Does this movie float or sink? We’re going with: float. Despite its nearly three hour running time, this followup satisfies and delivers a spine-tingling good time. You’ll need to have watched the first movie to completely understand Chapter Two. Overall, the first movie is more enjoyable and repeatable. But mostly because Chapter Two works more like a continuation of the story and characters rather than a traditional sequel. Pennywise himself seems to have received less screen time compared to the first. It’s usually the other way around, but it works in favor of the story structure and the movie constructs itself.
A murder has occurred in the small town of Derry, and so the Losers Club is called upon to fulfill a blood oath taken from their childhood after their climactic battle with IT. The first act of the movie will be nostalgic to those who have grown up with the 1990 TV miniseries. But this is briskly wrapped up in order to get to the meat of the movie. The characters undergo their own path to finding their token to be used for a ritual to defeat It. The flashbacks serve a story and character-driven purpose. It’s not just here for the scares and to see the child actors back on screen. The kids go through scary moments with the clown that morphs into the adult versions struggling with their own obstacles. The flashbacks share an unavoidable fate the TV miniseries also encountered. Although the flashbacks can be scary, they are not as threatening because you know the child will have to survive in order to become adults.
Some may have concerns about the flashback sequences not appearing or mentioned from the first movie. Things like an underground clubhouse never appeared before. Well, the adults said themselves, upon returning to Derry, their memories seem to be restoring. So the audience follows the perspective of the characters rediscovering lost memories and experiences.
The transitions between the back and forth timeframes were handled visually and intriguingly well. Keeps everyone on their toes and pay attention. This may get old for those trying to figure out when in time the characters are.
The entire cast performed wonderfully. Particularly, Bill Hader steals the movie with his cracker-jack portrayal of funny guy Richie. He and James Ransone as worrisome Eddie had strong chemistry throwing hilariously insults at one another. And they equally nailed their performances of their child counterparts.
Some may say this movie is not scary. The “true form” of IT may split audiences. On the hand, Pennywise mirrored the Scorpion King from The Mummy Returns (2001) and the villain in Wreck-It Ralph (2012), but it was still an enjoyable watch. Plus you get more Bill Skarsgard screen time. A personal favorite moment was the blending of decapitated head with a homage to John Carpenter’s “The Thing” (1982). It gave me a huge grin and received some excited exclamations from the audience. The two movies complement each other satisfactorily. Both feel like one cohesive story that can be immediately viewed back-to-back.