This sequel ain’t clownin’ around!
… Other than the fact that it is
Walking into IT Chapter Two, I was expecting some jump scares, some laughs, and to walk away from it without thinking much about it. However, this movie ended up giving me quite a bit to think about.
IT Chapter Two, directed by Andrés Muschietti, takes place 27 years after the events of IT and the charismatic cast of child actors have been switched out for adult counterparts. Together, they go back to their hometown to defeat Pennywise once and for all. It’s a fairly simple premise, but its long runtime of 2 hours and 50 minutes really hones in the fact that there’s much more to it. I found myself becoming invested in some characters, but several themes were under-addressed.
The look of this movie effectively establishes a dark and creepy tone, and it had a nice, crisp image that I liked. There were interesting angles and camera movements used to make some scenes even creepier. However, what it gained in visuals it lost in its script. It felt formulaic. I only felt invested in particular characters because of the work of the actor as well as my personal connection to the character’s situation. That being said, certain characters were not explored as much as they should have been, which led to a disappointing representation of themes in the film, such as homophobia and sexual violence. There could have been an interesting discussion on these themes, as well as trauma and growth. I just wish there was more effort put into the underlying emotional elements to the movie and that these major themes had been explored with more complexity and depth.
Another shining element of IT Chapter Two was its top-notch cast. James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, James Ransone, and Jay Ryan replace the kids from the first film, and Bill Skarsgård returns as Pennywise. Although I’ve already known of the talent of McAvoy and Chastain, this film allowed me to finally appreciate the distinctiveness of two other actors: Bill Skarsgård and Bill Hader.
Compared to the last film, Skarsgård has a lot more to say. He has more screen time and dialogue, and his presence was much more raw and genuine. In particular scenes, his facial expressions and voice push through the heavy makeup and effectively creeps you out. Unlike the last film, I felt a real human presence there. I admire how his performance is so deeply rooted in the character, especially since that character is a non-human, deranged clown. Hader, on the other hand, comes in full force with a seemingly comedic role that becomes heart-wrenching by the end. It is evident that he can truly draw an audience into his character and make them feel for him, and he is one of the many comedy actors who successfully proved himself to be a commendable serious one as well.
All in all, IT Chapter Two was flawed but it was fun, and Bill Hader stole my heart. 3.5/5 stars.
Graphic by Victoria Blair
Feature photo source: New Line Cinema