The first reactions to IT Chapter Two are in, and tease a scary but flawed continuation of the franchise. Based on the well-known Stephen King novel, Warner Bros. had one of the biggest hits of the year in 2017 with the release of IT. Featuring a stellar young cast, a terrifying portrayal of Pennywise the clown, and plenty of scares, the movie broke box office records. Naturally, it wasn't long before a second chapter to the story was in the works.
Even though King only wrote one "IT" novel, the 2017 film solely focused on the first half of the book, which followed the young residents of Derry. The second half of the book where the kids, now grown adults, return to their town 27 years later to come face-to-face with Pennywise once again is the basis for IT Chapter Two. This allowed director Andy Muschietti to find a star-studded adult cast that includes Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Bill Hader.
The reception to the first film, the more well-known cast, and great marketing has made IT Chapter Two one of the most anticipated movies of the year. The movie has now screened for critics, and the reaction embargo been lifted by the studio, allowing those who've seen the movie to chime in online with their thoughts. Based on the first round of reactions, IT Chapter 2 is a solid second entry in the franchise that features good scares and a great cast, but suffers from an overlong and more complicated story.
So, #ITChapterTwo: it's v. good, but not great. I liked it, but didn't LOVE it. First movie is a tough act to follow. TWO is gruesome, strange but rarely scary. Nails important aspects from the book, but feels overlong. Cast is aces, though, & Bill Hader SHOULD be in Oscar convo. pic.twitter.com/1KUZk5TXA1— Sean O'Connell (@Sean_OConnell) August 21, 2019
#ITChapterTwo is probably scarier than chapter one - more Pennywise imagery to haunt your dreams. But it also loses a lot of charm in the shift in focus from the coming of age to the now adult characters. At nearly 3 hours it feels long.— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) August 21, 2019
It was great to see the kids return in flashbacks, but I’m not sure if it helps or hurts the older cast, who could’ve used a little more screentime. Still, they all live up to their young counterparts well. The time jumps can be jarring at times, but you settle in. #ITChapterTwo— Paul Shirey (@arcticninjapaul) August 21, 2019
#ITChapterTwo is a terrific companion to #ITChapterOne. Similar vibes, great ensemble chemistry w/ a nice mix of humor and horror. Part 2 plays heavier in tone, dealing w/ defeating the burden of childhood trauma, & I definitely teared up at the very end. Bill Hader steals it pic.twitter.com/bjiwtJufNQ— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) August 21, 2019
#ITChapterTwo is awesome. The adult cast is perfect and loved the way the film mixes in the old and new. I don't want to say too much because most of you are going to see it. Congrats to everyone that worked on it for a job well done. pic.twitter.com/b8yFZe3FzU— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) August 21, 2019
#ItChapterTwo is a giant budget, studio-backed horror movie that’s also a fairly serious actors showcase/ensemble, with occasional flashes of brilliant imagery (like all the balloons cascading under the bridge). It’ll make more money than Warner Bros knows what to do with. pic.twitter.com/Noscq1X1j1— Drew Taylor (@DrewTailored) August 21, 2019
The good news for fans of horror, Stephen King, and the first IT movie is that it sounds like the sequel succeeds in that area once again. Even though the first film and King's novel do more than just scare, the horror element is what many will be wanting to experience above all else in a few weeks. These scares may help said audiences make it through the nearly 3-hour movie with a bit more ease, which otherwise has been a divisive aspect of the film.
Outside of the horror aspects of IT Chapter 2, it's the cast that repeatedly drew praise from those who've seen it. The young cast is back and remain important to the sequel's story. But, it also sounds like the adult cast featuring some known stars do impress. The standout based on these reactions is Barry's Bill Hader, who plays the adult Richie in the sequel. With IT Chapter 2 hitting theaters in just a few weeks, hopefully these generally positive reviews will draw even more attention to the film.
Sources: Various (See Above)
- IT Chapter Two (2019) release date: Sep 06, 2019