Was IT any good? Well, yeah IT was pretty good. However, was IT 2 any good? Yeah, IT 2 was pretty good. I feel like you have to mention the first if you want to analyze the second. That’s the TL;DR. Keep reading to learn why IT 2 was pretty good, and just pretty good.
What did IT 2 succeed at? IT 2 remained true to its roots. The movie used Stephen King’s original cosmic explanation for Pennywise. Although it strays further from supernatural, it would’ve been a disservice to simplify and reduce the character to a boogieman. It maintained good structure… almost too good. Nearly every act was structured in a similarly parallel manner: we open with every character getting their own intro; showing how they grew up. Afterwards they all get their own sequence as they hunt for a personal artifact to jog their memory. Then everyone has their own personal endeavor while trying to finally bond together and defeat Pennywise. It worked well to keep each character separate and helped the movie keep pace-it doesn’t feel like three hours-but it almost seemed like they were contractually obligated to divy up the screen time equally. Furthermore, the movie bounced back and forth between ‘present day’ Derry and flashbacks. This helped maintain that Stranger Things-esque childish adventure vibe, and it helped further characterize the cast and provide backstory.
What made IT 2 just pretty good? The tone bounced around like a Mexican lima bean. Attempts at humour interjected into dramatic tension reduced the effectiveness of both the dramatic and comedic moments. But my biggest gripe was the lack of horror. The movie just really isn’t scary. To IT’s credit, it sure is disturbing. Many of the scenes and imagery were downright jarring and bordered on the grotesque, but they really didn’t do much in the way to scare me. The protagonists navigated twisted and sinister imagery while the audience typically laughed rather than gasped at the gross scenes onscreen. My final gripe would be the pacing of Ben and Bev’s arc. For the most part the movie had great pacing, but that entire arc was upsetting. From the get-go it’s made clear to the audience where things are headed, but the movie crawls painfully towards the actors realizing it themselves, and it just adds unneeded frustration.
Regardless of my critiques, I think the movie is worth seeing, a strong 7/10, especially if you enjoyed the first. The movie was rather similar to the first and they make for a great story from start to finish; all 316 minutes worth. But DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT see IT 2 if you didn’t catch the first one.