'It Chapter Two' Movie Review with Casey
Pennywise the murderous clown is back to rain fear onto small-town Maine in this sequel to the first theatrical It film from 2017. The group of children from the first film are now successful adults in this sequel all living apart from each other until one of them summons the group to return to their home town and fight against the evil that has resurfaced.
What makes It Chapter Two interesting, and scary, is it steady theme of memory. Each adult character revisits a horrible experience they had with Pennywise the clown in the past, creating some brilliantly edited scenes blending past childhood with present adulthood. These scenes remind viewers how so many adults are often strongly shaped by difficult times in childhood. The most frightening of these scenes taking place first in a dreary apartment and second in a carnival hall of mirrors. Although these poignant moments add a realistic, emotional weight to the film, it loses narrative energy about half-way through by including too much information on past relationships and too many rules about defeating this particular form of evil. And when a film loses its narrative energy........it drags. That's what this sequel suffers from, and this dragging made it feel like an awfully long journey to get to a mostly satisfying ending.
For those of us who have seen most of the films adapted from Stephen King's writings, it's apparent that adapting Stephen King for film is a very daunting task. Most of these film adaptations are not successful. The most recent example of this being the dreadfully boring Pet Sematary remake released in April of this year. Others include the emotionally flat fantasy The Dark Tower (from 2017) or the nonsensical 1408 (from 2007). It Chapter Two is another example of this specific challenge when adapting Stephen King. There's always a surplus of content to select/arrange in a film adaptation with a vague, but pressing, time constraint.
It Chapter Two is not on the same unremarkable level as The Dark Tower or 1408. It has some moments that pushed me to the edge of my seat. I just didn't stay at the edge of my seat for long. It was simply okay. Because it juggles so many characters, so many relationships, and so many emotions, It Chapter Two fails to have the same forceful impact of its 2017 companion.