2.5/10 “IT: Chapter Two” was my 7th most anticipated film of 2019 and the first installment was the best horror film of 2017. I was so excited for this movie and this is probably the most disappointed I have been in a movie theater all year. Before I explain why this is possibly the biggest letdown of the year, let me tell you the few things that did work very well in this movie. Like the first installment, there was some hilarious humor at work here, mainly involving Richie’s character which helped lighten up the tension with how dark of a movie this is. The casting of almost all of the adult versions of the kids from the first film were spot on, with only one weak link in the bunch. Some of the visuals, particularly with Pennywise, looked very well done. The score, although not as memorable as the first film, was still a strong point. Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise was fantastic and continued to do an amazing job creeping us out and the cinematography was creative. However, all of those don’t wash away how many problems there were with this movie. The first film had three screenwriters, one of which was original director Cary Fukunaga, whom is an excellent screenwriter and director. Here, only one of the three screenwriters returns and it isn’t Fukunaga so that is why I believe this script is such a mess compared to the first film. The first film had a great blend of heartfelt character moments with scary horror. This movie goes all in on the horror and has very little in the way of meaningful, emotional character moments. A big problem with this movie is repetition. In the first film the kids one by one are alone with Pennywise as he reveals their greatest fears. Here, we get to see the exact same thing, but as adults and instead of their greatest fears, things that have no significance to the characters (Richie isn’t afraid of Paul Bunyan and Beverly isn’t afraid of naked, old women, for example). For a movie that lasts just shy of three hours, seeing these characters one by one get scarred by Pennywise again felt like a waste of time since we already saw that in the previous film. Also, as fun as the characters were, there was no need to put the child characters back into this movie. We had an entire film dedicated to these characters as kids so it was rather pointless to see them in flashbacks again. That time could have gone to further develop these characters as adults. The creepy adults and citizens of Derry played a very large role in the first film but here Derry turns into a ghost town as there are barely any interactions with the town’s folk. The streets are often empty and even the hotel that they are staying at has no one running the place, leaving our protagonists to steal alcohol from behind the bar. There is a gay subplot that was so out of place and shoehorned in as well. There was a love triangle in the first film so it made sense to revisit it again here as adults. There was no mention of any homosexual tendencies or desires in the first film so to put it in here just felt like Hollywood pandering because this is 2019 so we have to have at least one gay character, even if it really has nothing to do with the story and was never established. I mentioned how one of the adult actors was miscast and that was James Ransone as the adult version of Eddie. His performance felt cheesy and over the top the entire time and despite physically looking like the adult version of his childhood counterpart, he didn’t have the acting chops to pull this role off. Some moments meant to be scary just came off as silly or funny. One moment involves a leper vomiting while “Angel of the Morning” plays for about five seconds and then abruptly gets cut off which was extremely strange and out of place. The Henry Bowers bully character from the first film returns, despite falling to his for sure death in the first film and his presence in this movie was another disappointing subplot that didn’t go anywhere interesting or exciting. A moment involving a severed head that grows spider legs is shamelessly ripped off from John Carpenter’s “The Thing”, which felt lazy. I also couldn’t stand how meta this movie was, since the first film wasn’t meta at all. First of all, Bill Hader doing a Jabba the Hutt impression would be funny if I hadn’t seen him do it every time he goes on a late night talk show so when he does it here, it made me see Bill Hader instead of Richie. Also, Stephen King making a cameo was just totally distracting and took me out of the movie. Even worse, this movie talks about how a writer writes great stories but has terrible endings for his work. This has been the chief complaint of King himself; great premises with disappointing or lackluster endings. The book this is based upon and the end of this movie is another example of that. The plot of this movie and especially where the end leads is frankly really stupid. A ceremony involving tokens, three lights looking like the iPhone 11, flimsy, half assed exposition explaining a little bit about Pennywise that is more confusing than enlightening and how he is defeated is laughably ridiculous. To scrap the book’s ending to come up with something completely new would have been better. The final showdown in the sewers felt like it was dragging along at such a slow pace for what is supposed to be such a climactic part of the movie. The way they defeat Pennywise is almost identical to how they defeat him in the first film so they should have known how to all along, the token ceremony seems pointless and why wasn’t he killed off for good at the end of the first film? Lastly, I mentioned that some of the CGI and visual effects were well done, which is true. However, some of the CGI looked rather bad and very much like CGI. The fortune cookie scene in particularly looked embarrassingly fake. Many of visual effect shots needed a lot more work before the movie’s release. Despite director Andy Muschietti having more confidence as a director this time around and providing some visual flair, the abysmal screenplay, excessive running time, repetition, more plot problems than scares, etc. make this nothing like the terrific first film, which is a huge shame. You are better off watching the first film and then stopping there because this movie is about as enjoyable as balloons popping in your face for three hours straight.
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