While the 170 minute running time is a bit much, there’s much to love about the film. Everything looks and sounds simply gorgeous, the direction is sublime and any worries about the adult Losers are unfounded as the entire cast put on great performances.
Yes, Bill Hader does kill it as an adult Richie Tozier but the whole ensemble of James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean and of course, Bill Skarsgård all nail their characters.
But having said all that, It: Chapter Two makes some interesting creative decisions regarding what material to adapt and what to cut. The end result is, oddly enough for a film that’s nearly three hours long, a product that could’ve adapted more of the source material in order to better flesh out the story.
For all the attempts at streamlining the narrative, altering of parts of the novel resulted in a movie that occasionally made inefficient use of its runtime.
So without further ado, here are some of the notable subplots that have either been cut out or dramatically changed for the film, all would’ve enriched the film had they been fully adapted or left untouched.
Since we’re going to dive deep into all things It: Chapter Two, there will be SPOILERS from here on out.
It: Chapter Two cut character-heavy subplots involving Bill and Beverly’s spouses
We briefly see Bill’s wife, Audra, at the beginning, as well as Beverly getting into a physical altercation with her abusive husband, Tom. While this seemingly sets them up as important characters, Bill and Beverly’s spouses are never seen again in It: Chapter Two.
That’s a big shame as the novel has both Audra and Tom both make their way to Derry before ending up in the crosshairs of Pennywise, which adds an extra layer of dramatic tension.
Perhaps more importantly, the two spouses were a way to explore Bill and Beverly’s relationship, as well as an avenue to explore the character development of both characters in the 27 years they’ve been apart, particularly how Beverly overcomes her history of abuse.
In the end, all we got is a very shallow look at how Bill and Beverly’s initial attraction from It: Chapter One has evolved, how it’s affected their relationships as adults, and an undercooked conclusion in Beverly’s character arc where she leaves Tom for Ben (Tom is killed by Pennywise in the novel).
The importance of Derry in Pennywise’s cycle of violence is gone
While It: Chapter One and It: Chapter Two make constant references to Derry, the town’s importance in Pennywise’s cycle of violence is essentially gone.
Stephen King used Derry as a metaphor for what is wrong in American society and it is the hate projected by the town that feeds Pennywise. Lore-heavy stuff like the burning of an African American nightclub, the Black Spot in 1930, and the bashing of a gay couple in 1985 were all intrinsically tied to Pennywise’s large scope of evil. Just as how people’s fear fed It, so did the society of Derry.
While the films touch on these events briefly (the gay bashing opens It: Chapter Two), they hold far less weight and the attention is instead shifted towards the characters’ internal traumas.
This focus on an internal struggle rather than an all-encompassing external and internal fight, while quite interesting, ultimately diminishes Pennywise’s evil as depicted in the book. As terrifying as he/it is in the films, Pennywise is literally nothing more than a monster who feeds on evil and looks like a clown.
It: Chapter Two’s ending is quite different compared to the novel
The film’s ending sees the house in which the final battle against Pennywise takes place collapse and the Losers all say a quiet, sentimental farewell to each other and Derry as they finally move on from their shared ordeal.
By contrast, the novel concludes with Derry getting hit with the worst storm in the town’s history, signifying that Pennywise’s influence is finally dying. The Losers all leave and gradually forget about Derry, Pennywise and eventually each other.
This creative choice ties into the previous point about Derry. With the town no longer as important in the films, there was no need to destroy everything and a sentimental farewell was more befitting of It: Chapter One and It: Chapter Two’s central theme of childhood trauma. Plus it would’ve been super expensive and Warner Bros. aren’t about to spend an extra $50 million just to destroy a town. This isn’t a Superman film after all.
Whether it is the better conclusion depends on your mileage but it certainly would’ve been amazing to see Derry’s apocalyptic fate as depicted in the novel.