Stellar cast in ‘It Chapter Two’ saves film from poor screenplay and CGI effects

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Stellar cast in ‘It Chapter Two’ saves film from poor screenplay and CGI effects

Stephen King’s iconic fictional character Pennywise

Stephen King’s iconic fictional character Pennywise

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Stephen King’s iconic fictional character Pennywise

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Stephen King’s iconic fictional character Pennywise

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When Adrian and Don decided to spend a night together at the carnival, they had no idea a notorious killer clown had returned to the neighborhood, and their night was doomed to take a disturbing turn.

“It Chapter Two” begins with a couple playing games at the fair when a group of homophobic men make fun of them as they share a kiss. After Adrian gives them a stereotypically flamboyant response, he is dragged away by his boyfriend. As they leave the carnival, they are attacked by the same group of men.

The graphic scene shows the homophobes beating Adrian almost to death with Don standing helpless in the background. They throw Adrian over the side of a bridge into the river’s strong current below. Don desperately tries to find him, and although when he does, he fails to save Adrian from being dragged out of the water and consumed by Pennywise, the murderous clown.

The ending of the scene is impressive because it sets a chilling sense that Pennywise is back. However, the rest of the scene is strange due to the blatant homophobia shown not only in the attack against Adrian and Don, but also in how the couple is portrayed in an overly typecast manner.

This first kill depicts Pennywise as a lucky hunter, able to take down prey that is practically already dead. He’s not as powerful as he was previously, but he’s gaining back strength.

This is what causes the characters from the previous movie to return. Although the film shows the characters 27 years later in life, they essentially haven’t changed. Richie is still cracking jokes, Eddie is still a mama’s boy and Bev, the only female of the group, has traded an abusive father for an abusive husband.

Something the movie addresses is that when a character leaves Derry, they end up forgetting about Pennywise and their fear of him. Yet, Bill, who is as a movie writer on the set of a film looking eerily similar to the first “It” still seems to have some memory of the events. His wife, who plays the lead female role, looks eerily similar to Bev when she is covered in blood. It was confusing to see this and then be told they all forgot before Mike called and asked them to return home.

Fans that read the novel the films are based off of will enjoy this movie much more than those that didn’t. Without reading the book, viewers can be left confused as Pennywise is supposed to be some otherworldly powerful being filled with “dead lights.” The suspense this should create is lost due to the portrayal of Pennywise as a weak clown preying on children’s fears.

The movie relied heavily on making Pennywise CGI which also lessened how scary he is. The CGI does not fit in the scenes well, looking unbelievable against the plain backgrounds.

The first movie had moments full of dreadful suspense leading up to a few occasional jump-scares. The sequel was almost entirely reliant on jump-scares, which happen every few scenes.

The movie drags on longer than expected with an almost three-hour runtime. There were several scenes were it seemed as though the movie was going to end but then didn’t. Many parts could have been cut and the movie still would have kept its loose narrative.

The casting was what saved this film. Honestly, Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy could not give bad acting if they tried. Isaiah Mustafa carried many of the scenes, specifically the group shots, as the level headed and determined Mike.

Bill Hader stood out among the talented actors as a hilarious older Richie. Not only does he earn Richie’s nickname “Trashmouth” with his raunchy humor, but he is also able to excellently portray Richie’s fear of being outed as a gay man. Jay Ryan’s portrayal of Ben that was truly impressive. After a few jokes about how attractive he became after puberty, his character ends up being a strong fighter against Pennywise.

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