I actually agree with your entire post pretty much.seen it recently. first hour (i think? time loses all meaning watching this) i thought was pretty good. the rest dragged on and was not particularly interesting. the longer the running the worse it got.
certain parts deviating from the book weakened it substantially
- stan's letter at the end was pathetic and unnecessary
- each needing to find their own 'artifact' for some hokey horror-movie-cliché re-imagining of chüd
- it's true form was a spider-clown half and half?
- insulting it to death.. come on. i'm not saying the book would have been easy to portray in film but that sucked hairy leper balls
- bowers not being able to put hanlon in hospital rendered his character more or less useless
- don't need bill's bike anymore and his wife doesn't need to ride on it. strictly there as a nod to the book
- richie's suggested homosexuality comes as a piecemeal offering toward correcting the bashing at the start of the movie. there's no other reason for it to exist. mike staying out of hospital hints at the writers keeping one eye on the political climate while writing their movie.
- they could have reworked the book to have the losers coming into derry seperately and to go through their individual vignettes before banding together. this would create more linear character development, mirror their coming together somewhat as kids and build on the sense of growing older and human failings that the movie needs the adults to exhibit. kids are inherently vulnerable but it's harder to craft that when the adults have gone on to become successful, have forgotten how loser-y they were, and make jokes every 5 seconds.
the adults being forgetful was a story-writing asset they could have made better use of, instead of explaining it away as #derrythings. they needed to spend more time around the dinner table discussing some sort of misery that was in their lives as adults.