4 out of 5 stars (One of the best of the year)
Note: It Chapter 2 opens with a gory homophobic hate crime and contains scenes and discussion of suicide, domestic abuse, and alcoholism.
It Chapter 2 is the continuation of the 2017 smash It, a film which combined the coming-of-age and horror genres to near perfection. This time around, returning director Andy Muschietti and screenwriter Gary Dauberman deliver a flawed but fitting finale that undercuts some of its heart for a darker tone and bigger scares. It Chapter 2 is marred by an excessive length and repetitive midsection, but strong performances, scary creatures, and an emotional finish keep it afloat.
27 years ago, 7 kids from Derry, Maine defeated an evil entity that took the form of a clown (A terrifying Bill Skarsgard). Now grown adults (played perfectly by James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone, Jay Ryan, and Andy Bean), they must reunite to stop the monster once and for all, each dealing with the trauma of their previous encounter.
It Chapter 2 smartly mixes real-world and supernatural horrors while becoming progressively more fantastical. This runs 2 hours and 49 minutes, and 15-20 minutes of that are interesting but needless flashbacks. As such, those without a strong stomach, bladder, or suspension of disbelief need not enter here.
The cast is perfect and disappears into their characters, with Bills Hader and Skarsgard nearly stealing the show. Muschietti’s direction is strong throughout, but some story and character beats needed reworking. Despite a bloated length and uneven pacing, It Chapter 2 is a fitting finale that will leave fans floating with glee. Rewatch Part 1, and then See It Chapter 2.
Rated R for Disturbing Violent Content and Bloody Images Throughout, Pervasive Language, and Some Crude Sexual Material (Hader makes raunchy jokes).