Two years ago, IT became one of the most successful horror movies ever made. Not only did it break nearly every box office record imaginable for a horror film, but critics loved it just as much as fans. The sequel was given the green light almost immediately so that the story could be completed, and now we stand on the edge of the rest of the story.
However, many critics have already completed the journey back to Derry and their reviews are now begging to drop online. The sequel had a lot to live up to, and while the majority of critics seem to feel that IT Chapter Two doesn’t quite reach the heights of chapter one, it’s still a good movie worthy of being seen.
CinemaBlend’s Eric Eisenberg wrote our official review where he gave the film 3.5 stars. Eric felt that the sequel ended up a bit uneven due to the fact that, while this movie focuses on the adult versions of the main characters from the first movie, it still needed to jump back in time frequently, and thus did not let the second half of the story stand strongly on its own. According to Eric…
It still has a lot to offer even while being an imperfect follow-up, balancing structural issues with strong additions – but perhaps all of those problems will go away when we get a six-hour supercut of the entire IT experience.
Stephen King’s novel IT jumped back and forth through time following the Loser’s Club characters simultaneously as both kids and adults as they did battle with Pennywise the clown twice. The movie adaptation made the decision to focus the first movie entirely on the first half of that story, and then make the sequel, if it happened, cover the rest.
However, the story isn’t quite cut neatly in half. The first IT ran at just over two hours in length, and the sequel is pushing three hours. For EW, that’s a significant issue. While the movie is full of scares, it maybe didn’t need to be quite this full of them.
But really, the main problem with Chapter Two is that it goes on, and on, for so very long. If brevity is not necessarily the soul of a good scare, it would certainly serve a story that sends in the clowns, and then lets them just stay there — leering and lurking and chewing through scene after scene — until the there’s nothing left to do but laugh, or leave.
The general feeling seems to be that IT Chapter Two may have simply tried to do too much. The excessive run time is necessary in order to fit all the scares in, but it perhaps did not need to do that. CNET feels that, while the movie ultimately will leave viewers satisfied, it is, in many ways, just another sequel trying to do everything.
While IT Chapter Two brings their story to a conclusive and largely satisfying end, it disappointingly walks right into the same trap as many sequels. Bloated with story ideas, characters and, most noticeably, running time — not to mention excessive CGI — Chapter Two is at times harder to hang on to than an escaping balloon.
Based on reactions, it seems clear that if what you’re looking for is simply a horror movie full of scares that will make you jump, and possibly scream, IT Chapter Two certainly has that. However, as with anything you are regularly subjected to, eventually it just doesn’t have the same effect. According to i09, this is where the runtime becomes a real issue.
Many of the film’s hard turns into abject horror are disturbing and stomach-turning, but because the film’s so packed with scares (and again, long) you quickly come to a point where Pennywise stops being “scary” and starts being a nuisance.
While most critics seem to feel that IT Chapter Two is a good movie with flaws, there are those that simply don’t feel the sequel is a good movie. THR argues that IT really should have been a high quality limited series on a cable network or streaming service, as, even with the excessive run time, the movie simply doesn’t give these characters enough time to really resonate, largely because so much of the movie is still given over to the younger versions.
Though Muschietti occasionally finds lovely filmic ways to transition from one to the next, the stories don’t get to resonate with each other in a meaningful or emotional way — as they might in a series of well crafted hour-long episodes.
And a note needs to be added regarding those younger actors. While it’s only been a couple of years, the cast of the first IT have aged significantly in that time, which means that each has been de-aged via CGI so that they look as young as they did in that first movie. Opinions on the success of this vary somewhat across critics, but few if any think it was particularly successful, “good enough” is about as good as it gets.
The rest of the cast gets better marks. James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain aren’t getting much of the blame when it comes to the movie’s faults. Although, Bill Hader‘s performance is the one that is being singled out as something special, so he may make the movie worth checking out.
Movie’s aren’t bad because they are long, but the longer a movie is, the better it has to manage that time. There has to be a reason for us to follow a story for that long, and it seems that most critics will argue that IT Chapter Two doesn’t really give us one. Stephen King’s original novel is 1,100 pages long and so there’s a lot of material there to cover, but it seems like maybe the movie focused on trying to keep too much when it should have tried to slim down.
Having said that, while most feel the movie has flaws, more so than the first movie at any rate, it’s still ultimately worthwhile to return to Derry to see that Pennywise is defeated once and for all.
IT Chapter Two hits theaters Friday.