Hey virtual friends! Barbarella here to explain why the sequel to one of my favorite recent Stephen King films somewhat disappoints me. Twenty-seven years after the kids save Derry from Pennywise in IT, it’s back, and the grown-up “losers” must return to the small town and stop the carnage again.
After a scene reminding us that not only clowns can be evil, Pennywise emerges, and we know the mayhem is about to begin anew. Mike, who never left Derry, calls up his old pals to beckon them back to finish what they started almost three decades earlier. Despite the fact that they didn’t keep in touch all those years, Mike somehow has everyone’s current phone number, proving Pennywise isn’t the only character with supernatural abilities. While that feat seems a stretch to me, at this point in the film, I still love it. I enjoy where the characters are today, especially Eddie. His career path is perfect. The casting choices overall feel spot on, with Bill Hader as grown-up Ritchie being my favorite.
A particularly clever fortune cookie scene that evolves into something awesomely bizarre delights me, and I love everything I’m seeing. In fact, a lot of the creepier moments in the film are cringe-worthy and exciting. However, some of the Pennywise moments feel repetitive. Often something that proves effective will be utilized again and again. However, the problem with horror is that once audiences experience that thing, experiencing it again will not have the same impact. By the time they experience it a lot, it has very little effect at all. This is why people new to the genre may find a horror film terrifying that long-time horror fans will dismiss as not being scary. There are some exceptional scenes with Pennywise, but some feel a little too familiar to accelerate heart rates of anyone who saw IT.
As the film progresses, it gets better, until it doesn’t. Somewhere between the awesome Stephen King cameo that has me laughing out loud and the ending, the film slips into the realm of random ideas that don’t feel believable or particularly appropriate for the situation. Mike has spent the last twenty-seven years researching Pennywise to learn how to defeat it. His findings are unexpected to say the least, but his instructions regarding what they need to do don’t really make sense. I find myself asking, why do they need to do this particular thing? To quote a phrase from Quentin Dupieux’s crazy film RUBBER, the answer could be “no reason.” Or it could be merely a plot point to force characters to go back to places and relive old memories, some of which lead to some entertaining scenes. So, I guess I forgive the random instructions because something enjoyable comes out of it. But I don’t forgive everything.
As the film approaches the climax, it ventures into silliness. I don’t find character’s decisions particularly believable, and I definitely don’t buy the outcomes that arise from them. I find one particular scene so cringe-worthy, for all the wrong reasons. Without giving anything away, it involves two characters stuck in different spots enduring very similar catastrophes. The reason the outcome happens the way it does feels so ludicrous, my eyes may have rolled.
The climax, while offering some nice surprises and great effects, just isn’t believable, and at this point, I feel that my almost three-hour time investment may not be paying off quite the way I’d hoped. IT CHAPTER 2 definitely has some brilliant and unnerving scenes, with some great effects and great humor, and in a way, experiencing those make me glad to have seen it, but ultimately, the lackluster finale coupled with some ridiculousness leaves me underwhelmed and somewhat disappointed.
aka Barbara Kennedy