The Losers Club and Pennywise the clown are back in “It Chapter Two,” the somewhat satisfying conclusion to the 2017 horror smash based on the Stephen King novel.
While this “It” boasts an impressive cast that includes James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain, the film never quite reaches the level of its predecessor – with the new faces unable to create the same chemistry that made the first film so successful.
“Chapter Two” picks up 27 years after the first film with Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) back to terrorize the town of Derry.
Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), one of the seven kids who fought off the clown 27 years ago, springs into action and reaches out to other members of the Losers Club to come back and finish what they started – getting rid of Pennywise for good.
The other six former friends are scattered throughout the country, all unable to remember what happened back in Derry.
They return home and the memories start to come back, with terrifying results.
I closed my original review of the first “It” expressing my desire for the adult cast to be able to match the chemistry of the young cast from that film – led by a star-making turn by Sophia Lillis.
Unfortunately the chemistry isn’t as sharp, although it’s not because the adult cast isn’t capable. Chastain, McAvoy and the rest of the new faces are fine, with Bill Hader the best of the group, but they just don’t have that same connection that elevated the original above its traditional horror genre.
It’s understandable to an extent since most of the film is the group trying to overcome past demons linked to Pennywise, but it’s still a bit of a letdown – brought to light even more with a multitude of flashbacks that showcase how good the young cast is.
Skarsgård gets some moments, but not nearly enough as the first film and his presence lacks the same suspense this time with this “It” feeling more like a horror film than the previous one.
Then there is the mammoth running time of nearly three hours (two hours and 49 minutes to be precise). It’s a test of endurance for the audience to stay with this material that long. For a while it plays at a faster pace, but by the final hour I found myself checking my watch a lot.
Perhaps that is the problem with “Chapter Two,” as it feels like it’s building to something much bigger than what actually happens in the final act – leaving the audience feeling a bit underwhelmed.
The result is a film that ends with a whimper more than a bang. Fortunately, there is enough here for fans of the previous film and the book to appreciate. But if you are looking for something that’s as impressive and engaging as the first “It,” then you might come away a little disappointed by “Chapter Two.”