“Mike! How long has it been?” says Stanley Uris (Andy Bean), answering the phone and recognizing an old friend. “Twenty-seven years,” says Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa). “Have you called all the others?” asks Stanley. “Not yet,” Mike says. “How soon can you get here?” That’s the setup for “It: Chapter Two,” sequel to “It” (2017), in which terrifying, shape-shifting monster clown, “Pennywise” (again, Bill Skarsgard) made his appearance in small town, Derry, Maine. That was in 1989, when Mike and his six friends were school kids, and promised each other by blood-oath to return if Pennywise ever surfaced from the sewers again. It’s 2016, and he has.
Can longtime friends defeat Pennywise, more terrifying than ever? Does Mike’s “Ritual of Truth” rob Pennywise of his evil powers? Will you be entertained by “It: Chapter Two”? I was — most of the time.
Mike Hanlon, well-played by Isaiah Mustafa, recruits and leads former members of the self-dubbed “Losers Club.” Here are the five who return to Derry: unhappily married Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain), stand-up comic — with issues — Richie Tozier (Bill Hader), Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransome), who worries a lot, novelist Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy), and Ben Manscom, who was a fat kid with a crush on Bev, played by grown-up, rugged and handsome, Jay Ryan. Mike stayed in Derry, becoming the town’s librarian and unofficial historian. Bill Skarsgard, from “It” (2017), is demonic Pennywise, who morphs into half-a-dozen special-effects, CGI monsters, good for jump-scares.
Others in the cast include young actors who, in multiple flashbacks, play the 1989 Losers-Club members: Jaeden Martell (Bill), Wyatt Oleff (Stanley), Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie), Finn Wolfhard (Richie), Chosen Jacobs (Mike), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben) and, as young Beverly, Sophia Lillis.
“It: Chapter Two,” directed by Andy Muschietti, screenplay by Gary Dauberman (from Stephen King’s novel — watch for his funny cameo), divides into three acts. Act 1 (30 minutes) introduces adult “Losers” — except Stanley, a Derry no-show. Act 2 (60 minutes) tracks them, individually, searching for childhood “artifacts” needed for Mike’s “Ritual of Truth.” As they search, each encounters Pennywise in a different, monstrous form. Overall, lots of jump-scares here, but not much else. Act 3 (also 60 minutes) is the final, over-long pursuit of Pennywise deep into Derry’s sewers.
Rated R for disturbing, violent content, bloody images, pervasive language and crude sexual material, “It: Chapter Two” runs 169 minutes. It’s almost 3 hours and, mostly, scare-free. You could miss “It.”
Hours-long sequel, endless plot —
Should you see “It”? Should you not?
It’s episodic “Chapter Two” —
Have you something else to do?