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“Dune: Part 2” Review


It was written for “Dune: Part Two” to hit cinemas, and to be loved like how Stilgar (Javier Bardem) loves Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet). If there’s one movie that you’ll see in theaters this year—make it “Dune: Part 2.” Director Denis Villeneuve follows his sprawling 2021 sci-fi epic with a sequel that improves upon the original in every way: a technical marvel that looks as good as it sounds while feeling more character-driven and focused. 

“Dune: Part 2” kicks off where its predecessor concluded, following Paul Atreides as he becomes one with the Fremen while seeking revenge on the Harkonnens. But he must confront the terrifying future he foresees, and seek to prevent the inevitable. While some returning stars from the original are Timotheè Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, and Javier Bardem, “Dune: Part Two” introduces newcomers such as Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, and Christopher Walken. 

This is the most exhilarating theater experience I’ve had since 2022’s “Top Gun: Maverick.” This film has everything the original has: immersive world-building and storytelling, a mesmerizing score from Hans Zimmer, gorgeous cinematography from Greig Fraser, jaw-dropping set pieces and action and stunning locations.

But this go-around, the character conflicts are far richer and more engaging. The external and internal discussions about Paul being the Messiah for the Fremen are fascinating, and give Paul reasons to both doubt himself and find confidence in his power and destiny. It also allows characters to take sides, like Chani (Zendaya), who doesn’t believe in the prophecy, or Lady Jessica (Ferguson) and Stilgar who base their entire faith in Paul. It makes the story feel more character-driven and allows the build-up to the inevitable fates of each character more impactful.  

What also helps to keep an audience in-tune is a great villain, and “Dune: Part Two” delivers just that. Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen is one of the most chilling antagonists in recent memory. He’s a perfect dark mirror to Paul Atreides: they’re both royal sons, but while Paul is humble and stoic, Feyd is ruthless and callous. Butler brings all that to the screen, continuing to act like the rent is due, and delivers an awe-inspiring performance. Villeneuve described Butler’s performance to “Empire” as “a cross between a psychopath killer, an Olympic sword master, a snake, and Mick Jagger.” 

It’s the goal of sequels to build on the original’s story while making it better. “Dune: Part Two” accomplishes both of those things to a profound degree. While also having a definitive ending, which the original did not. “Dune: Part Two” still had its slow moments like its predecessor, but all of the positives outweigh any negative I could possibly have on the film. 

I’m very curious to see how the “Dune” franchise is perceived once it’s a full trilogy and a complete story. Will it beat the “boring” allegations, or be renowned as a beautiful series of filmmaking? Time will only tell, but anybody would be lying if they denied the passion that’s been put into this incredible work of art. Villeneuve has a clear love for what Frank Herbert created with his “Dune” novels, and we’re seeing the truest adaptation of what those books can be.      

It’s been said that movies like “Ben-Hur” or “Gladiator” don’t exist anymore, but they do. Look no further than “Dune: Part Two.” It’s the kind of absorbing blockbuster that cinema has needed and one that deserves to be appreciated.

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