As for the plot – well, if you’ve seen the trailer, you pretty much know it all. It’s been 27 years since The Losers Club seemingly beat Pennywise. Most of them have moved on to lead affluent, white-privilege existences – albeit plagued with issues. Beverly (Jessica Chastain) is married to an abusive douchebag. Bill (James McAvoy) is a stuttering screenwriter who can’t seem to get the ending right. Richie (Bill Hader) is a (somewhat) struggling comedian. Ben (Jay Ryan) lost his baby weight and walked off the cover of GQ, right onto this set. Eddie (James Ransone) is an insecure lil’ risk analyst. Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) is the only one who never left their hometown. When Pennywise comes back to haunt it, he calls everyone separately – in long, drawn-out sequences – and begs them to reunite and conquer the evil, once and for all.
“Pennywise’s mannerisms, the way he moves, the savagery behind his wonky eye…will stay with you after the credits (finally) roll.”
This, as I mentioned, is followed by a series of stringed-together sequences, wherein each of the characters faces their deepest fear, usually in the form of a heavily-pixelated, decapitated zombie head. Muschietti has a knack for mounting dread and some impressive visuals (e.g., Pennywise soaring through the blue sky on a bunch of crimson balloons), yet his payoffs tend to underwhelm. There’s a cameo by Stephen King, and Pennywise turns into a giant spider thing at the end, pointlessly chasing our heroes around in literal circles.
Despite frequent, extended flashbacks that leisurely fill in some redundant character info (as well as yet more invaluable screen time) not much is revealed about our gang that’s not surface-level. The impressive ensemble cast does its best with clunky lines of dialogue, but – aside from the two Bills, Skarsgård and Hader – they can’t evade stereotypes.
The fact that pretty much nothing makes sense renders the dull narrative that much more difficult to bear. So many questions arise regarding the laws established in this film’s universe, I frankly don’t even know where to start. So I won’t. At the end of the day, who cares. If it is, indeed, all about the clown, then this needlessly-convoluted, crude, nonsensical trip will join its predecessor at the top of the box-office, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. I, personally, have had my fill of clowns. The Joker better have some neat tricks up his sleeve.
"…There’s a cameo by Stephen King, and Pennywise turns into a giant spider thing at the end..."