IT Chapter Two leaves the optimism & scary wonder of youth behind to focus on downbeat adult trauma. This tonal shift is necessary for the story of the adult Losers Club to fully come full circle but like the book, it becomes less enjoyable, more tedious. It meanders more often than it amuses and takes full advantage of its long running time to flesh out lots of details. So we’re left with a brilliant cast who are suddenly but sporadically thrust into fantastical set pieces. There’s truly no lack of horror, and when it happens it’s bizarre & unsettling movie magic! Yet all this drama also strangely also upstages Pennywise – and Bill Skarsgard – who seems to have a really small role. When the clown does show up, it's in the form of some larger than life but clearly CGI creature. Enhanced practical effects would have helped sell some of these moments. Greater emphasis still is given to the monster's Deadlights, three glowing orbs that are possibly its truest form, that don't have much character at all. But I did appreciated that they dove into the mythos, origins of IT, and the Ritual of Chud. Perhaps the episodic nature would lend itself better to another medium, but nothing here feels unnecessary. It folds in some needed scenes of their younger counterparts to ensure the current narrative gels. This is a clunky, repetitive structure with some laggy pacing, and then we get to the end. Stephen King is notorious for failing to end his massive works with satisfying endings, and here again, the ending feels somewhat anti-climatic. I admit it wasn’t as bad a the tv mini-series and a vast improvement on the book. Perhaps expectations got in the way, considering the great choices director Andy Muschietti and writer Gary Dauberman have made in adapting this massive book and changing the story to fit the films. IT Chapter Two is an engrossing, good film that is very, very long. I still preferred Chapter One since it's dripping with nostalgia, but this one stays true to its central thesis. Fearing IT gives IT power and likewise believing you can destroy IT has the same effect. This is how the kids defeated Pennywise in Chapter One. But Pennywise is 27 years older, wiser, and has a grudge to settle. He knows adults struggle with believing in anything and thus are easy targets. It's a good lesson to remember that the imagination of your childhood could possibly save you as an adult.
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