And so, the end is near, it’s time to return to Derry, some 27-years after the first chapter and we’re back with the Losers club who have discovered the clown they thought dead, Pennywise, is back.
The Losers club are once again reunited after they all receive an out of the blue phone call from Mike, Isaiah Mustafa (“Horrible Bosses”, “Nikita (TV)”), who never left Derry and has been waiting for Its return.
Beverly, Jessica Chastain (“Molly’s Game“, “Miss Sloane“), Bill, James McAvoy (“Glass“, “Submergence“), Richie, Bill Hader (“Toy Story 4”, “Ralph Breaks The Internet“), Ben, Jay Ryan (“Neighbours (TV)”, “Mary Kills People”) and Eddie, James Ransone (“Sinister”, “Generation Kill”) all get the call and all make the journey home.
All of them have moved on with their lives, some better than others, but none of them quite remembers what occurred those 27-years before, not fully.
Stanley, Andy Bean (“Swamp Thing (TV)”, “Transformers: The Last Knight“), declines the invitation, instead taking the ‘easy way out’ in order to unite the Losers back together.
Mike claims to have learnt the history of Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard (“Deadpool 2“, “Atomic Blonde“), from some local Native Americans and has a way to capture and kill the clown. He also has a habit of not quite telling the whole truth.
The five-some must first gather something from their childhood, which means splitting up and heading to places from their past, places they haven’t been in a long time, places, that put them right in the path of our demonic clown.
Each of the Losers has their own encounter with Pennywise, each different, some a little more intense then others. Some of the Loser want to leave, some try to leave, but as their memories of that summer 27-years ago returns, they find they can’t.
They gather their mementos and return to the place where Beverly floated all those years ago, where the first battle took place. Will they defeat the crazed clown this time?
The first part of It Chapter Two, when we are re-introduced to our protagonists, as we catch up on their lives, see how they’ve changed, how they now live, is a beautifully shot peace of work from director Andy Muschietti (“Mama”, It“).
The transition between Losers is judged perfectly and creates an imaginary link between all of them. We float, spin, zoom and fly between them all.
This works particularly well on IMAX, as does the ending when we delve into Pennywise’s lair and everything is supersized, well, the clown at least. Otherwise, it’s a nice transition but Muschietti is no Christopher Nolan in the IMAX arena.
As for the Losers themselves everyone plays their part wonderfully. Chastain is as good as we know she can be, never losing anything form Lillis’ original performance. McAvoy, despite occasionally letting slip his true accent, stutters and stammers his way through and gives us the intensity Martell brought in Chapter One.
Hader, Mustafa, Ryan and Ransome all match their child counterparts with everything we could hope. We even see the return of Bowers, Teach Grant (“Strange Empire (TV)”, “Van Helsing (TV)”), now in a mental asylum but not forgotten by Pennywise.
There’s a wonderful cameo from the man himself, Stephen King, as a shopkeeper as Bill is looking for his object and stumbles across his old bicycle. At the end we also get a nod to Mr King’s other classic screen adaptation, Stand By Me, as Bill is a writer now and pens his book in a room almost identical to Richard Dreyfuss’ all that time ago.
Skarsgard is back and plays the demonic clown wonderfully. We get to see a lot more of the man himself too, without makeup, but even then, he doesn’t break character, it’s still It, it’s still Pennywise.
So, it’s all good then? Well, not quite. It’s long, too long, at nearly three hours. Despite this, the ending doesn’t feel all that well thought out, it feels a bit rushed. We get the usual ‘final half-hour’ of films where everything is coming to a head, which is a battle of giant proportions.
Chapter Two also misses what perhaps it was never going to have; the sense of nostalgia, the bond between the characters who were so close in Chapter One. This is missing, and the films suffers because of that.
That’s not to say It Chapter Two is bad, it isn’t, it has elements of horror, comedy and drama all wonderfully rolled into one. It just isn’t as good as Chapter One, but perhaps it was never going to be.
6th September 2019
THE QUICK SELL
Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.