In 2017, director Andres Muschietti released a film adaptation of Stephen King’s famous novel, It. The film was not only a well-done set up to the second part, but it surprisingly became one of the best coming-of-age films.
Now, two years later, Muschietti is back with the second and final part of It, and even 27 years after the first film takes place, the Losers are still finding themselves in battle with Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) the clown. Though the film provides closure and some great echoing moments of the first part, the second part didn’t quite live up to expectations.
The best aspect of the film is the cast, and both the young and old versions of the characters are perfectly cast. Every character is perfectly cast in the film, with James McAvoy’s charming leadership as Bill; Jessica Chastain’s exciting and troubled heroism as Beverly; Isaiah Mustafa’s manic yet calm behavior as Mike; James Ransone’s nervousness and facetious attitude as Eddie; and Jay Ryan’s innocent kindness as Ben.
However, it’s the two Bills in the film that undoubtedly steal the show. Bill Hader’s portrayal of the adult Richie is beautifully done. Hader is the perfect choice to portray Richie and gives an Oscar-worthy performance between his humorous commentary during every situation, even the deadly ones, and his constant state of anxiety throughout the entire film.
Skarsgard’s performance as Pennywise has consistently been one of the best aspects of the It films. He is brilliantly terrifying with his facial expressions and manipulation tactics. Though Tim Curry’s adaptation of Pennywise in 1990 was the original nightmare fuel, Skarsgard blows the role out of the water and is certain to haunt your nightmares.
The second It film is simply too long. To be fair, the production team did a great job at following the original source material and providing exciting scenes that didn’t make the movie feel like two hours and 50 minutes, but there are definitely a lot of ways the film could’ve been cut down.
Part of what made the original film so great was the overflowing nostalgia and childhood friendships that made a good horror film into a great coming-of-age film. There are glimpses of those type of moments throughout Chapter Two, but it never truly reaches that memorable feeling so easily found in the first part.
Fans of King and his books can look out for a cameo in the film. Though most director or writer cameos can be tacky, King’s cameo actually serves a purpose for the film and is a nice addition for superfans.
The film includes new additions and slight variations from the original source material, but what should’ve been re-examined is the ending. King has repeatedly been criticized for the novel’s ending, and even uses the character Bill, who is a famous author in the film, to reflect that by implementing the running gag that Bill can’t write a good ending to save his life.
However, the running gag is a cheap way to justify the film’s disappointing ending. It’s frustrating to see King have a hand in the making of the film and not take the opportunity to revisit the ending because, after two films of build up, the final confrontation doesn’t measure up to the film’s potential. Though it’s always great to follow the original source material when making film adaptations, there are times when it’s appropriate to revisit aspects of the story, and King had the opportunity to do this with his ending that even he has admitted isn’t that great, but didn’t take it.
What does work about the ending, though, is the theme of rediscovering the child within, and the underlying idea that friendship and love will conquer — it’s a timeless concept.
It: Chapter Two is a perfectly casted, imperfect sequel to the beautifully done 2017 film. Though King and the entire production team could’ve done much more with it than what the audience is given, Muschietti creates a wonderful adaptation of a beloved King novel.