by Daniel Giorello | Staff Writer
It was hard to tell what I should be prepared to expect when going into the second half of “IT”—the first chapter struck a great balance between pleasantly disarming and terror-inducing, without either half feeling as though it was competing for my attention. While “Chapter 2” isn’t quite as up to the task as its predecessor, the story manages a sufficient follow-through that charms just enough for it to stay away from the label of mediocrity.
The biggest change comes in the form of a time-jump to present day, with The Loser’s now played by a cast representing their older selves. For the most part, this change succeeds thanks to spot-on casting and great performances that channel most of the same charisma that the original cast gave out in spades. However, the narrative appears to grow so concerned with whether or not we’ll enjoy the Loser’s latest incarnation and at points over-relies on flashbacks that places the original members back on display. At points, it becomes clear that they’re only necessary to draw out the film’s runtime, and in others its made painfully clear that no matter how well the adult cast performs, they can’t quite hold a candle to the originals, which is saying something when most of their scenes still feel akin to filler.
However anyone who’s come for the main event, Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise, should feel safe knowing he continues his fantastic performance without missing a beat. The film wisely chooses to give the conniving clown a larger screen presence, making for a tense and palpable atmosphere in some of the most frightening scenes. But as the film continues to draw itself out, it starts to feel as though it can’t decide whether it wants to tell a story in the past or present. This affects how threatening our villain feels when he’s such a constant presence in flashbacks and since we already know the final outcome of these moments; they have a far weaker impact than those that attempt to push the narrative forward. In fact the adult counterparts play less and less of an involved role up until the third act, which hurts the narrative when it feels like the most important events already happened in the past.
“IT: Chapter 2” is by no means a bad film or a bad sequel; if you are a fan of the first film, there’s no reason you won’t enjoy its continuation. But once the dust has settled and you’ve seen everything the nearly three hour conclusion has to offer, you may leave wondering just how much of this adventure was necessary, especially when it feels like the film has a tough time deciding that for itself. It’s a decent 7 pinecones out of 10.