Many didn’t think that Stephen King’s huge magnum opus horror It could be translated to the big screen but director Andy Muschietti succeeded and then some with the huge hit 2017 adaptation.
However, fans quickly realised that this was only half of the novel itself - requiring a second instalment to continue the tale of the Loser’s Club and their battle with the embodiment of fear but as adults.
And so the gang returns with a second outing that jumps ahead 27 years to catch up with our favourites from the first film - with some in great places in their lives and others struggling to move past their demons.
Brought together by Mike (now Isaiah Mustafa) who remained in their hometown of Derry, the reluctant Losers face one final battle against Pennywise.
Do the adult cast of Losers manage to live up to their younger counterparts in It Chapter Two? Yes and no.
There are some obvious successes, namely Bill Hader as an adult Richie who is just as sardonic as ever but here hides hidden depths and inner sadness that is handled with subtlety and nuance. James Ransone is also a terrific sparring partner in the adult Eddie.
Sadly, the usually charismatic James McAvoy is a bit of a personality vacuum as Bill here, and the same can be said for the under-utilised Mustafa, with Mike used to dump exposition more than anything.
Of course, the real star of the show is Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise - providing that off-kilter balance of dark humour and generally terrifying malevolence.
The sad truth is that the Loser’s Club was always going to be much less charming as adults and they never live up to the child cast - who feature so heavily here in flashbacks that it seems clear that the makers of the film are aware of this too.
The charming style of the first film is there, with comedy, heart and that sense of dread only Pennywise can bring but the jump scares are still here in spade too.
Where the film is most horrifying is in its grim and more realistic nastiness - so harsh that many will be left uncomfortable with graphic scenes of suicide, domestic abuse, and homophobic hate crimes to keep you up at night.
The chief issue with It Chapter 2, however, is its overly long running time - which is already brutal in trimming down the source material - but is still nonetheless and long and occasionally repetitive adventure.
Despite this, the epic scale of the visual style, with wide shots of red balloons and nightmarish visions, along with penetrative sound design with a frenetic score means that the IMAX format is just what fans need to feel immersed in the world of Derry with the cold grasp of the encounters of Pennywise’s scenes feeing all the more intoxicating.
Ultimately, the chief strength of the film is that It Chapter 2 ensures that we are so emotionally invested in this regretful yet hopeful band of misfits who are determined to end an awful evil for good - and this is the real feat that fans will love.