It Chapter Two

Critics Consensus

It: Chapter Two proves bigger doesn't always mean scarier for horror sequels, but a fine cast and faithful approach to the source material keep this follow-up afloat.

62%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 324

79%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 22,375
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Movie Info

Evil resurfaces in Derry as director Andy Muschietti reunites the Losers Club in a return to where it all began with "IT Chapter Two," the conclusion to the highest-grossing horror film of all time. Twenty-seven years after the Losers Club defeated Pennywise, he has returned to terrorize the town of Derry once more. Now adults, the Losers have long since gone their separate ways. However, kids are disappearing again, so Mike, the only one of the group to remain in their hometown, calls the others home. Damaged by the experiences of their past, they must each conquer their deepest fears to destroy Pennywise once and for all...putting them directly in the path of the clown that has become deadlier than ever.

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Cast

James McAvoy
as Bill Denbrough
Jessica Chastain
as Beverly Marsh
Bill Hader
as Richie Tozier
Isaiah Mustafa
as Mike Hanlon
Jay Ryan
as Ben Hanscom
James Ransone
as Eddie Kaspbrak
Bill Skarsgård
as Pennywise
Andy Bean
as Stanley Uris
Jaeden Martell
as Young Bill
Wyatt Oleff
as Young Stanley
Sophia Lillis
as Young Beverly
Finn Wolfhard
as Young Richie
Chosen Jacobs
as Young Mike
Jack Dylan Grazer
as Young Eddie
Joan Gregson
as Mrs. Kersh
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News & Interviews for It Chapter Two

Critic Reviews for It Chapter Two

All Critics (324) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (201) | Rotten (123)

  • Not unlike the town in which it's set, Muschietti's It only sees what it wants to.

    Sep 9, 2019 | Full Review…

    Jack Hamilton

    Slate
    Top Critic
  • The result is a film with all the unsettling power and visual elan of the kiddy-friendly Goosebumps series (Jack Black + monsters = zzzz).

    Sep 7, 2019 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • "It" never decides which fears to take at face value and which exist only in the subconscious, and winds up confused as a result.

    Sep 6, 2019 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • It's obvious that the filmmakers failed to fully reckon with what they've put on the screen, and the results are grim.

    Sep 6, 2019 | Full Review…

    Jeffrey Bloomer

    Slate
    Top Critic
  • Overall, "It Chapter Two" is a fitting companion piece to the first film. There are flaws, to be sure, but nothing you wouldn't expect going in.

    Sep 6, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Chapter Two goes deeper than its predecessor, and yet never loses a feeling of shallowness.

    Sep 6, 2019 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for It Chapter Two

  • 3d ago
    Back in 2017, the majority of audiences praised the fact that such a great Stephen King adaptation had been made in It. The television mini-series from 1990 was a very corny version of the story and it went without saying that it deserved a better treatment. Now, the second instalment of that great first film has hit theatres, and like the mini-series, the second portion of the story just isn't as interesting as the first. It: Chapter 2 does warrant a viewing though, especially if you liked the first movie because although it's not exactly great like its predecessor, there's a lot to like here. Picking up 27 years after the events of the first movie, Pennywise (the clown) has returned to terrorize the town of Derry once again. Reuniting as they promised each other they would, this cast of characters come together to face him one last time. Through various side plots that each character find themselves on, this film may feel slightly long for some viewers at a beefy 169 minutes, but I found that the events unfolding and the performances surrounding them was enough to keep me interested. Even if you find this film boring at times, it goes without saying that this is once again a stellar cast. Just as they brilliantly cast the kids in the first film, everyone here is on the top of their game. From Bill Hader stealing the show on multiple occasions to the star power of Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy leaping off the screen, there is an endless slew of great character moments. Where this film slightly fell apart for me was in the fact that this movie relies heavily on the past. Almost seeming to be afraid of letting the past go, this movie flashes back and forth from past and present, showing moments from their childhoods that coincides with current situations. It worked simply due to the fact that the cast of both films is great, but it really did feel like it unnecessarily made the movie longer than it needed to be. With that said, I feel that will be the complaint for most people, but I actually didn't feel the length of this movie. That might have been because I was just in the mood to watch it, but I digress. In the end, It: Chapter 2 has a great dramatic backbone to it and these performers are giving their all, but the sense of terror and tension is lost a little here in favour of the former. Still, I'm a sucker for a good drama and this film definitely delivers that tenfold. Both of these films feel like they have a sense of finality at the end of them, which is why they both work on their own. The fact that this movie constantly switches between past and present actually makes it easier to watch for those who missed the first movie, which is something I always love. While it's not going to be remembered as a great film on its own, I believe these two movies will work as a great double feature. It's absolutely worth seeing.
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Sep 09, 2019
    While its lengthy time-frame and predictability loses grip of the charm and overall sensation, the sequel still supplies the frights and thrills for a thoroughly entertaining follow-up to the Stephen-King-adapted-remake. It: Chapter Two's charismatic cast (both old and young) and dastardly carny are able to conjure a good number of scares, laughs and heart that, even though doesn't float as high as the previous entry two years ago, is still solid enough to experience. 3.95/5
    Eugene B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 08, 2019
    The horror elements are mostly popcorn spectacle but the drama underlying everything is immensely compelling. It effectively build off the first one's themes about overcoming childhood fears with adults learning to cope with trauma.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 07, 2019
    To be fair, It Chapter Two was always going to be the less interesting half. There's a reason when they thought they would only get one movie that the producers and writers decided to focus entirely on the childhood storylines, and that's because it's the superior material. Director Andy Muschietti and most of the same team from the 2017 film return with a bigger budget, a bigger running time, and some new famous faces (not counting the cameos). At a whopping 169 minutes long, It Chapter Two rumbles into theaters as a big scary surefire hit, enough so that no other Hollywood studio scheduled a competitor during its release weekend. As anyone who saw the 1990 TV miniseries can attest, the adult half of Stephen King's story is the harder slog, and Chapter Two makes it even sloggier (I'm making this a new word starting now). The Losers Club from Derry, Mine have all grown up as 27 years have passed from that fateful day that they battled the evil Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) and lived. Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) has stayed behind, cataloguing the events of the small town, waiting for the return of their nemesis. He alerts his old friends to once again return so they can take care of Pennywise as he feasts once again on the children and adults of Derry. Bill (James McAvoy) has become a famous and frustrated horror author. Beverly (Jessica Chastain) has married an abusive man. Richie (Bill Hader) has become a famous standup comic. Ben (Jay Ryan) has slimmed down and become a wealthy architect. Eddie (James Ransone) is with another overbearing woman and fraught with anxiety as an insurance risk assessor. Stanley (Andy Bean) is conflicted about returning as he views himself the weakest of the group. The old gang revisit the town of their youth and take turns remembering what they had selectively forgotten through the years. Only hey can band together to stop Pennywise but they must all work together to survive yet again. Every time It Chapter Two was cutting back to its childhood flashbacks (more on that in a moment) I was reminded how magical this younger cast was together, how much more I cared, and I was secretly wishing the movie would just stay in the past for good. In short, the adult versions of these characters are pretty boring. They each only have like one note of added characterization for the ensuing 27 years after we've seen them, meaning I guess according to the movie that whomever you are in middle school is who you'll be as a grown-up? That's a scarier thought than anything Pennywise has to offer. It's as if our understanding of them was put on hold for those 27 years as well, so there's too little to unpack, or what's there seems peculiar and unsatisfying. Richie's big personal secret that Pennywise taunts him with seems decidedly less scandalous in our modern age. Beverly is with an abusive husband who she leaves in the opening scene. So that seems to be the end of that development. Ben is still nursing his crush from middle school on Beverly; the man hasn't moved on from a middle school crush! He's gotten rich, gotten in shape, and still waiting for this girl to like him, which is a weird message. Maybe the movie is positing that all of the characters have been emotionally "on hold" since the childhood trauma they cannot remember, put in a stasis as much as Mike who elected to stay behind where the others wanted to get away. That feels like excuse-making to me. These versions of the characters just aren't that compelling and given little to do and too much time. Structurally, this movie is a protracted muddle and could have sliced out a healthy 45 minutes. The first act checks in with each character for us to see where they are in life, and then concludes with their reunion at a Chinese restaurant. The uncomfortably long second act follows each character wandering around the haunts of Derry and essentially having their memories activated. It follows a formula that gets to be redundant. The adult goes to a place, they have a scary flashback about that place as a child, then they have a scary moment as an adult. It means each character has two linked scary moments/set pieces to go through, and there are at least five characters to get through, which means this whole sequence takes up like an hour. Also trying your patience is the fact that there is no new information. You're watching the characters try and remember things that you, the audience, already know, so it gets to be rather boring. Then there's the extended ending that is undeserved for a two-part franchise. The ending gets drawn out so long, with so many little minor stops, that my father said, "It's like everyone came up with a different ending scene, they voted and they all tied, so we got them all." A Lord of the Rings-style sendoff was not needed for these characters. The misshapen and drawn out structure is a result of adapting a book where the narrative drive was from the childhood experiences using the adults more as a conduit to explore trauma and as a means to finally deliver a last confrontation. It's hard to assemble a full movie out of that material but this doesn't feel like it (pun intended?). It Chapter Two is also noticeably less scary than the original movie. Part of this is because we have a baseline of expectations from the childhood spooks, but it's also because the horror doesn't seem to have the same level of care and craft attached. Because of that formulaic middle, there's less an anticipation for Pennywise's big scares and more a resignation. It's a skipping record of scares, waiting for the non-scary thing/person to become the scary Pennywise. With the 2017 It, the scares were able to develop in fun ways, playing upon their childhood fears, and were developed with careful craft to heighten the tension. Pennywise was genuinely terrifying. Now in the sequel, because the scares aren't delivering the same impact, the movie veers too often into comedy, which only further de-fangs the power of its demonic clown. The 2017 It naturally understood that its horror would take steps into the goofy but that made it scarier. With the 2019 sequel, the human characters are calling out the horror tropes, which doesn't work. This is even more noticeable and unhelpful when the big scar scenes all involve some CGI monster. There's very little actual Pennywise in this movie and too many dull CGI monsters rambling about. Then there's a terrible over-invested secondary villain with a childhood bully breaking out of a mental hospital and being instructed to kill the adult Losers. Every time the movie kept cutting to him, I sighed. He doesn't deserve the amount of screen time and importance he seems to have been given. I don't care about this guy and the movie shouldn't waste time trying to make me care. The returning assets are welcomed, providing a sense of continuity that helps carry over our good feelings and good times from the 2017 hit. Muschietti (Mama) is a talented director and an excellent mood setter, but he's also excellent at directing child actors. There's one standout scene in It Chapter Two that would rank with the quality of the previous film. There's one scene that follows a little girl with a splotchy birth mark on her cheek as she follows a firefly under the bleachers at a high school baseball game. Waiting below in the shadows is Pennywise, who plays upon her insecurity of her facial deformity, and his own, to promise her a better life. It's the one moment in the movie I actually felt something close to fear. Muschietti draws out the development organically and plays upon the dread, holding onto a moment of Pennywise frozen, like the creature below the facade is trying to remember what to do next. It's a stellar little moment, beautifully directed and written, and it's almost completely superfluous. The child actors are all still remarkable, even if some of them got a slathering of de-aging CGI to make them look more like their pre-puberty selves (sorry Finn Wolfhard). Then there's the breakout sensation Skarsgard (Assassination Nation) as our favorite clown. He's under served by the story problems and the hazy rules leading to his eventual confrontation. I enjoyed every actual appearance from the character and Skarsgard's eerie command over his physicality, the way he can simply move through a scene or fixate his face, is repeatedly astounding. The degree of his brilliance in this role will get downplayed because of genre but he is doing remarkable acting. The adult actors all deliver capable and even great performances with what little they have. It doesn't take a great actor to act scared as judged by the litany of low-budget horror available, but it does take a great actor to try and funnel that into the narrow band of a character. Chastain (Dark Phoenix) is enjoyable, because she always will be, but her character is meant to sleepwalk through the movie, putting together the memories of old and becoming more awake. It makes for a restrained performance, which works for an adult woman raised with abusive men, but it can also mean that Chastain is given less ammunition as an actor to work with. McAvoy (Glass) breaks into a stutter when he's really freaked out but even his character seems to vacillate between under-performing and over-performing, especially when he's obsessed over saving one little neighborhood kid who probably views him as the real danger. His character was the unquestioned center of the 2017 It, but that center seems more with Richie with 2019 It. Hader has taken a surprising and very affecting turn into darker dramatic work with HBO's Barry, and his performance is the best of the Loser adults. He has his funny moments but it's the sadness and anxiety that coats his words that Hader is able to bring out. His is the character that seems to open up the most through the second installment and Hader was a terrific choice. It Chapter Two falters in comparison of the first film where the qualities all felt so wonderfully organic, arranged, and developed. It was a grade-A funhouse of goofy terrors. The sequel is far far too long, misshapen structurally, overextended, underdeveloped, lacking in sustainable tension, overuse on CGI and comedy, and strands the talented actors with little to do. I heartily enjoyed the first chapter and that's why I'm feeling as let down as I am for Chapter Two. It's certainly not a bad movie. It still has enough slick technical craft and good acting to warrant a viewing if you're a fan of King's novel or the 2017 movie. Just be prepared for a longer, duller, and less satisfying concluding half that seems to be running on half the imagination. It might work well enough but it only makes me appreciate the charms of Chapter One even more. Nate's Grade: C+
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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