The highly anticipated follow up to 2017’s “It” finally came out at the beginning of September. “It Chapter Two” premiered to mixed reviews by critics. While whether or not the film was a perfect horror movie is up for debate, “It Chapter Two” did actually end on a rather high note. Intentional or not there is an unexpectedly positive lesson the movie tries to teach. Which is the idea that people oftentimes allow fear to influence their lives and once you learn to overcome those fears there’s nothing you can’t do.
“It” focused on the very tangible fears the members of losers club had as children. Beverly was afraid of her abusive father, Eddie was afraid of a the leper, and there is of course the actual monster that is Pennywise. All of those fears are tangible, they have physical form. The second film does deal with very real and physical consequences, it’s the fears that are different. By definition tangible means “capable of being perceived especially by the sense of touch” or “substantially real”. As children the losers can physically manifest their fears, which is something Pennywise uses against them. He’s able to attach himself to their worst nightmares and bring them to life.
Intangible fear is a little different. Intangible means “unable to be touched or grasped; not having physical presence”. Basically the opposite of tangible. What sets apart the two films is that the fears the losers had as children grew to be something beyond a physical form, making them all the more insidious. Towards the end of the movie the group of friends are separated, forced to come face to face with what they fear.
These fears aren’t actual monsters, they’re not evil dolls or rotting corpses. They’re fears each one of the losers holds within themselves that they control and they give power to.
As a child the ghost of Georgie haunted Bill but now as an adult it’s not his actual ghost, it’s his death that haunts him. Bill blames himself for his death, believing that had he just gone outside to play with Georgie he never would have died. That’s manifested throughout the film. Earlier on when he tries desperately to save a young boy he doesn’t even know from Pennywise. When the young boy appears to die he blames himself again, although it’s left open to whether or not that little boy even existed or if Pennywise conjured him up.
When seperated from the group Bill comes face to face with his younger self, who articulates the guilt Bill has about Georgie’s death. It’s there that Bill realizes it wasn’t his fault, it was a tragic event that no one could have stopped from happening. Like many things in life there are accidents that just happen. After saying out loud that Bill no longer blames himself he’s able to come back to the group.
At the same time Beverly and Ben are locked in spaces where they are literally being buried alive by the things they fear the most. Beverly is thrown back into a bathroom stall where she’s taunted by old schoolyard bullies and eventually her father. Physically it is terrifying for her, she’s being drowned in gallons of blood. But it’s the voices outside of the stall that’s actually scaring her.
The apparition of her father appears and screams at her asking if she’s still his little girl. At this point in her life her father is dead, he is gone and unable to ever actually hurt her again. Despite him being dead his abuse still has power over her. Oftentimes victims of abuse give up hope that things can change or they’ll be able to find meet someone who isn’t an abuser. “It Chapter Two” shows that going through a traumatic childhood led to Beverly marrying an abusive husband.
For Ben he’s being buried alive in the clubhouse he built for all of them. While there aren’t ghosts of the past screaming at him him it’s Pennywise who chooses to taunt Ben. As a child Ben was overweight and generally a shy boy who struggled with confidence. As he’s being buried Pennywise says that despite how much he’s changed physically and no matter how successful he is Ben is still just “a fat boy”. Now this isn’t Pennywise’s opinion on him, Pennywise is a celestial being who probably doesn’t care to think about Ben. Rather the evil clown is voicing the own internalized hatred Ben has for himself.
When the audience is reintroduced to Ben he’s a seemingly successful architect, having no issue speaking up during an important business call. Once he’s back in Derry all of that goes out the window. He doesn’t speak up when Beverly believes Bill was the one who wrote her that note as children. Just like that he’s back to believing he’s “just a fat boy” despite being far from the child he once was.
Facing Your Fears
It’s only when Ben finally steps up and repeats the poem to Beverly again as they’re both being buried do they manage to escape. Beverly realizes that she does deserve love, and is very much capable of finding it. Ben is able to use his voice and come clean with his feelings.
What they feared are things a lot of people never actually deal with. Even if someone doesn’t have a traumatic childhood fear still infests everyone’s lives. The fear of not being good enough, the fear of never being successful, and of course the fear of never being loved are all things adults manifest into their lives.
Moving On From Fear
In the second film it’s realized that Pennywise doesn’t technically have a corporeal form, he is intangible. While the film doesn’t completely explain what It is, “It Chapter Two” manage to show that the monster is a being of light that takes on the form of people’s worst fears. In the first film this is never touched on, rather he’s seen as a shape shifting monster clown. The second film allows Pennywise to become a fear adults would better relate to.
Once making their way back to each other the losers remind themselves how Pennywise is bound to the limitations of whatever physical form he takes. In an attempt to make him small to chase them they’re trapped by him. Before It can strike Mike reminds the group there is more than one way to make something small. The losers then proceed to say Pennywise is nothing, that they aren’t afraid of him anymore and manage to turn him into a still beating heart, and crush it.