To be perfectly honest I’m kind of torn about this one. IT: Chapter 2 was a great movie for a lot of reasons, but there are reasons that it might have made people scratch their head and go ‘huh?’. Of course if you’ve never read the book, watched the miniseries, and if you didn’t watch the first movie you were bound to be all sorts of confused. But having done all that myself and many others were likely still wondering just what in the world happened at certain points and why we didn’t leave the theater feeling pumped about the ending or the fact that a lot of it turned out the way we expected. After all several key scenes were placed in the movie that were in the book, the ending was actually more satisfying than the book or the miniseries, and yet…it still feels as though there was something missing, some vital component that was almost there but faded away the moment the first expectation came upon it.
Alex McLevy from AV Club makes a good point that the movie dropped a few moments of comedy when it was least expected and kind of changed the tone of the movie in a way during a couple of scenes, which was hard to deal with since switching gears so quickly and then remembering it was a horror movie was a bit strange. Even Stephen King didn’t seem to do that in his books since the terror was pretty much constant and straightforward. But there were other moments as well that a lot of us probably can remember from the book and were possibly looking at in confusion as we wondered just how they’d made it into the movie. Don’t get me wrong, it was a thrill ride from start to finish, but with such a long run time and the fact that the movie was trying to stuff so much into the story in order to make sure that all the bases were covered, it simply felt rushed. Making another movie wouldn’t have been the answer since it was a full and engaging story, but it didn’t leave enough that would have made another movie possible or even watchable in my opinion. If you’ve ever read IT then you know very well that whatever was left out was a lot of back story and filler that King placed in the book so long ago, and would have made a third movie drag on in a way that would have ultimately killed the whole thing.
According to Gabe Cohn of The New York Times the movie actually dominated the box office this weekend at a whopping $91 million, but it still fell just short of the first movie, which is kind of easy to expect considering that sequels don’t always top their original movie. That being said though it wasn’t too much of a stretch to think that IT: Chapter 2 would push beyond any other movie since it’s been so highly anticipated. Whether it will keep moving forward in this manner is hard to say since as I’ve already mentioned there are a few head-scratching moments that make it almost stall and sputter here and there. Thankfully the action and terror makes up for it in a big way, but for the casual viewer that doesn’t have the extensive knowledge of the creature or even the Losers, there’s an idea that some people might have walked out of the theater wondering what they’d just seen.
John Orquiola of ScreenRant is another of many that has several questions to ask, and while some of them seem character-driven and entirely easy to answer from a personal perspective, there is one answer that acts as a giant deus ex machina that King used in the book quite extensively and branches off into just about anything and everything that goes on in Derry. The reason the town seems so lethargic and the people don’t respond in the way that one might expect is pretty simple, it’s why Henry and his buddies were allowed to hold Ben down while Henry cut him and two older individuals drove by without stopping. It’s why anything happens in the town in plain sight and no one does anything. Pennywise had the town on lock for a long, LONG time. Consider what the first movie showed us, and then the second movie confirmed, the thing behind the clown was ancient, having already arrived long before mankind, and had acclimated to the world in a big way before anyone ever came along to challenge it. In that manner the creature had power beyond anything that anyone had ever seen, and even the native peoples that encountered it couldn’t find a way to defeat it no matter how they tried. That might seem to deny the likelihood that a group of kids who believed they were stronger than the creature could defeat it, but with King the use of a deus ex machina is pretty much how he operates in certain situations, and for many a year we’ve all accepted it.
So was IT: Chapter 2 good or bad? Did it live up to the expectations? Well, yes and no, but mostly yes.