It Chapter 2 Review: Highly Flawed but a lot of Fun.

3 and a half stars
When I started my blog two years ago, the first review I ever did was Andy Muschietti’s 2017 adaption of Stephen King’s It.
With Stephen King being one of my favourite authors, and It being one of my favourite novels, I was highly anticipating that first film.
I ended up loving It, giving the film a four and half star rating out of five.

It first movie.jpg
I loved the first It film as a fan of Stephen King’s novel.

So, I was naturally, highly anticipating the sequel, It: Chapter 2, which I just saw this morning.
And what did I think of it?
Well, my feelings are mixed.
I would say that I enjoyed the film, with it being a lot of fun at times, however, it is highly flawed.
I will start with the positives fist and the biggest praise I can give this move is that the acting is phenomenal, with all of the Losers club being perfectly cast.
It: Chapter 2 picks up 27 years after the first film with Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa) calling the other members of the Losers’ Club, including Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy), Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain), Richie Tozier (Bill Hader), Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone), and Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan), back to the town of Derry, Maine after the monstrous entity known as It resurfaces.
Bill Skarsgård does an amazing job playing the monstrous clown Pennywise, It’s favourite form, and this is most apparent in a scene where he lures a little girl in, showing how deviously manipulative It can be.
But it is with the Losers’ Club that the acting department really shines, with Bill Hader turning in the best performance as Richie.

Bill Hader.jpg
Bill Hader is by far the best actor in It: Chapter 2.

As well as being greatly performed, Richie also has a fantastic arc and provides a lot of the film’s laughs alongside Eddie.
There is even a cameo from Stephen King in the film, which is very well done.
Then there are the scares, a few of which got me but many did not.
This is okay, though, because, even though I was not as scared as when watching the first film, a lot of these scenes were very exciting.
It: Chapter 2 even managed to surprise me at times with one small storyline surrounding Bill trying to save one of It’s victims going in a direction I did not expect at all.
Sadly, this is where my praise for the film ends because it does have a lot of flaws that hold it back.
The biggest of these is easily the film’s runtime.
Coming in at 169 minutes, It: Chapter 2 is just too long.
The second act, especially, drags on for what feels like forever with so many formulaic scenes.
What is worse, it felt like these scenes should have been condensed in favor of other ones.
For example, Henry Bowers’ role is lessened to the point that I wondered why he was even in this movie.

Henry Bowers.jpg
I feel like more time should have been devoted to Henry Bowers instead of other scenes in the film’s repetitive middle act.

Then there is the humor.
I know I praised the comedy earlier but there is just too much of it.
It is incredibly jarring to see the characters experience a horrific moment in one scene and then be making “your mum” jokes in the next.
This culminates in an especially bizarre moment when “Angel of the Morning” plays in what is supposed to be a scary scene.
Plus, there is a pretty problematic idea that is brought up about Stanley Uris (Andy Bean) at the end of the film that I feel should have been left on the cutting room floor.
I get what they were going for with that scene but it definitely can be read in a way that sends a very bad message.
Not that anything will come of that message, but it is problematic nonetheless.
Overall, though, these issues did not ruin the film for me.
I still enjoyed It: Chapter 2 quite a bit.
The acting is fantastic, especially from Bill Hader, a lot of the jokes are hilarious, and many of the scenes are exciting and take unexpected turns.
There are just quite a few issues you need to prepare yourself for going in, the biggest being the runtime.
Still, I would recommend the film, especially to fans of King’s original novel.

Dark Phoenix Review: Not a Complete Dumpster Fire but still a Fire.

two stars
I was not anticipating Dark Phoenix. 
With the lackluster trailers, which spoil the film, and the numerous stories about production problems and reshoots, it seemed that the second attempt to adapt the X-Men’s Phoenix Saga was not going to work.
Sadly, this did prove to be the case because Dark Phoenix, directed by Simon Kinberg, is definitely one of the weakest X-Men films.
However, I will say that the movie is not as terrible as I thought it was going to be.
There are some redeeming qualities about it.
For starters, all of the actors do a good job with what they are given, especially Sophie Turner as Jean Grey.
I believe she could have done a fantastic job if the story had been good.

Jean Grey.jpg
Sophie Turner does a good job as the corrupted Jean Grey, and could have been fantastic had the script made her more than a pawn. 

Then there is the action, which serves as some mindless entertainment.
Even though the final action sequence does have some atrocious CGI, it is still enjoyable to watch.
Dark Phoenix also starts out pretty promising.
For the first twenty minutes I was actually liking it.
Sure, it was not amazing or anything, but I felt like it would not be that bad.
And then the aliens showed up.
Lead by Jessica Chastain’s Vuk, these discount Skrulls should not have been in the movie.
Not only are they boring and uninteresting but the main threat of this story should have been Jean.
One of the big reasons many people find the Phoenix storyline so engaging is because the X-Men are forced to fight one of their own.
Yet, somehow, both this film, and The Last Stand, have Jean simply being a pawn for a bigger villain.

Jessica Chastain.jpg
The aliens should not have been in Dark Phoenix. People want to see the Phoenix Force being the main threat, not it being manipulated… again. 

I wish I could say these aliens are the only bad things about Dark Phoenix but they are not.
While I did like the opening twenty minutes, there is one thing I absolutely hated there that persisted for most of the film.
This being the absolute character assassination of Charles Xavier (James McAvoy).
He acts nothing like the Xavier from the previous films, coming across as a complete narcissist, even after one of his close friends dies.
I get this was a part of his character arc but it does not work at all, considering how unlikable he is during the first hour and a half.

Charles Xavier resident asshole.jpg
Did a Skrull take over Charles Xavier? Well, one might as well have because this is not the Xavier we saw in the other films. 

It is also obvious that there were reshoots done because sections the film feels different from the rest of it, creating a jumbled experience.
The cinematography is also just bland, with no interesting shots to speak of.
Dark Phoenix is a mess.
It has some redeeming qualities like the performances, a few decent action sequences, and the first twenty minutes.
Other than these features though, the film falls flat on its face.
There have been two attempts at adapting this story and both have failed.
Hopefully, the third time will be the charm if Marvel decides to reboot the X-Men franchise.
In any case Dark Phoenix is a forgettable film that ends the X-Men series on a less than memorable note.