It’s been a hot minute since I sat down and wrote a review. It has been so long I feel like I don’t even know how and where to begin. And it has been quite a while since I saw this movie so… let’s see how it holds up! I’ll start with the simplest of ways. I did not love It Chapter Two. The movie had its moments, some of which will forever remain my favourite, but overall, the magic the first chapter had wasn’t recreated.
With my main thought already out there I figured I’d paragraph this review based on the characters. Everyone has already reviewed this and there’s a book so I’m simply going to focus on individual performances and characters. Hopefully it will help me give a little insight into the movie as well. Let’s go from least favourite to favourite, even though I’m dying to talk about the latter. Anyway, let’s dive right in.
Not going to throw him into the mix but I just wanted to add that Bill Skarsgard was good. He wasn’t great like he was in Chapter One because the script didn’t do him any justice. Somebody pointed out that there was too much of him and I agree. Pennywise was overexposed and his past was described so.. randomly. His added backstory also made no sense because they did little to explain it.
Also, what a weak ending to a scary clown. Sorry but I guess it’s a general criticism towards the book (though I can’t remember if he died the same way) but the story did not hold up in adult-chapters. While reading I was thrilled about kid chapters and just wanted to get through adult ones. That feeling translated to the movies as well.
Jessica Chastain as Beverly was not my cup of tea. Not just because I’ve never been a huge Chastain fan but because the movie did very little to set up her adult life. Granted, the books had more time to establish their backgrounds but I feel like the introduction scene for adult Beverly could have hit harder. Which is ironic since her husband hits her in the face and she doesn’t bruise. Huge continuity that bothered me throughout the movie.
Sophia Lillis as young Beverly had a warmth to her, which could have disappeared as an adult but in some ways, I expected the warmth to return together with the memories. Sadly I never warmed up to adult Beverly and I think that problem could have been avoided. The toilet stall scene was visually stunning but that poetry reciting between her and Ben was way too cheesy.
Isaiah Mustafa was better than I hoped but his character was just all over the place. The backstory he was given, the discoveries he made, it was just so weird and off putting. It was even crazier in the book so I mean, good for them for toning it down. That being said, Mike didn’t have a lot of opportunities to shine and Mustafa was a bit weak because of the plot. Besides, Chosen Jacobs really didn’t give him a lot to work with. There were just way too many huge personalities in the kid gang and if you think about it, Mike is simply very forgettable.
Why am I naming him above Chastain? Like I said, I expected much worse from Mustafa and he managed to surprise me a little. Still, if it comes to them both, I’d say they are my least favourite from the adult group. Thinking back, I don’t have any memorable scene with Mike because they didn’t even give him a token to retrieve. He just had it.
Andy Bean as Stanley ends up almost in the middle here despite having very little screen time. Bean utilised himself marvellously with the little time he was given and he manages to capture the innocence that Wyatt Oleff had. It’s the eyes, they both have very sad eyes and the casting here is spot on. His bathtub scene was sad but also a bit off because I can’t imagine somebody doing that to himself and then ending up in that position. Wouldn’t he put his hands into the water?
Oleff had also a bit fun during that church scene. I loved it! It was the sort of comic relief I expected from everyone else but coming from Oleff, it made that scene even more colourful.
Did King name Ben Hanscom because he was thinking of a handsome guy? Anyway, Jay Ryan gets an extra point for showing off his abs. That’s literally the scene I remember first, him in pain, showing his abs. What a wonderful little moment in a mostly gruesome movie. What I did love was the fact that Ryan was able to pull out more from Chastain than I’m used to. That being said, I did not like them together as much as I would have hoped.
Jeremy Ryan Taylor was honestly a tad bit forgettable. I can’t think of any of his flashback scenes right now (it’s been a month guys) besides his love story with Beverly. I do think Taylor and Ryan worked well as an adult/kid combo. Almost as good as my three favourite picks which you know, are obviously the best.
While the central tragedy is mostly focused on Bill in the first movie, the second one sort of puts him on the sidelines. That doesn’t mean James McAvoy steps aside and gives us less than we expect from him! Oh no, he goes all out! Sadly the writing is not as powerful as McAvoy can be because that glasshouse scene needed some… thing. You know? Also somebody pointed out that showing that kid in the trailer was a mistake because the first time he shows up (he really had the worst luck), you know he dead. Thanks for the spoiler, trailer!
Like the first time around, Jaeden Martell was great! I like his vulnerability and he seems like the kind of kid you would follow anywhere. I felt like McAvoy was good as the older version of Martell but not 110% perfect…
Yes, I know, how dare I not to list Bill Hader anything other but the first and only. Well, hear me out. I loved Hader as Richie! His scenes were perfect and everything about his storyline worked. It’s not because I have any criticism towards his performance or likeness to Finn Wolfhard. It’s because I liked somebody more. And it’s okay, okay?!
Anyway, I could spend hours on this pairing, this character and this amazing performance. I have felt joy over this, I have been excited for this, I have cried over this, I have done everything! Hader and Wolfhard embody Richie perfectly, they both nailed it equally well. They had the best storyline of the bunch too in terms of transitioning their plot from Chapter 1 to 2. Which is a devastating one, by the way!
The only criticism is that the poor CGI guys tried so hard but Wolfhard looked awful in his added flashback scenes. The kid really grew and even computers couldn’t erase that teen heartthrob charm coming through.
My baby! My sweet angel! Eddie was, together with Richie, my favourite in Chapter 1. He continued to be my favourite here when James Ransone transitioned the character into adulthood. Ransone was perfection as Jack Dylan Grazer‘s adult version. This was by far my favourite pairing of the bunch. They had the same energy, the same sort of off-center vibes but also, Ransone felt like somebody who had grown up from that. So all the praise!
His token scene!? My dear god, it was so good! So so so good!
Anyway, I can’t even type this without getting emotional. I knew it was coming after reading the book but still, I was not prepared. They gave Eddie and Richie a lot to do, and Ransone and Hader gave their everything. It was the backbone of the movie, everything else was pointless. By the end of it, I just wanted more of them. Which is sad because I wished the movie would have rewrote the ending.
After writing all of that I have some quick thoughts. First of all, the script was weak. Not that the book was good, it took me three months to read it, but the script could have changed things for the better. Instead, to my recollection, it added things that didn’t work that well either. That opening scene was heartbreaking but it was such an obvious hint at what was coming that it made me annoyed.
The movie did a lovely job at showing the friendship between Eddie and Richie so that at least was something. I still think I would have loved to somebody else as adult Beverly. Watching some interviews with the kids, it seemed Lillis hadn’t connected with Chastain as well as the boys. Maybe because she seems a bit shy to begin with but we’ll never really know.
As for the special effects. Like I said, the CGI on Wolfhard was awful. The other scary stuff was okay.
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I feel like they took everything from the book that didn’t make sense and added it to the film. That really annoyed me and I think the film would have been better had they deviated more from the book at times.
Chapter 2 wasn’t quite as good as Chapter 1 for but still a very decent adaptation. As there are many things I missed, I still stand by what I wrote when I reviewed the old It adaptation: the only way to this well is by turning it into a series instead of a film.
I feel like the movie would have been a tad bit better if they had been in teams collecting the tokens or something. Like, it would have felt less cluttered. And yes, a series would have worked better.
Yep, that script :/ I don’t even wanna know how it looked because most of this movie is Bill and James improvising and adding stuff, their reactions to the doors scene is all improv! The cast really rescued the movie other than Chastain. Goddamn Adams would be so much better.
Yeah, it seems that the first movie also had quite a lot of improvising. I heard that Grazer came up with the “gazebo” quote and that’s literally the best one liner in the first movie. But like the director said, sometimes kids come up with the best stuff and now it seems also Bill and James as well… sad really. So much potential.