It: Chapter Two First Reactions: Epic, Brutal, and “scary AF,” But Does It Stick the Landing?

Social media reactions say Bill Hader steals the show as the older Losers Club faces off against IT in a creepy, ambitious, but overlong and less refined conclusion to the Stephen King saga.

by | August 20, 2019 | Comments

More than 30 years after publication, and more than 25 years following the first adaptation, Stephen King’s massive novel It was turned into the highest-grossing horror movie of all time — and with an 86% on the Tomatometer, it’s one of the best-reviewed releases in the genre, as well. It (now known as It: Chapter One) left its sequel with some pretty big shoes to fill — appropriate for a movie about a clown.

Can the highly anticipated It: Chapter Two satisfy sky-high expectations? According to many of the first reactions from critics and entertainment journalists on social media, not quite, though it makes a mighty – and scary – effort. For others, though, a set of excellent performances (particularly from Bill Hader), some genuinely creepy set pieces, and a mountain of ambition make the trip back to Derry worthwhile.

Here’s what critics are saying about It: Chapter Two:

Is this another great IT movie?

It: Chapter Two is awesome…Congrats to everyone that worked on it for a job well done.” – Steven Weintraub, Collider

“For the most part I likedIt: Chapter Two. First half is great.” – Mike Ryan, Uproxx

“It’s very good but not great. I liked it but didn’t LOVE it.” –Sean O’Connell, Cinema Blend

“The film is easily one of the biggest disappointments of the year.” – Ashley Menzel, We Live Entertainment

It: Chapter Two is a giant budget, studio-backed horror movie that’s also a fairly serious actors showcase/ensemble, with occasional flashes of brilliant imagery.” – Drew Taylor, The Playlist

“It’s very much a ‘part 2,’ as in it doesn’t stand on its own at all. In fact, the ideal way to view this would be back to back with the first film.” – Chris Evangelista,/Film

Does it successfully follow the first chapter?

It: Chapter Two isn’t as refined as the first, but it’s still an excellent ensemble piece, oozing with heart and packed with extremely well-crafted set pieces.” – Perri Nemiroff, Collider

“It definitely lives up to the hype of the first one by delivering memorable scares and incredible visuals.” – Dorian Parks, Geeks of Color

“First movie is a tough act to follow.” – Sean O’Connell, Cinema Blend

It: Chapter Two is a terrific companion to It: Chapter One. Similar vibes, great ensemble chemistry with a nice mix of humor and horror.” – Erik Davis, Fandango

It: Chapter Two is big and ambitious and can’t *quite* handle the weight of its aspirations, but it’s still a fine piece of heartfelt horror.” – Haleigh Foutch, Collider

It: Chapter Two doesn’t stick the landing.” – Clayton Davis,

It: Chapter Two can’t quite stick the landing nor live up to the high expectations set by Chapter One. “ – Jim Vejvoda, IGN Movies

It: Chapter Two
(Photo by © Warner Bros. Pictures)

What’s so different this time around?

“Part 2 plays heavier in tone, dealing with defeating the burden of childhood trauma.” – Erik Davis, Fandango

“It loses a lot of charm in the shift in focus from the coming of age to the now adult characters.” – Peter Sciretta, /Film

It: Chapter Two has a rushed, clumsy first act and an odd lack of chemistry among the adult Losers.” – Chris Evangelista, /Film

“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, Uproxx

“A dull and bloated mess that spends too much time rehashing things from the first film.” – Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment

Does it get better as it goes on?

“It eventually finds its footing. This is a BIG movie — a go for broke horror blockbuster not afraid to make weird choices.” – Chris Evangelista, /Film

“Second half isn’t as tight. And overall Chapter Two isn’t as tight as the first movie.” – Mike Ryan, Uproxx

Warner Bros. Pictures
(Photo by © Warner Bros. Pictures)

OK, OK, OK: But is it scary?

“It’s scary af.” – Dorian Parks, Geeks of Color

It: Chapter Two is probably scarier than chapter one — more Pennywise imagery to haunt your dreams.” – Peter Sciretta, /Film

“Is it scary? Not really. In fact, it seems more content to go for humor rather than horror. But there are a handful of genuinely nasty moments that you don’t usually get in big studio horror flicks.” – Chris Evangelista, /Film

Two is gruesome, strange but rarely scary.” – Sean O’Connell, Cinema Blend

“The film has enough creepy set-pieces…to make for an effective albeit formulaic conclusion.” – Jim Vejvoda, IGN Movies

“The horror in this one is way more brutal.” – Juanma Fernández-Paris, El Nuevo Dia

“The film ultimately lacks suspense and scares.” – Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment

Is it an emotional conclusion?

“It all concludes on a heartfelt note.” – Clayton Davis,

“I definitely teared up at the very end.” – Erik Davis, Fandango

Warner Bros. Pictures
(Photo by © Warner Bros. Pictures)

How is the new – adult – Losers Club?

“The new adult cast is stellar.” – Mike Ryan, Uproxx

“The cast is aces.” – Sean O’Connell, Cinema Blend

“The adult losers club’s chemistry was amazing.” – Dorian Parks, Geeks of Color

“The adult cast is perfect, and I loved the way the film mixes in the old and new.” – Steven Weintraub, Collider

“Muschietti weaves the young and adult Losers together super well, giving IT 2 a truly epic feel.” – Perri Nemiroff, Collider

Does anybody stand out?

“MVP: Bill Hader as Richie” – Perri Nemiroff, Collider

“Bill Hader steals the show.” – Chris Evangelista, /Film

“Bill Hader steals it.” – Erik Davis, Fandango

“Bill Hader is every-bit the scene-stealing standout we all hoped he’d be.” – Haleigh Foutch, Collider

“Bill Hader SHOULD be in Oscar convo.” – Sean O’Connell, Cinema Blend

“Bill Hader and Jessica Chastain steal the show.” – Clayton Davis,

“Bill Hader and James Ransone absolutely steal the show.” – Kate Gardner, The Mary Sue

Losers Club
(Photo by © Warner Bros. Pictures)

How is it as a Stephen King adaptation?

“This is one of the rare Stephen King adaptations that actually understands King’s voice and successfully translates it to the screen. It captures that unapologetic earnestness mixed with a kind of aw-shucks corniness that King does so well.” – Chris Evangelista, /Film

“Nails important aspects from the book.” – Sean O’Connell, Cinema Blend

“Everything that’s awesome and imperfect in It: Chapter Two comes straight from the novel. A leaner adaptation would have solved the repetitive loop of the third act.” – Juanma Fernández-Paris, El Nuevo Dia

So, it’s nearly three hours – is that too long?

“It feels overlong.” – Sean O’Connell, Cinema Blend

“At nearly three hours it feels long.” – Peter Sciretta, /Film

“A terrific first hour is bogged down by an unearned runtime.” – Clayton Davis,

Any final words, Georgie?

“It’ll make more money than Warner Bros knows what to do with.” – Drew Taylor, The Playlist

It: Chapter Two opens everywhere on September 6.


It Chapter Two (2019)

Adjusted Score: 79.165%
Critics Consensus: It: Chapter Two proves bigger doesn't always mean scarier for horror sequels, but a fine cast and faithful approach to the source material keep this follow-up afloat.
Synopsis: Evil resurfaces in Derry as director Andy Muschietti reunites the Losers Club in a return to where it all began... [More]
Directed By: Andy Muschietti

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