It Chapter 2 debuted Sept. 6, 2019.
The film made $323.3 million in less than two weeks which brought the value of the franchise to over $1 billion. However, the film received a lukewarm 62% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Unexpectedly, the film addressed many social issues. Within the first hour, subjects regarding hate crime, suicide, and domestic abuse were tackled, providing a far more political feel than the first movie. The opening scene showed a hateful attack against a gay couple, and while such content is deemed controversial, this was a scene straight from the novel. The scene was inspired by a murder that occurred in Stephen King’s hometown of Bangor, Maine in 1984.
The film also reflects the violent cycle of domestic abuse, as we see Beverly, now 27 years older, in a physically and sexually abusive relationship with her husband. This is a repeating theme as this type of behavior was mirrored in the relationship of Beverly’s parents.
Stanley, terrified of facing Pennywise again, committed suicide, and viewers are taken into the lives of his friends and family to explore the aftermath of his decision to end his life. This concept was well visualized and defined compared to other Hollywood films which have the tendency to glorify such sensitive issues.
Regarding the plot, many critics found the storyline to be slow and excessive in duration. While the first movie seemed to have perfect timing, the same could not be said for the second film.
As far as fear factor, many viewers found the sequel to be far scarier than the first remake. A departure from the gore and jump scares of its predecessor, Chapter 2 seemed to take cues from newer psychological thrillers like Hereditary (2018) and Us (2019).
“I feel like the sequel was a lot scarier than the first one. The first movie was very traditional horror movie, but the second movie felt more psychologically scary,” said Anna Crews, freshman. “Dealing with the “losers’” childhood trauma, losing friends, and having to grow up and deal with ‘It.’ I feel like It 2 was very personal which is why it was so frightening.”
The relationships among the members of the “Loser’s Club” in the film received positive reviews.
“I think the character development of the “Losers” was played out in a realistic and satisfying way, especially that of Richie, Eddie, and Bill,” said freshman Ryan Moss. “Bill coming to terms with what happened to Georgie was definitely a highlight for me, but Richie accepting how he feels about Eddie was great as well.”
It Chapter 2 is distinguished for its inclusion of social issues. Similar to the first film, it emphasizes anti-bullying efforts, and strength in the face of adversity as its own superpower. Although the Loser Club may have many of the same stressors as the previous film, their experiences helped them confront and overcome their childhood trauma.
As for the future of the franchise, Pennywise actor Bill Skarsgård has rumors buzzing about a third chapter, which would not be based off the book.