It: Chapter Two clowns around attempting to adapt a seemingly unadaptable second half. There's a cruel irony that haunts the now all grown-up Bill, a screenplay writer, that represents my opinion of King's infamous conclusive half. "The ending kinda sucked". Having read the novel, watched the original miniseries and survived my own nightmares, I came to the conclusion that the adult section of 'It' is terribly written and highlights the very worst of King's writing techniques. It's balls-to-the-walls insanity with a thematic presence that loses its ingenuity built lovingly from the first half, in this case 'Chapter One'. Unfortunately, as hard as Muschietti tried, not much of the near three-hour runtime made any impact and produced a seemingly forgettable "horror" riddled with more disappointment than Pennywise's ruthless attempt in capturing the Loser's Club. Twenty seven years after the events of the first film, the Losers Club reunite in Derry once more to try and destroy "It" permanently before it devours any more children.
Before I express my predictably overwhelming level of disappointment, it's important to note that I knew I was not going to be truly enamoured with the narrative. I've always loathed it. Thematically, there is a tepid amount of exploration into the manifestation of guilt and how it haunts us on an emotional level. The inner turmoil that is buried within us and the repercussions of suppressing them. Despite the overall absence of psychological complexities within each character, that is somewhat present in the novel, there's enough impact within each loser to illustrate guilt. Bill, for example, being the perfect thematic bridge as he comes to terms with Georgie's death.
The inherent issue, which is an immediate negatory result of the surprisingly fantastic first chapter, is the lack of characterisation. As kids, the Losers Club were inseparable, with each character fleshed out to maximum potential. Twenty seven years on, naturally the reunion is to be intermittently spiky, but to not reproduce the intrinsic flavour that made these losers so memorable and relatable was a huge misstep. Take Bev and Ben, or Eddie and Richie. Aside from the conclusive ten minutes, there's no tangible emotion between them. A true lack of friendship that, even if they are unable to remember, showed no humanity. Just quick lines of dialogue to keep the overstuffed plot moving, with an excessive amount of quips that rapidly transformed this horror into a comedy.
Mike had the misfortune of resorting to the mechanical character of "exposition man", where every spoken word explains the ritualistic storyline and the absurdity of King's mind. The Ritual of Chüd, the origins of "It" and the recovery of fragmented memories. Diabolically destroyed as a character. Which is a shame, as the casting of the adult losers was sublime. Hader stole the entire show with his ornate use of comedic timing and emotional distress. Chastain and McAvoy, despite their star status, wasn't given enough substance to give truly captivating performances. Especially the former who was grossly underused.
Of course, if you are wanting to watch 'It', then you're praying to be scared, right? Ehhh. Wrong. The horror traits that should've been at the forefront, were completely ineffective. Nearly every single jump scare, except for one furry canine that annoyingly infiltrated my impenetrable skin the moment I let my guard down, was pointless. A host of CGI creatures that, whilst creatively showcase the fearful capabilities of "It", smelt of so much fakery that they proved to be tame and forgettable. Heck, even visualised effects on some of the character's faces, like child Ben, were incredibly noticeable and off-putting.
Which nicely brings me to Pennywise himself. Skarsgard gives yet another tantalising performance. But just one teeny problem. He isn't scary anymore. Whether that be due to the uninspired use of said clown or the lack of freshness that made the first chapter massively frightening, remains to be seen. The audience were laughing instead of looking away! Either way though, Pennywise was ineffective. And the conclusive science-fiction blah-fest highlighted
This is a frustrating chapter. It really bloody is. Muschietti can create tension. He proved it in the first chapter and occasionally embedded scenes of suspense within this sequel. The old woman inviting Bev into her apartment? Yes please! CGI Bev's head spontaneously combusting? Nah, I'm out. It's overstuffed, overlong (seriously, three hours? Chop atleast forty minutes off!) and overly tame. And when the flashbacks to the child losers are the greatest aspects of the sequel, a sequel predominantly focused on the adults, well something's not quite right. It's not entirely Muschietti's fault, as the source material is just as terrible. It's just a case of "the ending kinda sucked".