it chapter two film criticism Stephen King i.t.
Warner Bros / Brooke Palmer

The success of 2017’s IT was unprecedented. Given its positive critical reception and box office success, there was a lot riding on the sequel. As the body of reviews grows for It Chapter Two, opinions on the second half of Stephen King’s horror bestseller continue to reflect dissatisfaction with its bloated, lagging plot.

For some, Chapter Two is a “deeper, scarier, funnier” offering from director Andrés Muschietti. For the most part, however, the strange pacing, its two hours and 45 minutes runtime, and the shift in focus away from the childhood narrative towards the adult incarnation of the Losers contributed to an underwhelming finale.

Comedic performances from Bill Hader and more adult content were no doubt intended to build on the successful elements of the first while engaging a nostalgic adult audience, instead, it appears to have lost some of the magic of the original.

Read on for the full critic roundup and revisit the final trailer below.  It Chapter Two hits US theaters on September 6.

For some, the sequel delivered

“A psychologically merciless sequel, everything here is as it should be: deeper, scarier, funnier. Muschietti, in particular, has stepped up, skillfully guiding us through a rollicking funhouse. It is obscenely entertaining.”

Alex Godfrey, Empire

“the hype is justified: It: Chapter Two improves on its predecessor in nearly every way.”

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out

“Even more so than Finn Wolfhard did as a young Richie in Chapter One, Hader picks up the whole movie, puts it in his pocket, and walks away with it.”

Katie Rife, AV Club

It Chapter Two is a much grander project than the first film.”

Mike Ryan, UPROXX

Making it longer didn’t mean better

It Chapter Two is in many ways a victim of its own success, a sequel virtually assured a vast audience that proceeds to undermine its virtues by conspicuously overplaying them and overstaying its welcome..”

Brian Lowry, CNN

“The really scary thing is the runtime.”

Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

“This 2-hour-49-minute movie drags more than it jumps.”

AO Scott, New York Times

“Unlike the first movie, it is just so pointlessly long: approaching three hours, with our heroes finally beginning to assume a glassy-eyed solemnity like Hogwarts graduates or the Fellowship of the Ring.”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Really, the main problem with Chapter Two is that it goes on, and on, for so very long.”

Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“The series grows monotonous and fails to generate an escalating dread.”

John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

Neither did added star-power

“The new movie, set 27 years later, is much the same—only twice as crowded.”

K. Austin Collins, Vanity Fair

“It’s a whole lot less scary or fun the second time around.”

Kate Erbland, Indie Wire
Weekend Staff Writer

Isabelle is an Australian writer based in Berlin.