Having watched the original IT, the second chapter really surprised me. The first chapter I felt was very repetitive, as scenes of each character were always stretched. But the second chapter was three hours long, and through its course, I was consistently attentive because the story was great. Here I will explain each element in the second chapter that made it such a great movie in relation to the first.
Many of the movies I’ve watched have always had a unique backstory to the protagonist which would ultimately set up the main conflict of the story. In IT Chapter Two, we see just that, as most would see the main conflict as the characters fighting Pennywise; however, there is another conflict that resides with all of them. For example, Beverly struggled with problems with her father in the past and now has an abusive husband, Bill lost Georgie and has a stuttering problem, etc.
All of their individual problems brought them together as a group, who call themselves the “Losers.” Having all their smaller conflicts developed them as characters which allowed us to see into them and see how they individually develop over time to eventually overcome their central conflict with Pennywise together. Moreover, Chapter One really helped as a stepping stone into the next movie, as it was a coming-of-age film which gave this movie a lot more meaning.
On top of giving a supernatural villain many cool superpowers and abilities, the consistent usage of character development also helps bring depth to the movie. It is clear that Pennywise feeds on the fear of people who are lonely, weak, and too afraid to go against it. He exploits those who have an internal struggle and uses it against them while also creating illusions to make them relive those moments they dread the most. The best example is the little girl during the baseball game; Pennywise exploited her while she trusted him to help her get rid of the mark that made her feel insecure.
The targets of Pennywise set up the type of villain he really is, his motive, and give the movie more depth and meaning than if he just attacked anyone on the street. Though for most of the movie, we only learn about Pennywise's backstory, and we finally get to see his strategies during the scenes where we revisit the abandoned house; he tends to separate them and haunt them using their past to make them feel guilt, like Bill when Georgie says it was his fault. We can then assume that Pennywise has probably been lonely and wants to instill that feeling in his victims.
Towards the end, we see our heroes chant, “Just a clown,” which gradually made Pennywise shrink smaller. This would confirm the assumption that Pennywise's intention is to isolate others and make them fear the things he went through in his past; the physical size of Pennywise growing larger, then shrinking, symbolizes the internal power he felt he had, because he was inflicting the things he felt on them, but when they started chanting insults about Pennywise being worthless and just a clown, they were exploiting Pennywise’s insecurities, which made him shrink. Pennywise’s character was very unique in the way that he didn’t have the weakness of strength that they can exploit physically. Pennywise was no doubt the more dominant out of any of them, but his emotional weakness and internal hatred was what caused his overall downfall.
Overall, IT Chapter Two told a very compelling story with the idea of togetherness and struggle where they found a way to work together. Throughout the film, it was clearly stated that they can only defeat Pennywise together, and despite the efforts of Pennywise to keep them isolated, they remained true to each other and this bond they had was what compensated for their physical inferiority. The final scene of Bill and Mike calling where they exchanged “I love you” was what kept them stronger and able to withstand the pressure from their own insecurities and conflicts outside of fighting Pennywise. It showed that they accepted themselves as “losers” and that they weren’t ashamed of themselves, but rather empowered when they had each other.
This movie surprised me a lot while watching it, especially after seeing the first chapter. The many references to the previous movies and the memories that keep coming back to haunt them was a very strong way of connecting the two movies. Many scenes and elements of the previous movie were revisited, and it was used very wisely to help tell the story for the second chapter. There may have been a few too many jump scares, but the movie was suspenseful throughout, the acting was nothing short of amazing, and the story kept me interested.
I’ll give IT Chapter 2 a solid 8.5/10.
Thanks to my friend Jonathan Sim for creating the images for the article.
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