed it as well. It’s very well intertwined with the part 1, now I even think that the part 1 literally needs the part 2, many things from their past have been cleared so I’m gonna watch both parts as a whole and I’ll float.

        1. Beverly was still the strongest character, which really works for me (obviously). I liked her fight with Tom, her defensive posture blocks and the kicks were great. And in the attention to detail portion, later on you can see her forearms are bruised from when she blocked his blows. I am still sad we will probably never get to see Patrick’s murder fridge, the giant bird, or Derry collapsing. Oh well, different mediums.

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