Ben Rasmin - @benrasmin
REVIEW: IT CHAPTER TWO (2019)
I watched this back-to-back with the prequel, the idea being that it'd be the definitive way of experiencing the Loser's Clubs inter-generational battle against Pennywise the Clown. But, while the films are most definitely woven together, the decision only served to point out how much more enjoyable the first instalment of Andy Muschietti's blockbuster franchise is.
The thing I loved most about Chapter One was the chemistry between the lead actors, which conveyed an authentic bond befitting of Stephen King's oeuvre. It also unashamedly but oh so cleverly tapped into audience's subconscious yearning for 1980s nostalgia, lending the film a cool vibe akin to Stranger Things. All of this was of course underpinned by Bill Skarsgård's transformational performance as the aforementioned boogeyman that preys on the children of Derry.
But much of these characteristics are absent from Chapter Two, with the adult iteration of the Loser's Club not gelling together quite so well as their child counterparts. With the exception of Bill Hader who, like Finn Wolfhard before him, is laugh-out-loud funny in the role of Richie, the new cast are mostly forgettable. And their narratives do not marry up with the notion of them being societal outcasts. They are mostly all successful and good-looking, a development which jars with their character's in the previous film. Though that is of course more a gripe I have with King's story than anything done by Muschietti or screenwriter Gary Dauberman.
There are some flashback scenes which reintroduce the old cast, but they are mostly weak narrative devices that do little to progress the story. This renders the film overly reliant on Pennywise, which you would think would be no bad thing. But the killer clown mostly rehases jump-scares from the previous film, leaving little room for character development. Fans hoping to learn more about the origins of this iconic horror character are likely to be bitterly disappointed by his faring here. Skarsgård is still terrific though and very much the MVP of the film.
At almost three hours long, Chapter Two is more than a little overindulgent. It is by no means a bad film and is certainly an improvement on the second half of the 1990s original, but this franchise grinds to a halt rather than goes out with a bang.
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