The real Losers Club: Has ‘It: Chapter Two’ failed already?
Whether you like it or not, Pennywise is coming for you – and everyone else – in It: Chapter Two. The sequel to 2017’s It takes on the Losers Club 27 years after the first film, picking up with the second half of Stephen King’s iconic novel. Director Andy Muschietti helms the sequel, with many of the kid Losers returning in flashbacks with their adult counterparts.
Horror fans young and old know the story of It, whether it’s through the book, the 1990 miniseries with Tim Curry as the terrifying clown, or the 2017 and 2019 remakes. Pennywise comes to town to terrify Derry, Maine and the band of kids have to defeat them not only as kids, but 27 years later as adults when Pennywise comes back to town.
Even before you count the cast, this film was looking like a hit. Horror has been climbing in the mainstream over recent years, and the first It is the highest growing horror film and R-rated film of all time, not adjusted for inflation. Plus, It is arguably one of the most iconic Stephen King stories, so there’s a large following for it (no pun intended).
After including some of the biggest names in child acting (Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things, Wyatt Oleff of Guardians of the Galaxy), the sequel picked up even bigger names to take on the adult Losers Club.
James McAvoy (X-men franchise, Split), Jessica Chastain (Interstellar, The Martian), Bill Hader (Trainwreck, Saturday Night Live), and Isaish Mustafa (Shadowhunters, the Old Spice guy before Terry Crews) are all on board to portray members of the Losers Club as adults.
With all of these pieces together, It: Chapter Two has to be a great movie, right? Wrong! According to some initial reactions, it’s a disappointment compared to its older brother. It: Chapter Two just had its Hollywood premiere on August 26th, so opinions on the film are flying higher than Pennywise’s red balloon.
It: Chapter Two’s scares aren’t there like they were in the first It
Creepy clowns, carnivals, shape-shifting old ladies: what more could you ask for based on the It: Chapter Two trailers? Apparently a lot, according to the critics. Sean O’Connell says the film is “gruesome, strange but rarely scary”. William Bibbiani echoes: “The jokes get in the way of the scares.”
It’s disappointing to hear about a film with one of the biggest horror icons of all time that the scares simply aren’t there. It’s understandable New Line Cinema and their partners wanted to do something different with the sequel, but it appears they took it too far.
It: Chapter Two focuses too much of the first film
The flashbacks scenes themselves in It: Chapter Two have been praised, but the ties from It feel excessive to critics. Scott Menzel felt It: Chapter Two “spends too much time rehashing things from the first film” while Heather Wixson agreed: It: Chapter Two “relies a bit too much on flashbacks”.
A big part of the second half of the It novel is how the relationship from the past and how that affects the adult Loser Club. But Pennywise is growing more powerful and there should be new plans on how to take him down.
The chemistry between It: Chapter Two’s adult Losers Club isn’t strong enough
It makes sense there would be some tension between the Losers Club, since the majority of them left Derry. But the child Losers Club still had great chemistry even if they were complete strangers. Chris Evangelista noted there’s “an odd lack of chemistry among the adult Losers” in It: Chapter Two.
Chris isn’t alone either. Peter Sciretta argues It: Chapter Two “loses a lot of charm in the shift in focus from the coming of age to the now adult characters”. One of the best parts of the original was the chemistry of these complete strangers coming together to take down Pennywise. Losing that chemistry would indeed be disappointing, especially with such a stellar cast.
Of course, not every review is negative. Mixed reviews praise certain aspects of It: Chapter Two, giving hope that there are some things to enjoy in the film. It: Chapter Two appears not to live up to its predecessor, but it’s not a complete disaster.
Bill Hader steals every It: Chapter Two scene he’s in
Probably every review will include a piece about how Bill Hader nails his role as adult Richie. Finn Wolfhard was campaigning from day one to get Hader to play Richie in part two, and now that It: Chapter Two is coming out, we’ll see him in action. Even more negative reviews like Evangelista’s can’t help but mention how “Bill Hader steals the show”.
Of course, some positive reviews compliment Hader as well. Haleigh Foutch sings Hader’s praises: “Bill Hader is every bit the scene-stealing standout we all hoped he’d be”. We wouldn’t be surprised if Hader’s name gets thrown around during the Oscar conversation later this year.
It: Chapter Two analyzes childhood trauma and friendship
Imagine a big part of your childhood consisted of being terrorized by a killer clown and nearly dying trying to defeat him – and 27 years later, you’re stuck doing the same exact thing. Even though other parts of the script may not have made the grade, Gary Dauberman’s script appears to tackle the discussion of childhood trauma well.
In this regard, Erik Davis felt “Part 2 plays heavier in tone, dealing with defeating the burden of childhood trauma”. Kate Gardner hasn’t been able to stop thinking about how the film tackles these topics. “It: Chapter Two is an amazing look at friendship and trauma.”
With a mixed bag of first reactions, we’ll have to wait and see how It: Chapter Two takes off. After It’s $120+ million debut, box office experts predict It: Chapter Two will debut between $110 million and $150 million.
Even if the reviews remain critical, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Warner Bros. walks away with more money than they know what to do with. (Kidding. Hollywood studios have never had trouble burning cash on crap.) You can find out for yourself if It: Chapter Two is worth it at your local theater on September 6th.