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.
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.
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.