“It: Chapter Two” (Warner Bros.)

Bill Hader, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, James Ransone, Isaiah Mustafa and Jay Ryan star in a scene from the movie "It: Chapter Two." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/Warner Bros.)

By Catholic News Service

Patience-trying follow-up to the 2017 adaptation of horror maven Stephen King’s novel jumps ahead almost three decades from the late-Eighties action of the original and unleashes the cyclically returning evil that has long beset the fictional town of Derry, New Hampshire. This becomes the cue for a reunion of the self-dubbed Losers Club (most prominently James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain and Bill Hader), a group who, as children, battled the malevolent force principally embodied — then and now — by a demonic clown (Bill Skarsgard).

Director Andy Muschietti and screenwriter Gary Dauberman, both returning to the posts they held for the first film, have little to show in the way of human interest since their characters are one-dimensional and even the nature of the friendship they share is unengaging, based as it is on a constant exchange of often raunchy insults. More significantly, though they keep the bloodletting within reasonable limits, a subplot romanticizing adulterous activity and a late sequence obliquely endorsing a character’s suicide as an act of courage morally bankrupt the seemingly endless, three-hour-long proceedings.

Skewed values, much gory violence, occult themes and activity, gruesome images, a flash of rear nudity, one same-sex and an adulterous kiss, about a half-dozen uses of profanity, a few milder oaths, pervasive rough and crude language. The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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