I’m not exactly sure what happened with this one, but nevertheless it’s a massive bummer. The adult cast doesn’t have half the chemistry that their kid counterparts did, and it doesn’t help that they spend well over half the movie separated from one another. Bill Hader is unsurprisingly fantastic though, carrying most of the movie’s weight with a performance that is not only full of hilarious one-liners, but also an interesting depiction of dealing with anxiety and childhood trauma. Other than him, though, nobody is really memorable in their role (James McAvoy in particular feels like he’s just kinda sleepwalking through the script).
It’s not scary either. Like, at all. The opening scene is a decent exercise in buildup and payoff, but I’m not kidding when I say that you will see the exact same jump scare played out at least seven times over the course of the movie. It’s repetitive, dull, and I genuinely have a hard time recounting the different moments and distinguishing them from one another. There’s just nothing scary about seeing a closeup of some CGI monster jumping around with blood in its teeth as music blares. In fact, the only scene that conjures up a decent level of suspense is the scene that is shown literally beat-for-beat in the first trailer. The first movie wasn’t terribly scary, but at least it still had a sense of fun with the projector and Neibolt house sequences. Whereas Pennywise felt fresh back in 2017, there is essentially nothing here that we haven’t seen before.
The movie does take some attempts to adhere to its source material and get weird in its final thirty minutes, and while I applaud this on a level of ambition, it doesn’t change the fact that the climactic moment in this movie basically just feels like an onslaught of headache-inducing flashing lights. And unlike the first movie, IT: Chapter Two cuts back and forth between footage of the adults and the kids, which was one of the key aspects that made the book work so well…yet the same can’t be said here. All the inserts of flashbacks felt forced and awkward, never establishing the rhythm that was able to be found in the book. Sure, the first movie may be a bit boring with its linear structure, but it’s so much more effective in its pacing that it doesn’t even matter.
Like I said, the first movie wasn’t scary either but at least it felt fun. There was an interesting mythology, cool visuals, and a cast of characters that you want to root for and see interact. IT: Chapter Two just feels lifeless. I found myself mostly bored throughout its beefy runtime, but when the final five minutes hit me with an unearned emotional montage, it just made me longing for what could have been a great two-part epic.