Though humble peons will have to wait until September 6 to see the final installment of the smash hit Stephen King horror saga, a select group of film critics and lucky audiences have already been treated to an early screening of “It: Chapter Two.” While some say the follow-up to last year’s box-office sweeper pales in comparison to the first, calling it a “tough act to follow,” many praise the movie as “creepy,” and singled out Bill Hader’s performance as scene-stealing and Oscar worthy.
“It: Chapter 2” picks up 27 years after the events of the first movie. The story centers around the grown members of the Losers’ Club returning to their hometown of Derry, Maine, after It/Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård, returning to his breakout role) comes back stronger and crueler than ever. In addition to Hader in his scene-stealing role, “It: Chapter 2” also stars Jessica Chastain, Xavier Dolan, Jake Weary, and Jess Weixler.
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Managing editor of Fandango Erik Davis was particularly laudatory: “[‘It: Chapter Two’] is a terrific companion to [‘It: Chapter One’],” wrote Davis. “Similar vibes, great ensemble chemistry w/ a nice mix of humor and horror. Part 2 plays heavier in tone, dealing w/ defeating the burden of childhood trauma, & I definitely teared up at the very end. Bill Hader steals it[.]”
#ITChapterTwo is a terrific companion to #ITChapterOne. Similar vibes, great ensemble chemistry w/ a nice mix of humor and horror. Part 2 plays heavier in tone, dealing w/ defeating the burden of childhood trauma, & I definitely teared up at the very end. Bill Hader steals it pic.twitter.com/bjiwtJufNQ
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) August 21, 2019
Slash Film staff critic Chris Evangelista was less impressed. “[‘It: Chapter Two’] has a rushed, clumsy first act & an odd lack of chemistry among the adult Losers,” he wrote. “But it eventually finds its footing. This is a BIG movie—a go for broke horror blockbuster not afraid to make weird choices. Bill Hader steals the show.”
#ITChapter2 has a rushed, clumsy first act & an odd lack of chemistry among the adult Losers. But it eventually finds its footing. This is a BIG movie—a go for broke horror blockbuster not afraid to make weird choices. Bill Hader steals the show. #ITMovie #ITChapterTwo pic.twitter.com/cib2slRfoq
— Chris Evangelista (@cevangelista413) August 21, 2019
See more critical responses below.
#ITMovie Chapter Two can’t quite stick the landing nor live up to the high expectations set by Chapter One. Although marred by pacing issues & some shoddy CG, the film still has enough creepy set-pieces & solid performances to make for an effective albeit formulaic conclusion. pic.twitter.com/4TiIDdLiUJ
— Jim Vejvoda (@JimVejvoda) August 21, 2019
#ITChapterTwo is probably scarier than chapter one – more Pennywise imagery to haunt your dreams. But it also loses a lot of charm in the shift in focus from the coming of age to the now adult characters. At nearly 3 hours it feels long.
— Peter Sciretta (@slashfilm) August 21, 2019
So, #ITChapterTwo: it’s v. good, but not great. I liked it, but didn’t LOVE it. First movie is a tough act to follow. TWO is gruesome, strange but rarely scary. Nails important aspects from the book, but feels overlong. Cast is aces, though, & Bill Hader SHOULD be in Oscar convo. pic.twitter.com/1KUZk5TXA1
— Sean O’Connell (@Sean_OConnell) August 21, 2019
#ITChapter2 isn’t as refined as the first, but it’s still an excellent ensemble piece, oozing with heart & packed with extremely well-crafted set pieces. Muschietti weaves the young & adult Losers together super well, giving IT 2 a truly epic feel. (MVP: Bill Hader as Richie.) pic.twitter.com/7dXmIsd2z6
— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) August 21, 2019
#ITChapterTwo is big and ambitious and can’t *quite* handle the weight of its aspirations, but it’s still a fine piece of heartfelt horror. The parts that work, work REALLY well and Bill Hader is every-bit the scene-stealing standout we all hoped he’d be.
— Haleigh Foutch (@HaleighFoutch) August 21, 2019
Really enjoyed #ITChapterTwo which serves as the perfect bookend to Chapter One. Some great shocks and scares with the young and old cast. Bill Hader absolutely steals the movie, which balances heartfelt emotion with creepy jump scares galore. @joblocom
— Paul Shirey (@arcticninjapaul) August 21, 2019
#ItChapterTwo is a giant budget, studio-backed horror movie that’s also a fairly serious actors showcase/ensemble, with occasional flashes of brilliant imagery (like all the balloons cascading under the bridge). It’ll make more money than Warner Bros knows what to do with. pic.twitter.com/Noscq1X1j1
— Drew Taylor (@DrewTailored) August 21, 2019
I am not an IT expert but I get the sense, even in the book, IT’s powers/motivations aren’t always well defined. That vagueness works with the kids, but I wish this one had some basic rules? Because it feels like IT could kill any of these people at anytime and just doesn’t.
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) August 21, 2019
#ITChapterTwo is awesome. The adult cast is perfect and loved the way the film mixes in the old and new. I don’t want to say too much because most of you are going to see it. Congrats to everyone that worked on it for a job well done. pic.twitter.com/b8yFZe3FzU
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) August 21, 2019
So everything that’s awesome and imperfect in #ITChapterTwo comes straight from the novel. The horror in this one is way more brutal. A leaner adaptation would have solve the repetitive loop of the third act. Cast is great and the direction impressive. Very Good but not Great. pic.twitter.com/IHDntHprvQ
— Juan Upon A TIme in Hollywood (@juanmadpelicula) August 21, 2019