In Defense of IT: Chapter Two

In Defense of IT: Chapter Two

I’ve heard so many mixed opinions on IT: Chapter Two.  I adored the first IT (not the Tim Curry one, the 2017 one), so I was super hesitant to even give Chapter Two a try, fearing that it would sour its predecessor in my mind.  I bit the bullet and watched it anyway, and now I am both confused and just a little angry with the internet.  Chapter Two was AMAZING.  How anyone could watch that movie and not think it was incredibly well done is beyond me.  It was thoughtful and well balanced and more than I even hoped it would be.  

**Beware: Mild spoilers ahead, because I didn’t know how to write this without referring to the ending.**

I loved IT as a novel.  And yet there were elements that I thought were overblown or clunky or eye-rollingly bad.  With a book that’s well over a thousand pages, I think a certain amount of eye-rolling is to be expected.  As much as I’ve come to adore King, the man could often use more editing.  I was so glad THAT scene wasn’t included in the 2017 movie, as was the rest of the world, I’m pretty sure.  I’ve heard people are upset about the treatment of a gay character at the beginning of the movie, but that scene came DIRECTLY from the book, and was actually toned down a good deal in the movie.  And there were certain things that weren’t included in Chapter Two that I thought were wise decisions.  I know there are people who disagree vehemently, but I really felt that every single decision was made very thoughtfully.  To me, the climactic battle at the end was made more meaningful due to the absence of some galactic deity on the side of good coming down to battle the evil spider clown.  Instead, it was just the group of kids grown up, facing fears that they had been battling their entire lives.  They’re reestablished the friendships that meant so much to them that one summer 27 years ago, and they’re determined to finish what they started.  I can get behind that far more than I could the random appearance of a space turtle.

Seriously, scariest clown EVER. Definitely the stuff of nightmares.

As I’ve mentioned a few times, I found Chapter Two incredibly thoughtful.  Every element was carefully and I would even say lovingly polished and added into the whole.  When watching the 2017 IT, I was blown away by the casting.  I’m even more impressed by the casting after having watched Chapter Two.  How the casting director was able to so perfectly match each adult to their childhood counterpart is baffling to me.  I’m completely amazed by each and every Loser, both child and adult.  Every single one of them is a phenomenal actor and completely embodied their character.  Among the adults, the actors who shone the most for me were James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Hader.  All three of them acted their butts off.  The changes that were made to Hader’s character, Richie, were so subtly, beautifully, masterfully handled.  I applaud him and the writers for making such a change feel absolutely natural.  And as he did in the 2017 film, Bill Skarsgård does an incredible job as Pennywise.  The dude is terrifying.

Bill, Bev, and Richie as their adult and childhood selves.

There were so many little nods made to fans of the book.  If you’re upset that Maturin doesn’t make an appearance, know that his name is utilized, and that a turtle figurine makes a quick cameo.  The whole “beep beep, Richie” thing that became so obnoxious in the book was only used a couple of times, and it was used very well.  An addition that I loved was the idea that McAvoy’s character, Bill, was a famous writer but people despise his endings.  Even King’s biggest fans will admit that the man doesn’t always stick the landing, so this was a really fun addition.  Speaking of, the King himself made an appearance!  How cool is that?!  But my favorite additions that were made had to be regarding the two major character deaths.  Both were given more power and meaning than they had in the book, and I found the changes beautiful and poignant.  

IT: Chapter Two was nearly perfect in my opinion.  I know that some people are disappointed with the changes made, and still more think that it wasn’t “scary enough.” Spider legs sprouted slowly from a disembodied head.  The freaky old lady from the trailer had three mouths, y’all.  THREE.  I thought it was plenty scary.  But the novel was less about straight up scaring the reader than digging into what is the root cause of our fear, and how we face those fears, and the power of friendships made on the cusp of adulthood, and how love in any form is something to be clung to and never given up.  Those were the themes that were the focus of the movie.  Just because there weren’t countless jump scares doesn’t mean that it wasn’t still a “scary” movie.  This is honestly my favorite movie I’ve seen this year apart from Endgame, and I don’t know how I can praise it any more highly than that.  If you’re putting off seeing this movie because it’s been getting such mixed reviews, please give it a chance.  This duology is a masterwork that I truly believe perfectly embodies one of King’s most famous works, and I think it will stand the test of times alongside The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption.

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