2017's It was a rarity in horror cinema: a film that truly cared about its characters and treated them as something more than cannon fodder. It: Chapter Two has the same affection for its leads, but its pacing is awkward and, like many sequels, it feels as if it is more of the same but with diminishing results.
Directed by Andy Muschietti, who also helmed the first installment, It: Chapter Two finds The Losers Club members reuniting in their late 30s as the evil clown/spirit Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) has returned to terrorize the small town of Derry, Maine. Once again, they must fight the demons of their past if they are to save themselves and the town's children.
There are a few effective scares scattered across the film. But, at 171 minutes (probably the longest mainstream horror film ever), the movie drags on for too long. In It, we got to know and like these characters. While they're still likable, It: Chapter Two does not have the same level of character development as there was in It (one of my favorite films of 2017). At least one subplot could have been jettisoned entirely.
It: Chapter Two is not bad, but it fails to recapture the magic of its predecessor.