It has returned, and the Losers Club members have reunited to stop the killer once and for all. After a surprisingly fun horror film featuring a young cast, the sequel brings in older actors to face Pennywise the dancing clown, and they are just as fun to watch but overstay their welcome a bit.
The It movies succeed in their ambitious execution of Stephen King's wildly long book by splitting the story into two halves. This is most likely done because the TV adaption of the material did the same thing, but considering Hollywood enjoys milking a popular book for all its worth (Hunger Games, Twilight, Hobbit, Harry Potter, etc), it's refreshing to have a series end after two very memorable installments.
However, because King made the book gargantuan, the movie has a lot of story to tell, which results in a very long movie. Though fans may appreciate spending a lot with their beloved characters, it can feel rather overstuffed and exhausting to other audience members. In fact, this is where the movie's main problems occur. The director clearly wants to get in as many scares and as many weird visuals under three hours as much as possible, and it's admirable for the most part. It's a fun horror film overall, but there is a ton of fluff. For instance, there's a scene that involves a little girl meeting Pennywise. Is it creepy and freaks you out a bit? Yes, but it's not necessary for the story. There are also a lot of flashback scenes that tell more stories for the characters, but some of them could have been taken out. There's just too much fluff that hinders the story from effectively embracing its full emotional potential.
Speaking of those flashback scenes, another hinderance to the movie is its repetitive structure. Each character gets a flashback scene to their childhood. Then they get spooked, and finally they retrieve what they were looking for. It feels like a video game. Get a mission. Fight the boss. Get the reward. Rinse and repeat until you come to the final boss and win the game. The entire movie feels like this, and it's not terrible. It just gets boring after the first couple of times because you know what to expect.
Despite the overabundance of scenes and an unnecessary long runtime, the movie is a lot of fun, filled with some absolutely twisted imagery and freakishly hideous monstrosities. It almost makes me want this director to tackle the Silent Hill franchise...almost. The new cast does a wonderful job portraying older versions of the kids, and they manage to build off of each other, creating a chemistry that feels natural and fluid. I would love to see these actors reunite for another film because of how well they performed together. They helped convey the terror and also the lighthearted times full of laughter.
If you're a horror fan, you are pretty lucky. Not only did you get one of the best Stephen King adaptations of all time, you got two. With a delightful cast and an eery experience, you're in for a scary good time. Just make sure to use the bathroom beforehand.