It Chapter Two ★★½

As someone who didn't read the book: "It: Chapter Two" is a disappointment.
All the mistakes of the first movie, which most of us ignored precisely because it was only the first part of a story, reappear here floating in a sewer of nostalgia.

Although the characters grew, their problems remained the same, and I would've no problem with that if the way the plot uses to deal with these traumas had matured as well.
But what we see here is a film with no personality of its own that simply decides to deliver to the public what it already knows to be successful.

In the beginning, for those like me who loved Chapter One, it's hard to accept this second part as a bad thing since all the elements that were successful in the previous one are here, but as the hours go by, the references to the first movie are so hammered into our heads, that it ends up erasing some of the charm of that bittersweet summer.

The cast was very well chosen, especially Bill Hader and James Ransone who steal the show as Richie and Eddie, respectively. Jay Ryan as Ben was a pleasant surprise as was Jessica Chastain as Beverly (I was one of those who wanted Amy Adams for the role) and Isaiah Mustafa as Mike. Unfortunately, aside from an occasional stuttering, I couldn't see Bill in James McAvoy's performance.
Bill Skarsgard again shines as Pennywise. Too bad he has less screen time since It assumes many more shapes this time.

Unfortunately most horror scenes seem to reflect the film's central mantra (used even as a good self-aware joke): great beginnings, mediocre endings. They all start with a great atmosphere, small doses of psychological horror, but always end with a CGI creature screaming and running toward the camera. Even in the third act we still had these cheap and increasingly predictable scares.

The excess of CGI that has stained some sequences in the first movie, almost ruins them all here. Some exceptions are the Chinese restaurant scene and the new refrigerator scene (the same one from which Pennywise came out all twisted to grab Eddie) which has some disturbing details, but nothing on par with Georgie's basement scene, for example.

The opening that shows a hate crime is surprisingly tame by today's standards. In fact this can be said about the whole movie which is much sadder than scary or shocking. We still have some horrifying images but they always seem to end too soon.

The dialogues also left a lot to be desired, especially some with strong sexual content in the book (involving Beverly's father for example) that ended up completely suppressed, even with the adult cast. A big waste.

The production, again, is excellent with gorgeous sets and iconic images (the balloons under the bridge, Pennywise flying over the lumberjack statue, the deadlights descending through a cave while its walls tremble ...).
As a horror fan, it's great to see a movie of the genre with such a big budget and marketing.

Another big plus is that the vast majority of jokes work and seem spontaneous, especially the dynamic between Eddie and Richie. It's funny how a horror movie made me laugh a lot more than any comedy this year.

Even with much of the time wasted trying to explain the creature's mythology, little still makes sense in the end. The fact that they're a bunch of adults this time makes the logic flaws and the lack of serious consequences even more evident.

There's a subplot involving a character from the first movie (which we thought had died) that serves no purpose, as well as some coincidences (the same boy in the restaurant lives in Bill's old house) and the lack of explanation for weird details like the lack of employees and other guests in the hotel where the characters were staying, give me the impression that, even with almost three hours of runtime, a lot has been cut out.

This is result of poor planning and poor editing, since a lot of things, especially flashbacks, repeated catchphrases and unnecessary dialogues could've been cut off without any damage to the plot. Seriously, since "The Return of the King" I hadn't seen such a long and anticlimatic farewell.

The truth is that this second chapter puts the horror in the background and drags the dramatic effect of the character's traumas. Unfortunately, it lacks boldness and courage to cross lines. In this respect, it's all too organized and sanitized.
But even so, some performances are so good (Bill Hader made me tear up) that it's impossible not to feel our heart clench in pain at the visceral cruelty of some scenes.

"It: Chapter Two" refuses to fully mature along with its protagonists and drowns itself in nostalgia for the far wider achievements of its predecessor.

5.5/10 - WEAK

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