Jumping 27 years ahead after IT, IT CHAPTER TWO (2019) brings the Losers’ Club back to face Pennywise again as adults. The sequel features the same terrific execution as the first, with a similar cast of great actors, but suffers from predictability and a lack of a satisfying group dynamic so heavily present in the first film.
The Losers Club of Derry’s brutal high school united to defeat the malevolent entity calling itself Pennywise, after which they made an oath to fight it again if it ever reappeared. Now, 27 years later, all except one have scattered, lost touch, and also lost their memories of what they did as kids. Mike Hanlon calls them to bring them back to fulfill their oath, leading to a final confrontation.
What I liked: The horror elements are again utterly freaky. The casting is terrific. If this were a standalone film, it’d be pretty solid.
What I didn’t: Because they lost their memories, the adults have all the same flaws they did as kids, so we have to see them try to conquer them again, this time not as neatly. The group dynamic, excellent chemistry, and terrific tension and stakes in the first film are largely missing in the second. The oddly timed jokes fell flat for me. A gay reveal appears grafted on for whatever. All of this would have been fine for me but watching it, I felt like I’d seen it before, resulting in a predictability of going through the motions to the point of numbness. Stephen King elements that work well on the page don’t always translate on the screen and come off as overly saccharine. Overall, despite all the fun bits, it was just damned hard to care.
Overall, I liked IT CHAPTER TWO but think the film would have benefited from a new group dynamic, maybe the adults having fixed their childhood flaws to the point of excess, and a refresh of the central conflict with Pennywise to create something new and less predictable.