While in many ways “It Chapter Two” is less scary than the first movie, the larger cast, added humor and emotional ending made up for that.
At times the plot felt a bit scattered, with the movie taking nearly three hours to reach its conclusion.
However, it was never boring, keeping things interesting through flashbacks and present-day moments.
For the final hour of the movie, the action and emotion picked up, leading to a satisfying conclusion.
“It Chapter Two” used humor much more than the previous film. Bill Hader, who played adult Richie Tozier, pulled off most of the jokes.
He broke the tension in many scenes, adding levity in the moment.
His performance especially stood out because he balanced Richie’s humor with emotion and depth.
His humor was multifaceted and was often used as a coping mechanism, and there were many moments when Hader brought more somber emotions and depth to the character.
Another stand out actor was James McAvoy, who played adult Bill Denbrough.
McAvoy executed his character’s stutter from the first movie perfectly and brought maturity to the character while maintaining the rauma from his past.
As an adult, Bill is still dealing with the horror of losing his brother, Georgie, from the first movie.
McAvoy carries those feelings from his character’s childhood while adding a more adult perspective.
From his first moment on screen, James Ransone portrayed adult Eddie Kaspbrak perfectly, capturing his neurotic personality and tendency toward bickering with Richie.
While Ransone was given fewer outright jokes than Hader, his back-and-forth dialogue with the other characters and one-liners in tense situations added lightness to the movie.
Meanwhile, Jay Ryan played a more mature and confident adult Ben Hanscom that felt genuine and accurate to his character.
In “It Chapter Two,” Ben still deals with some of his insecurities from the first movie; however, Ryan shows how Ben has grown, ultimately bringing creating a multifaceted performance.
Isaiah Mustafa brought more life to Mike Hanlon’s character as an adult than the character had in the previous film, although he still felt like he was in the background, as much of the movie focused on the other Losers’ fears and relationships.
Andy Bean portrayed Stanley Uris’ quiet, hesitant personality spot-on.
What he lacked in screen time he made up for in his understated yet honest performance. While Jessica Chastain was an adequate adult Beverly Marsh, she lacked the spunk Sophia Lillis brought to her younger counterpart. She was placed in certain situations where it felt like she should have had a stronger reaction than she did.
However, in quieter moments, she captured much of Beverly’s spirit in her relationship with the other Losers, which made up for what she lacked.
This movie was more violent than the first “It” movie, though it wasn’t as scary.
For the most part, the jump scares were predictable, and most of the monsters looked more ridiculous than terrifying.
The few times the film was truly creepy usually involved Pennywise, played by Bill Skarsgård.
Skarsgård plays a truly creepy villain because he gets characters–and sometimes viewers–to sympathize with him.
He knows what many of them are insecure about and uses it to lure them to him.
As with the previous movie, the scenes with him manifesting as the various fears of the Losers grab viewers’ attention.
These scenes were typically more emotional and intense than outright scary, which felt more fitting for the grown-up Losers.
The movie focused more on the darkness of mankind rather than typical horror tropes, using hate crimes and domestic violence to show real-life evil.
These scenes were disturbingly real and brutal; while they helped drive the story forward and showed exactly how dark the world is, they felt unnecessarily graphic at times.
The visuals were never particularly realistic, although this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Many times, the monsters were so bizarre that despite the good CGI, they still looked more laughable than frightful.
They could have done a better job with the animation of people; there were a couple times where people were animated to look like monsters and again ended up looking more ridiculous than horrifying.
However, the unusual visuals didn’t destroy the experience.
In addition to the more traditional effects, they used CGI and an effect on the child actors’ voices to make them seem slightly younger so as to appear the age they had been in the previous film.
This was done seamlessly; the kids looked and sounded remarkably similar to how they did in the first film.
The score, composed by Benjamin Wallfisch, helped set up for creepy moments and built emotion in the quieter, more reflective scenes.
It tied the movie together well and helped make this somewhat messy sequel three-dimensional and enjoyable.
Overall, “It Chapter Two” lacks the finesse of the first film in terms of the plot and the use of typical horror tropes.
However, the characters drive the story. “It Chapter Two” takes a much deeper dive into what makes each Loser tick than the previous film, and ultimately the characters are what make this an enjoyable film.
With its lovable characters, humor and exploration of deeper themes, “It Chapter Two” makes for a fun night out.