Is this really the end of Pennywise?
I had high hopes going into Andy Muschietti’s (“IT: Chapter One“, “Mama”) “IT: Chapter Two” after his first chapter exceeded all expectations. Even with its flaws, I had a fantastic time watching the gang get together for the last time.
Set 27 years after the events of the first film, Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard (“Villains”, “Castle Rock (TV)“) comes back for feeding and the last Loser in Derry, Mike, Isaiah Mustafa (“Shadowhunter (TV)”, “Horrible Bosses”), needs to gather the rest of the group to defeat this evil clown.
Bill, James McAvoy (“Glass“, “Dark Phoenix”), Beverly, Jessica Chastain (“Dark Phoenix”, “Molly’s Game“), Ritchie, Bill Hader (“Barry (TV)”, “Skeleton Twins”), Eddie, James Ransone (“Sinister 2”, “Captive State”), Ben, Jay Ryan (“Top Of the Lake (TV)”), and Stanley, Andy Bean “Swamp Thing (TV)”, “Power (TV)”) are called by Mike but, due to mysterious circumstances, they don’t really remember their time in Derry, nor do they remember Mike.
Once together in Derry the group, sans Stanley, starts to remember each other as well as what happened 27 years prior. Little do they know, Pennywise has been waiting to feed on the fears of these adults.
Muschietti has an amazing eye for building tension-filled pieces and he shows off plenty in this film. However, one of the major flaws that becomes repetitive throughout is how he takes away the tension almost immediately after something “scary” happens. At times, ‘IT’ starts to become more of a dark comedy than a thrilling horror film.
Writer Gary Dauberman (“Annabelle Comes Home”, “The Nun”) who is known primarily for the “Annabelle” portion of “The Conjuring” universe, doesn’t really do anything new with the material besides having Mike be more of a focal point than he was in the book or the mini-series.
Just like the first one, they set out and got the perfect cast for this film. Chastain and McAvoy do great work as the somewhat focal characters of the film, but Hader, Ransone, and Mustafa are definitely the MVPs.
Hader comes away as the emotional center of the film and he portrays Ritchie as someone that hides himself by making fun of everyone around him. With his work on the phenomenal “Barry” and underseen gem “Skeleton Twins”, it should come to no surprise that he is one of the best working actors today.
As being relative unknowns, Ransone and Mustafa were initially received as, ‘Who?’ and ‘Isn’t that the Old Spice Guy?’ but what they do with their characters really blew me away.
Mustafa brings real sorrow to the only Loser who truly remembers what happened and you feel for him every time he speaks about the past.
Ransone gets some of the best lines which he nails with precision and he gets to be the punching bag for The Losers as well as Pennywise. Ransone has to deal with a lot more physicality than the other Losers, and he seemed to be happy doing it.
Skarsgard brings the menacing Pennywise to life better this time around since we get to see him going away from the Losers. There are two specific scenes involving two new children that show the horrific creepiness and scares that we expect from this iconic character. Apparently, I am one of the few, but I do believe he is our best incarnation of Pennywise so far.
As much as the cast shines, another flaw was bringing back the kid Losers for specific moments which I thought took away from the adult Losers. At times, the de-aging effects on the kids were very noticeable and took me out of the moment where I was supposed to feel tension and fear.
Besides the few flaws, I had a wonderful time seeing this in theaters and listening to the audience scream to the site of Pennywise. Those moments are definitely some to cherish and like the Losers onscreen, we will try not to forget those shared experiences.