IT Chapter Two had the opportunity to use Beverly Marsh as the strongest member of the Losers’ Club, but the sequel frustratingly underutilized and failed the character. The movie was written and directed by Andy Muschietti, the man behind 2017’ IT. Jessica Chastain took over the adult version of Beverly, who was brilliantly portrayed by Sophia Lillis in the first installment.
Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with Pennywise, the Losers’ Club was summoned back to Derry after partaking in a blood oath. The sequel wasn’t just about another battle against an evil clown, though, it was exemplary in how childhood trauma could shape one’s adult life. Most of the Losers were unaware of how their past affects their adulthood considering they had forgotten their run-in with Pennywise when they were children.
Beverly, however, carried with her a different kind of trauma but it was hardly ironed out in the sequel. The standout character from IT Chapter One could have been used in a multitude of ways to continue her enthralling growth. Instead, the sequel undermined her story arc and blended her into a larger narrative while losing its grasp on their most compelling character.
Beverly Marsh Was The Most Important Loser In IT Chapter 1
On the surface, young Beverly seemed to be a normal teenage girl living in the quaint Maine town. As was the case with other Derry residents, there were many secrets being kept behind closed doors. Aside from the danger caused by Pennywise's presence, Beverly's real terror was rooted in the relationship with her abusive father, Alvin. IT Chapter One only scratched the surface between the unsettling relationship between Beverly and Alvin but the sexual abuse that wasn't directly shown, was easily insinuated.
The horror she endured and how she handled herself outside of her despicable home life made Beverly the most important character in IT Chapter One. She didn't let her father define her and she took charge in the face of daily challenges, even if that meant leading the Losers' Club into a face-off with Pennywise. Beverly turned the tables on tropes that typically come with females in horror movies. The character was arguably the bravest of the bunch. It's a shame that the third act of the first film cheapened her character development by transforming her into a damsel in distress.
Beverly Marsh's Adult Storyline In The Book
Much of Stephen King's horror tale was kept intact when Muschietti adapted the Losers' Club childhood into IT Chapter One. Although there were minor changes and cut subplots, much of the elements in the classic novel were transported from page to film. In the second half of the novel, it was revealed that an adult Beverly was living in Chicago as a fashion designer. She worked alongside her abusive husband, Tom Rogan. After receiving a phone call from Mike about Pennywise's return, Beverly informed her husband that she must go to Derry. Tom's unhinged behavior took over and the two got into a physical altercation before Beverly managed to escape the home. IT Chapter Two followed up to that point before straying away from her novel storyline.
In the IT novel, Tom followed Beverly to Derry before he encountered IT. He then became IT's servant after looking into the Deadlights. Tom was forced into kidnapping Bill's wife, Audra, and brought her to the lair in the sewers. Once he came face to face with Pennywise, Tom fell over dead from fright. That entire subplot was cut from IT Chapter Two. The sequel did, however, bring Beverly to the realization that Ben wrote the haiku on the postcard. In the novel, she learned of his doing sooner which gave their budding romance more time to play out. Once IT was defeated in the book, Beverly and Ben left Derry together to go to Nebraska. They quickly married and Beverly learned she was pregnant just weeks after the wedding.
IT Chapter 2 Wastes Beverly's Character (& Jessica Chastain)
Unfortunately, everything that IT Chapter One built upon with Beverly's character seemed to be wasted for IT Chapter Two. She was presented as one of the central pieces for when Pennywise made its return but when she got to Derry, the character had little to do. When the Losers' Club reunited, Beverly reluctantly shared that she had visions of all of their deaths. This was a result of being stuck in the Deadlights in the first film. Other than that, the effects of being possessed by Pennywise's powers in the past got glanced over.
Beverly did have the opportunity to visit her childhood home as part of the solo missions taken by the Losers to track down their totems. But when the Losers came together, Beverly was often forced as a side character providing support for someone else at the center. By pushing Beverly aside for other subplots, Jessica Chastain was oddly underutilized. That's not to say the actress did a bad job at embodying the character, but she should have been given more to do, especially when taking over a character who had so much potential.
IT Chapter 2 Badly Handles Beverly's Abuse
Much of Beverly's character arc centered on her long history of abuse. By marrying an abusive man like Tom, it showed that Beverly was trapped in a cyclical relationship with men. Cutting the Tom subplot from IT Chapter Two did a disservice to Beverly's overall storyline. She courageously stood up to her husband by fighting off his attack after Mike's phone call but that wasn't enough.
Beverly deserved to leave her life as a victim behind without using someone like Ben as a crutch in realizing that she deserved better. There was no kind of justice served with Tom's abuse or closure for Beverly, other than leaving her wedding ring when she left the house. Considering Tom was still out there, viewers should have been presented a more conclusive ending to Beverly's marriage and history of abuse. Pennywise tormented her multiple times but it was her father, and later her husband, who caused her so much pain in life.
Beverly wasn't the only one who received the short end of the stick when it came to problematic storylines. Adrian Mellon was beaten by a group of homophobic Derry residents, but IT Chapter Two's shocking opening scene was never referenced to again. IT Chapter Two could have used Adrian's death or Beverly's abuse at the hands of her husband to display important social commentary but both incidents came and went without any kind of meaningful discussion. Beverly was an admirable Loser but she deserved better.