The Losers return to Derry after twenty-
seven years to destroy Pennywise once and for all.
It: Chapter Two (2019)
Directed by Andy Muschietti
Written by Gary Dauberman
Starring Bill Skarsgård, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy,
Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone, Jay Ryan,
Andy Bean, Jaeden Martell, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis,
Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff
Sequel to 2017's It
Based on the novel by Stephen King
Now this was a movie that was worth the wait! After the, admittedly, surprise success of the first film, it was obvious we were going to see this adaptation to completion and get the second part. The casting for the grown-up members of the Losers Club was looking great and the trailers were terrifying. The only thing which worried me was the fact that the adult portion of the book and miniseries is usually the least memorable of the two parts. Other than that one thing, my excitement was at an all time high for this film. And now that I’ve seen it, it was well worth the wait. Let’s dig into what made this second trip into Derry so damn good.
Much like the first film, returning director Andy Muschietti finds a perfect balance of what to include from the novel and what to leave out. For example, the opening scene with the gay couple is ripped straight from the first couple pages of the book. And the infamous ending. Muschietti wisely decided to mix things up to create a different ending for this adaptation. As someone who’s read the book, this is a good thing. I love Stephen King, but his endings don’t always seem to land. Speaking of which, I loved the recurring joke of James McAvoy’s character Bill, who has become a successful novelist, recent novel having a terrible ending. And that also brings a fair warning to viewers, there’s a lot more humor in this installment. Most of this is due to Bill Hader absolutely killing it as the adult Richie Tozier. He is hysterical throughout and outshines pretty much everyone else. That is, except for the man himself, Bill Skarsgård. Just like the first film, he is phenomenal as Pennywise. He gets a bit more screen time and just chews it up. I could watch him play this role all day.
It: Chapter Two is a damn good continuation of the first film. I do ultimately prefer the first film, but I like this second one a lot as well. Never in my horror loving life have I witnessed a horror film be treated as an event film like this one was. The runtime may be daunting and there is a lot more humor, but there are also wise story changes and phenomenal performances in Skarsgård and Hader. If you haven’t checked this out yet, get in your car and take that trip to Derry now. Don’t wait another 27 years.
2017's It made one hell of a splash, so much so that it became one of the highest grossing horror movies of all time and jump-started a Stephen King film renaissance for the modern age. But every King fan worth his/her salt knew that the second half of this story had major problems. A giant spider, for instance, as well as a ton of cosmic mumbo jumbo that only the diehard King fans are gonna get. These were my main fears going into It: Chapter Two, but lo and behold, director Andy Muschietti alleviates those fears by taking the smart path and handling the second half with the same vigor and creativity with which he handled the first. And this film ended up being just as creepy and heartfelt as that one.
The Losers are all grown up, and a few of them got big name stars to play them in the sequel. Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Bill Hader play the adult versions of Beverly, Bill, and Richie respectively, and all three of them are stellar. However, Bill Hader shows acting chops I didn't know he had and delivers one of his finest onscreen performances. Of course, the deranged and menacing Pennywise is back in full force, and this time it's personal. Bill Skarsgård once again kills it as the nightmare-inducing clown, especially in the finale where Muschietti does a little something new with the famously bad ending we were all expecting. I won't spoil it, but it's so good that I may never watch the miniseries again.
Andy Muschietti has successfully crafted the definitive It that may even surpass the novel in quality. He knows exactly which buttons to push in horror, and every scare is earned and no punches are pulled. The characters all feel like the natural progressions of the kids from the first one, and the ending is organic and not tacked on at all. Both of these films will go down as horror classics, and I can't wait to see Muschietti's supercut.