September 11, 2019 – Alfonso Sales
Time to float, IT has returned. Now hungrier and obsessed than ever, Pennywise the dancing clown creeps back to the big screen ready to terrorize the town of Derry again and to kill the Losers’ Club once and for all.
IT Chapter Two closes the horrifying story of the monstrous clown residing in Derry. Director Andy Muschietti delivers an outstanding adaptation based on Stephen King’s acclaimed novel, IT. With a few changes from the book to fit the screen, IT Chapter Two still stands as the most faithful Stephen King film adaptation to this date. Fans of the book will definitely appreciate the film since many easter eggs from the novel appear on screen. Those who haven’t read it will enjoy and feel the thrill as well since the film will answer many of the unclosed questions from chapter one. We also finally find out the origins of It.
The first chapter focuses on the Losers’ Club against Pennywise when they were kids. Chapter Two fast-forwards twenty seven years later when all of the them have grown up. Pennywise awakens again ready to massacre the children of Derry and this time with a personal agenda to hunt down the now grown up losers who he wasn’t able to kill. The Losers’ Club hesitantly reunites once more in order to finish what they started.
The sequel has a darker tone compared to its predecessor. Chapter One shows us the innocence of growing up and finding the right people in your lives. Pennywise’s methods back then were more direct in scaring the kids since he relied on horrifying transformations. Chapter Two takes a different turn in the other hand. Here we see the reality of life, that some friendships fade in time and that the past can haunt the future. Pennywise uses the latter as his new technique. He strategizes the way he scares the now adult losers to get into their core and rattle their fears. When it comes to the scares though, Chapter One takes the balloon. We are placed in the perspective of children who are easier to scare, so the scenes we see there are much more dementing. Scaring adults is a different situation though. Chapter Two will still haunt you with scenes that are well executed. Read the book? You’ll love what you’ll see. Haven’t? Don’t worry, you’ll float too.
If there’s anything that sets the film back, it would be the runtime. Chapter Two is almost three hours long. You will notice the time while watching but fortunately it won’t bore you down. It runs long due to the individual quests of the characters (it’s like how the Avengers had to split up to get the infinity stones in Endgame) which is also relevant to their character arcs. The novel itself is very thick and making sure that the film is faithful to it is quite the task. There could have been ways to make it shorter than its running time but nevertheless, it gives the novel justice and delivers a thrilling close to the story.
One of the reasons that make the sequel stand strong is the consistency of having an amazing cast. Chapter Two lives up to natural chemistry that the Losers' Club had in Chapter One. James McAvoy no doubt brings the adult Bill to life. McAvoy continues to elevate his range is playing different kinds of characters with distinct personalities. Pennywise actor, Bill Skarsgård, completely transforms on screen. His portrayal of the murderous clown continues to be an ominous entity on screen. Pennywise’s character is given depth as we see him in his most vulnerable state. Surprisingly, the one who takes the spotlight here is Bill Hader who plays the adult Richie Tozier. Known for being a comedian, Hader gives us a performance beyond expectations. His shift from his natural silly side comments to drama is seamless. From unexpected funny scenes to serious turns, you’ll always look forward to seeing him onscreen. Hader and James Ransone, who plays the adult Eddie Kaspbrak, make an outstanding duo. With their banters, both of them mark their moments in the film.
Outstanding cast, check. Convincing and incredible visuals, check. Faithful adaptation, check. Killer clown…check. This sequel is not just as a horror film but also a beautiful coming of age film. We are given relatable characters that embody the genuine feeling of growing up. It takes us back to the first time we felt acceptance to the darker corners where we have forgotten everything. IT Chapter Two is definitely a sequel worth floating for. Grab your balloon and get ready to float with Pennywise in the cinemas.
Photos courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
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