The second installment of the 2017 “IT” series was released to the public on Sept. 6. “IT Chapter Two” continues the story of the losers’ club 27 years after the defeat of the evil clown Pennywise.
Since leaving the small town of Derry, Maine, the childhood friends Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain), Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy), Richie Tozier (Bill Hader), Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa), Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone), Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan) and Stanley Uris (Andy Bean) have been plagued with fear from their previous encounters with the town clown. Now in their late thirties, the Losers have lost the majority of the childhood memories and are unsure of why they have to face the trauma that surrounds their lives.
Mike Hanlon makes the fateful calls to round up the club once Pennywise resurfaces in Denny, ripping the heart out of a young man’s chest near the town carnival. Interrupting their mostly normal adult lives, the crew one by one meets with Mike, the only one to never leave the small town, at a restaurant in Derry. Initially reluctant to fight and risk their lives against Pennywise again, they are eventually convinced to stay and end the death cycle that Pennywise has created. The Loser’s club must then go on a nostalgic journey filled with childhood memories in order to find childhood tokens that will be used in a ritual against so that Pennywise can finally be killed once and for all. Once all of the token’s are collected, the gang must then go on another journey that is plagued with jump scares, near death experiences and creepy supernatural characters.
The tokens that the Losers must collect are tied to horrific childhood events that affected their adult lives. Billy is still haunted by his brother Georgie’s death, Beverly cannot escape the shadow of her abusive father and Ben feels like he is incapable of being loved. Although there are jump scares here and there, the tokens serve as more of a reminder of what each character had to go through during the first movie. However, the constant flashbacks soon came across to be time fillers rather than key plot moments, as less time is spent with their adult-selves.
“IT Chapter Two” had a run time of two hours and forty five minutes, and at times it felt like more than that. The series of vignettes and the many side plots took away from the main stories, making the movie’s lack of structure rather obvious to viewers. While some characters were mildly well developed during its nearly three hour screen time, some characters, like Mike, were disappointingly underdone. For the most part, nothing new is learned about the Losers that viewers had not previously learned in Chapter One and after awhile the formulaic structure of this “horror” movie is apparent.
In some acts of the movie, there is a dramatically uneven ratio of comedy to horror and it even becomes more of an epic drama than a horror story. Beginning as creepy, the movie then turns to a CG fest, focusing more on making big monsters and neglecting the personality filled terrors of Skarsgard’s performance. Richie serves most of the comedy that is in the film as he delivers humorous dialogue in both casual interactions and during created tension, often breaking up the darkness that consumes Derry and those who inhabit it. Although the movie was entertaining because of its comedy and jump scares, at some points the movie felt unnecessarily long, as there were times where the story of the Losers and Pennywise could have been wrapped up.