“It: Chapter Two” is not by any means a perfect film, but it is a meaningful one.
Directed by Andy Muschietti, this sequel to 2017’s “It” hit theaters September 6. “It: Chapter Two” follows the now-adult “Loser’s Club” of Bill (James McAvoy), Beverly (Jessica Chastain), Richie (Bill Hader), Eddie (James Ransone), Ben (Jay Ryan) and Stan (Andy Bean) as they are invited back to their childhood hometown of Derry, Maine by fellow club member Mike (Isaiah Mustafa).
When they return, however, they are met with a flood of unwelcome memories and the even more unwelcome realization that It, the shapeshifting alien manifestation of fear that haunted them in their childhood, has returned to once again prey on the children of Derry.
As a fan of the first movie, I was cautiously excited for what “Chapter Two” had to bring. After initial reviews were somewhat negative, I left the theater disagreeing with a lot of the bad reviews, but not for the reasons I had expected.
The one thing that even the movie’s biggest critics mostly agree on, is that the acting deserves high praise. Similarly to the first film, Bill Skarsgård, playing Pennywise the Clown (It’s “favorite form”), was frighteningly committed.
While all of the adult Losers also captured the essence of the performances from the first movie’s youth cast sufficiently, the film truly belonged to Ransone and Hader as the adult versions of Eddie and Richie, respectively.
Both actors are extraordinarily funny, and their petty banter provided the audience with some truly riotous bouts of laughter throughout the film. Surprisingly, the two actors were also the source of the movie’s most touching dramatic moments.
It’s massively impressive that writer Gary Dauberman was able to stay fairly faithful to the book in terms of plot, while still taking enough of a departure to service the story that was set up in “Chapter One.”
Those who have read Stephen King’s original “It” know that it tended toward the weird, such as an interdimensional turtle, something which the film thankfully chose to dip it's toes into, but not commit to.
The one area in which Dauberman and Muschietti probably should’ve strayed from the book was in length. The film reaches nearly three hours. While it’s not boring per se, there are a few scenes that likely should’ve been cut. This leads to an experience that can feel a bit sloppy at times. The unconventional nature of the story noticeably detracts from the unique atmosphere of charm and wonderment, horror and suspense, which made the first movie stand out.
In spite of these shortcomings, the thing that stood out to me the most about “Chapter Two,” was its poignant and well-timed, message for the audience. At the center of both “Chapter One” and “Chapter Two,” is the theme of transition from childhood to adulthood. This was especially vibrant at the heart of "Chapter Two."
The first film dealt heavily with the topics of growing up and reaching maturity from a child’s point of view, along with all the awkwardness, anxiety and emotional turmoil that comes with it.
“Chapter Two” takes that same topic and looks on it retrospectively. All the characters are now in their 40’s and have forgotten what it was like to be 12-years-old. Simultaneously enchanted by and terrified of the world. Despite this, the Losers are still afraid of the same things they used to be.
As a first year student, these ideas impacted me. The transition to college life is in the eyes of many, like stepping into the world of adulthood.
Many of us are now learning how to make our own schedules, buy our own groceries, manage our money, share a room, vacuum without our parents telling us to, all for the first time and all at once.
“It: Chapter Two” is a beacon of comfort for adults yearning to be kids again. It’s a surprisingly reflective movie, with a lot more to say than your average horror flick.
The theme of confronting your fears head-on, is clearly prevalent. The idea of embracing your past before you can face your future is as well.
Most importantly, it emphasizes that you don’t need to be afraid of being afraid.
Whether you hate this movie, love it, can’t wait to see it or would never even touch it, I encourage you to take its message to heart: adulthood is scary. Maybe not demonic-clown-that-eats-children scary, but the point stands. Fear is fear. It’s OK to be a little scared.
Karenna Blomberg is a contributor.