IT: Chapter Two (2019) is the sequel to the major hit film IT (2017), which still remains the biggest horror box office film of all time. This sequel is directed by Andy Muschietti, who directed the original 2017 film, and has a huge cast list. With Bill Skarsgård returning, a new cast arrives for the older Losers Club including Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader and James McAvoy. Taking place 27 years later, Pennywise has returned to the town of Derry and the losers Club must come back to the haunted city to put him to a stop once and for all.

IT: Chapter Two (2019) - source: Warner Bros. Pictures
IT: Chapter Two (2019) - source: Warner Bros. Pictures
I would like to start this review off by reflecting back to September 2017, and the first film that I ever reviewed on this blog was, in fact, IT (you can read that review here). In case you are not aware of this, I was actually disappointed by the first film. To me, it felt like a cash grab to capitalise off of the success of Stranger Things, and the horror aspects felt lacking to me. It just felt like a dull and pointless remake to me, and left me wondering if it was even worth seeing IT: Chapter Two at all.

The casting in IT: Chapter Two may just end up being the best casting of the year. Not only do they have to get great actors to fill in these roles, but they have to get people who look exactly like their child counterparts. Everyone else has said it, but Bill Hader steals the show here as Richie. His character has the most development, so it makes sense naturally that he has the most chance to show off both his comedic and dramatic performances. James McAvoy has now given three fantastic performances this year and continues to show why he is one of the most underrated actors in the business, and nobody can convince me that James Ransone is not an older Eddie naturally.

Some people may disagree with me on this, but the second hour is easily the strongest section of the film for me. In this hour, we got so much development on all of the individual characters, and I did not find this process repetitive despite how formulaic it actually was. All the performances worked, and the visual effects to help bring these scenes to life were just so well done overall. There is one particular scene that takes place in a fun house that to me will end up being one of the best scenes in cinema all year.

What disappointed me in the first film was the lack of horror and Pennywise, but I am glad to report that we get more of both of those things in IT: Chapter Two. Pennywise is a dream role for any actor to get, and Bill Skarsgård gives an even better performance here, and one that will certainly define his career. They do a lot more with his character, from both development and just in terms of how far he goes as a villain, and it is great to watch come to life. He is so much fun here, and this is exactly what I was desiring from a film like IT.

IT: Chapter Two (2019) - source: Warner Bros. Pictures
IT: Chapter Two (2019) - source: Warner Bros. Pictures

To be able to tell this story, they decided to make this film three-hours long. For me, you can certainly feel the runtime, but it is not as bad as I expected it to be. There are certainly problems with pacing here, and that is due to the amount of flashbacks that is required to fully tell the story. When the film is going, it does well in its sequences. However, a lot of the aspects of the film may be reliable to the source material, but do not fit well in the pacing of the film and feels unnecessary. The final battle goes on for way too long, and could have been condensed down by half easily.

There is a big question going around with people debating whether the de-aging of the kids sequences, particularly of Finn Wolfhard, was obvious or not. I'm sorry to say, but it is down right distracting with several of the kids here and clear that they were de-aged. Finn is the major problem when it comes to the CGI work, as his face is squished in and looks off. However, it is the voice pitching that is even worse. There seems to be a different alteration every time Finn speaks, but they also sped up the dialogue by Jack Dylan Grazer to make him sound younger, which just felt completely off to me. Pitching up the two most successful cast members from the younger crew is an easy way to notice the voice alterations.

Whilst I really enjoyed the middle section of the film, it does take a while to get set-up. I was not a fan of how slow it took to get the group set up and reminded of their time in Derry, and how weird the cast felt with each other when they finally met back up. The explanation for the plan didn't seem well explained to me, and I only started caring for the mission as soon as it was taking place. I was also not a fan of the last thirty minutes of the film. With a mix of missed opportunities with a cool idea they had going and a very cheesy tone that feels completely opposite of the rest of the entire film, it does not leave you feeling satisfactory leaving the cinema.

IT: Chapter Two (2019) - source: Warner Bros. Pictures
IT: Chapter Two (2019) - source: Warner Bros. Pictures

I can definitely see why this film didn't work for some people, and there are definitely sections for me that the film fails on. However, I actually ended up having fun with this entry. I felt the horror sections were more prominent, the performances exceeded even my expectation and there are some sequences here which will be in consideration for my favourite scenes of 2019. Even if you didn't like the first entry like myself, I would recommend trying this second half. It may genuinely surprise you.

3/5

Have you had a chance to see IT: Chapter Two yet? Did you prefer 2017's IT or this sequel? Let me know in the comments below and let's have a discussion.

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