Filler Versus Thriller? Filler.

An Insightful Review To IT: Chapter 2


Warner Bros. Pictures

Poster art for IT: Chapter 2.

Juan Viruet, Alumni

After shattering box office records back in 2017 and giving fans of the novel a worthy big screen adaptation, the IT franchise returns with its lengthy sequel IT: Chapter 2. Whether or not it lives up to the predecessor remains to be seen.

Please Note: I have not read Stephen King’s original novel of the same name, so all opinions and observations are made purely from a film watching aspect. Thank you.

IT: Chapter 2 is set 27 years after the events of the first film, with the losers club all in their early to mid-40’s. The film features arguably picture-perfect casting with James McAvoy playing Bill Denbrough, Jessica Chastain as Beverly Marsh, Bill Hader as Ritchie Tozier, Jay Ryan as Ben Hanscom, Isaiah Mustafa as Mike Hanlon, James Ransone as Eddie Kaspbrak, and Andy Bean as Stanley Uris.

Once again, Pennywise the Dancing Clown has come back to instill fear among the citizens of Derry, Maine feasting on any men, women, and children he can get his hands on. In the wake of his return, the losers are drawn back to Derry by Mike to fulfill the promise they made to finish off Pennywise if he ever decided to return.

Now what really makes this film worth watching is the outstanding performances and chemistry between the actors and how spot on they are to their younger counter parts in the film. It is evident that the cast knows exactly what to bring to the table and what their characters need to strive.

The film opens with a very strong and almost heartbreaking sequence involving a gay couple and a group of homophobic teenagers. The scene has a mature and almost grounded tone that made me excited for what was to come, except that after the sequence there isn’t nearly as much depth or any depth for that matter, in the rest of the film which I feel could’ve elevated this movie immensely.

Bill Skarsgard returns to play Pennywise and again knocks it out of the park with his very disturbing mannerisms and portrayal of the clown. However, this film lacks a lot of Pennywise, and when I say a lot, I mean a lot. Mind you the entity and the presence of the shape shifter is there, but not as the iconic Pennywise the Clown himself. With this film’s length, I’m sure there could’ve been more for Pennywise in this adaptation.

That transitions me to the next problem I have with IT: Chapter 2, the runtime and pacing. This movie is long, I’m talking 2 hours and 50 minutes long to be exact. Not to say it doesn’t need to be that long but the pacing with this film is an issue. It drags right after the first act and you can feel it. There’s nothing to keep the viewer interested throughout this slow burn other than the great characters presented.

Bill Hader as Ritchie Tozier is the best casting choice I’ve seen in a long time. He steals every scene he is in without hesitation. He flat out comes in and makes every one-liner joke hit with his wit and quips. While the comedic presence is funny and welcomed, it does interfere with the overall tone of the film. The jokes are good, but they’re said not at the right times. Frightening things are supposed to be happening all around them and there goes Bill Hader cracking a joke in the middle of “scary” moment which takes the viewer right out of the immersion that is supposed to be set up.

The Director of this film, Andy Muschietti, who directed the first IT as well, really dropped the ball in his second go around. Many of the scenes in the first one feel as if they’re necessary to drive the plot but the same can’t be said for this sequel. This film contains a bunch of filler scenes and sequences that ultimately shouldn’t have made the final cut. Could’ve even titled it FILLER: THE MOVIE. Most of these filler scenes are to create horror filled minutes, but what we get is some mediocre scares that are basically just dead-end plot points with no real motives driving them.

All the filler leads to a superbly anti-climactic finish that doesn’t even have a proper pay off feeling that it so desperately needed. The ending goes way over the top, which I imagine happened in the novel, but still doesn’t give the viewer any emotional satisfaction, even with a major character death. However, it does close on a light-hearted note from Stanley and leaves our traumatized characters with hope to regain a peace of mind they need.

With all the missteps IT: Chapter 2 endures, there’s likely somethings in the film that people will enjoy, and others may not enjoy. I really wanted to like this movie and came in with expectations that it would surpass the first in almost every facet. What we ended up getting is a filler riddled 2 hour and 50 minute “epic” that finishes with a water downed ending to close the door on this once promising Stephen King adaptation franchise.