In my review of “It” in 2017, I clearly stated that I liked the setting in which the events were taking place both in terms of location and time. I also explained why I liked the characters, the plot and the message of the film so much. However, I recorded my reservations on the sequence of events and the classification of the film inside the world of horror. For It Chapter 2 I’m afraid I’m gonna have to move everything to the reservations box, maybe with the slight exception of horror and the unexpected utilisation of comedy.
27 years after the events of It chapter 1, the monster awakens. Pennywise the clown reappears and gets detected by Mike; The only member of the losers club who actually remained at Derry, and with the sole purpose of studying how to terminate Pennywise and alarm the others as soon as he appears. Mike contacts the rest of the gang and they do come back to honor their oath, but this time Pennywise is much stronger and more prepared for the challenge of the losers.
Chapter 2 can only be described as too messy until it gets too organized and then goes back to the worst mess I can imagine. We start with an event and with characters that we never see again throughout the entire film. Then we spend a lot of time with a struggle of a decision, for which everybody, including the characters, knew the conclusion, and then finally the horror begins. Oh yeah, we only get to see the real horror in the second half. That’s how long it took the film to tell us what we already knew. Not just from the trailer, but from the moment we heard there will be a second part for the film.
What follows had every potential to be unexpected and shocking, but again the film takes a very wrong decision by presenting it in the most organized way possible. It’s the same scenario being repeated over and over again which rendered it totally predictable yet, to my surprise, it remains the best sequence of the entire film. This sequence took us all the way to the ending, which proved that everything that came before it was actually pointless, and we start establishing rules that were never presented before to reach a conclusion that ironically went in total opposition to the actual message of the two parts.
Events of Chapter 2 take place in 2016 and like we all know it takes us back to Derry. Only this time the location has no personality and neither do the year we’re in. We’re in 2016 and we see no real use of technology in any way. In the original novel by Stephen King chapter 2 starts in 1984, and the absence of advanced technology in its events make sense, but our film’s decision to start the events in 1989 turned out to be useful for chapter 1 and totally pointless for chapter 2.
The whole message in the first film was focused on how people would turn a blind to the abuses of children. This time the message has to do with the struggles of different people to stay true to their identity. Only there’s no projection on other people simply because there’s no other people. No seriously, our story is only about our heroes and some faceless characters that pop and then end. Actually some of them popped and never ended .. they simply disappeared and we never heard of them again!
Ok then, what about our heroes? They’re not traumatized, they’re not affected. They live fine, mostly successful with some problems and they have completely forgotten about “It”. So, now that we have reminded them, is there any shock or confusion? Not really, just a new mission that is weird in nature, execution and conclusion. The horror in this phase starts off great, really efficient and unsettling. You can clearly see the use of CGI and it quickly takes a bit away from the scares but you still appreciate the initial hit. But then like I said it gets repetitive and less and less effective. Especially with the clear focus on comedy in every opportunity that is possible .. and not possible as well.
The comedy in this film is great, I personally laughed hard. But while laughing I kept asking myself, is that really what I should be feeling like? It’s distracting and weird, but again intentional and successful within its own purpose. Comedy and contrast of childhood struggles is what elevates Bill Hader’s performance above everybody else. He is really the only performance that matches the excellence of his childhood counter part played by Finn Wolfhard who delivered one of the performances that I really admired in part 1. For all the other parts, the children win. James Mccavoy, Jessica Chastain and all the others .. no the kids were much better because their story was by far more solid and convincing. I can sense that the film was aware of that to the point where they started missing the children themselves and kept giving us flashbacks in large portions and again, in a very messy manner. Which adds the editing of the film to my pile of disappointments, as if all the rest wasn’t enough.
With the first signs of the fall season came It Chapter 2 to remind us of how the summer was. Filled with promising films that ended up badly disappointing, and this particular movie is the one to blame the most because it had not excuse. You have the source material, your cast got bigger and supposedly better, and you had all the time to learn, enhance and do better. But the best praise I can give the film is a couple of good scares and a lot of laughs.