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‘It Chapter Two’ Is A Pandering And Patronizing Mess

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Upon seeing an autonomous skateboard emanating blood clatter down a stairway, one main character in “It Chapter Two” comforts a friend who thinks they ought to be running away. “This is Derry,” says James McAvoy’s Bill in an unusually plucky tone. “I’m kind of getting used to it.”

After putting up with nearly two hours of assorted jolts on par with the possessed skateboard, audience members will surely relate to Bill’s sentiment of not caring about “It’s” smoke and mirrors anymore. Unfortunately, for general horror fans and Stephen King devotees alike, “It Chapter Two” stands as yet more bungled proof of the unfeasibility of translating the author’s sprawling, cocaine-influenced novels to the screen. Whereas It the creature assumes the form of whatever its prey fears most, “It” the pop-culture phenomenon takes the form of whatever mass audiences and woke critics crave the most, manifesting most often as a mess.

The movie opens on a distressing and disconnected anti-gay beating that’s ripped without discernment from the earlier pages of the book. The grown-up timeline of the novel “It” was contemporaneous with the period in which King cranked it out, a time in which fatal violence against figures like Harvey Milk and Charlie Howard would occasionally ignite media outrage and puncture the illusion of American tranquility.

The film version of “It,” however, transposes the action three decades forward, both for convenience’s sake and ostensibly to ride the now tiresome wave of ’80s nostalgia, which peaked with the advent of “Stranger Things.” The change in setting and, by extension, social mores to 2016 results in an unbelievable and gratuitous cold open that merely accentuates the sensationalism and simplistic morality (hate bad, love good) already ingrained in King’s writing.

Subsequent to the attack on the nameless gay couple, which could be substituted for any other omen or just removed to save time, the movie segues into a repetitive cycle of........

© The Federalist