August 5, 2020
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‘It’ sequel chills, suffers from bloated runtime

By Isabel Vega
News Editor

Pennywise returns to terrorize the town of Derry (YouTube).

The return of the demonic — and at times hilarious — clown arrived in theaters on Sept. 6 with director Andrés Muschietti’s “It Chapter Two.” 

Whereas its predecessor focused on the characters as children, the new film deals with their adult versions, who must relive the horror they faced as nearly 30 years prior.

Picking up where 2017’s “It” left off, the sequel opens with the young protagonists — dubbed the “Losers Club” — in 1988. Beverly (Sophia Lillis) has a vision of the group coming face-to-face with Pennywise the Clown (Bill Skarsgard) as adults. 

The premonition becomes a reality 27 years later, as the friends honor their promise to destroy the clown if it comes back to their hometown of Derry, Maine. However, reuniting the adult Losers is difficult, since everyone but Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) has moved away.

Richie (Bill Hader) is a successful standup comedian, the stutter-free Bill (James McAvoy) is a writer who cannot deliver satisfying endings to his stories and Ben (Jay Ryan) is in shape and still secretly in love with Beverly (Jessica Chastain), who is now a fashion designer. James Ransone is instantly recognizable as Eddie, capturing the same anxious energy as the character’s younger version. Meanwhile, readers of Stephen King’s novel will anticipate how Stanley (Andy Bean), the quietest Loser, reacts to the clown’s return.

After Mike and Bill convince the Losers come back to Derry, the group reminisces on its childhood with a series of flashbacks, in which the young cast members from the predecessor return with their witty and comedic banter. The characters Eddie and Richie, past and present, engage in a series of humorous disagreements, proving nothing has changed between the two. 

In the first film, the Losers faced Pennywise alone. With the power of memory, the new film focuses on those individual moments, diving further into what caused the Losers’ despair.

The sequel also includes the return of adult Henry Bowers (Teach Grant), the Losers’ bully from childhood, who escapes from a psychiatric ward on the hunt for the Losers. Pennywise plays a part helping Bowers escape so he can antagonize the Losers, since he tormented them in their past. However, since they are now adults, Bowers has no effect on the group anymore. 

By the end of the film, the Losers relearn the values of love, friendship and bravery. They band together and stay by each other’s side even though they contemplated leaving early on.

The second film’s flashbacks were a bit unnecessary because they presented information audience already knows, had they seen the first movie. The sequel is disappointingly stapled with an unnecessary run time of almost three hours.

However, visually speaking, the scenes with Pennywise were so scary and detailed that you feel like you’re there with him. Pennywise’s face will make you crawl with fear, and seeing it shrivel up will make your spine tingle. 

Although “It Chapter Two” brings the Losers’ journey to a satisfying end and successfully creates new forms of monstrosity, as the film tries too hard to give the audience background on the Losers’ pasts. However, the nods to the source material and the campy creepiness of some of Pennywise’s scenes may enough for enjoyment.

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