*More Spoilers for Chapter 1 thank Chapter 2
Stephen King is a legendary horror writer and has had an incredible number of his stories adapted to the big and small screens. IT Chapter One though was by far his most commercially successful making over 700 million dollars worldwide on a 35 million dollar production budget. The movie and in particular the villainous clown was a phenomenon and had people salivating for this sequel.
Chapter 2 picks up 27 years after the events of the first movie and we see Mike was the Losers Club member who never left Derry. He starts seeing similar activity to what they saw as a kid, and called on the rest of the LC to fulfill their vow and come back to Derry. From their the friends all set off on their own (always a smart move in a horror movie) to find their Totems in order to defeat Pennywise for good.
Ultimately did this live up to the first half of the story, and in my opinion the answer is no. This is a fun movie that really leaned more into the horror side than the story, which seems to be a King staple. King adaptations have been known to wander a bit near the end and unfortunately this was not the exception. A friend of mine who read the book knew that the second half gets much more cosmic and weird, but I just felt like they held some of that back in the movie.
The casting of the Losers Club was incredible though, all the actors felt like their kid counterparts and made the transitions with the flashbacks easier. I felt all of that worked well especially since the kids are the heart of the story. As great as the adults are, the story just does not carry as much weight when the kids are not battling the clown/their worst fears.
Stock Up – Jessica Chastain is amazing every time I see her on screen and she is not different in this. She channels Beverly to a tee which is not easy seeing how emotionally and physically abused Beverly was her whole life. Chastain seems to be going up another level as an actress and she is one of the best in the world right now.
Stock Neutral – James McAvoy is someone I have tremendous respect for as an actor and I advocate for him all the time. His accent in this was just all over the freiken place. Sometimes it had a New York twang, then it slipped back to his British accent, and then sometimes he would randomly sound Midwestern. I wont ding him too much because I am such a big fan, but this was not his best performance.
Stock Up – Bill Hader is on the rocket ship right now that I talk about a lot. Everything the guy touches right now turns to gold. He is the best actor on TV right now in Barry and absolutely stole this movie channeling Finn Wolfhard to become Richie in Chapter 2. Richie is obviously the foul mouthed kid so you can see how Hader could be hilarious in the role. However, he brought emotion as well to the twists and turns of the character as well and became the emotional heart of the group. He has an Oscar Nomination coming in the future if he keeps on this path.
Stock Neutral – Bill Skarsgård was the clear breakout of the first movie as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. He did not get a ton to do in this one, but of course stole every scene he was in. His voice for the clown is just so incredibly creepy, it makes your skin crawl. I would like to start seeing him get some roles where he can show his face though.
*A couple other tidbits
- This movie is just a bit too long.
- I am very happy they decided against putting the child orgy into the movie adaptation of this story.
- Defeating the clown means becoming bullies yourself?
After the phenomenon of Chapter 1 this follow up was always going to have a tough time living up to the predecessor. Chapter 2 is a fun movie that drags a bit too long, but should give the King Heads a good time at the theater.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.