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DUNE: PART TWO Is An Epic Masterpiece That Combines Spectacle With A Complex Messiah Story

Dune: Part Two review focuses on the movie’s stellar cast, incredible story and even better execusion by direction Denis Villeneuve.

DUNE PART Two Review
Warner Bros.

Dune: Part Two continues the sci-fi adaptation established by Denis Villeneuve’s original Dune. The novel adaptation is not the first time the story has made its way to the big screen. But after Dune: Part Two, it’s become the definite version in my mind, with almost every aspect of the movie hitting so hard that it leaves you in awe. A masterpiece in every sense of the word. Read on for my Dune: Part Two review. 

Please note that the following Dune: Part Two review will be completely spoiler-free, however, may have minor spoilers for the first Dune

How Dune: Part Two Picks Up From The First Movie

Dune is Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi franchise, that began with one book and has spawned into a multimedia empire with sequels galore. Villeneuve’s Dune is not the first big-screen adaptation, with the controversial David Lynch movie being the first mainstream one. However, Villeneuve does the impossible by easing audiences into the world of the franchise with the first film, and immerses them in its story to completion with Dune: Part Two

The story picks up directly after the events of Dune, with Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet) the sole remaining survivor of House Atreides. Joining with the Fremen, he begins his journey for revenge. But at the same time, the political machinations of the Bene Gesseritt, via Paul’s mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) have more elaborate plans in mind. The film is a culmination of what I thought was all set up in the first Dune. Which is what didn’t work for me in the first film. But here, Villeneuve closes out the story bringing every plot thread to a satisfying and explosive conclusion. 

The Softer Side Within Dune: Part Two Caught Me Off Guard

The entire Dune franchise, and even visually what Villeneuve has set up from the first film, seems like an epic sci-fi masterpiece. Which it absolutely is that. But with Dune: Part Two, we see how it’s so much more than that. While set in a futuristic sci-fi world, the core story is essentially a revenge thriller; Paul is out to avenge the death of his father and House.

But along the way, he becomes entangled in the politics of this universe, religious fervor, and his destiny amongst it all. The prophecy of one rising up and being the messiah of the Fremen people adds a more abstract fantasy element to this sci-fi property. But how complex that turns out, and where it takes the story is truly captivating and thoroughly engaging. 

I was thrown off by how Dune: Part Two is also this epic love story full of some incredibly shot sequences that would feel out of place in any other movie about giant sandworms and hallucinogenic spice. But the chemistry between Chalamet and Zendaya lights up the screen. Their love story, along with the impact it has on the larger story is just one small subplot of the movie, that enhances and intensifies Paul’s journey so much more. 

Villenve’s Direction Has Style, Substance, And A Timeless Quality

I cannot end this Dune: Part Two review without discussing the more technical elements of the film. It’s shot beautifully, with steady cams, frantic zooms, and pans that really put audiences into the POV of these rebel Fremen fighting for their future within the sands and stones of a desert planet. The movie starts with his low-angle shot, as Paul and the Fremen crouch in a sand dune. The panning as perspective changes, remains low, creating an almost claustrophobic feel for audiences. But just enough to work within the scene, not enough to pull audiences out of it. 

Greig Fraser’s cinematography is gorgeous and astonishingly breathtaking. The establishing shots alone are works of art, but then when the story is added and the frame fills with characters, VFX, and music, it all becomes something so tangible and awe-inducing. There are frames from Dune: Part Two that could be murals or wall art, but will also carry the weight of the story behind them, even in a still frame. 

Not to mention the Hans Zimmer score that will leave you breathless, and in awe of what a collaborative medium filmmaking really is. A frame of film or note from the score will immerse you back in that world, at the moment you originally heard it, with all the emotional responses that come with it. 

Dune: Part Two Review Is Spoiler-Free

Dune: Part Two works as an epic conclusion to an introduction in the first Dune. Part Two works better as the conclusion, experiencing as one cohesive story rather than two parts of one whole. The criticisms of the first film become void if experienced one after the other. It’s a story of epic proportions told by an insanely talented filmmaker, who knows how to play every moment with the maximum impact on audiences. And the ability to pull career-nest performances from its insanely massive cast. 

Chalamet shines in a role that I think pulls him out of the coming-of-age films he’s made his career on. And into a more mature actor stepping into a new era of his career. Ferguson is sublime as the over-protective mother who is adding to her son’s legacy in her own problematic ways. Zendaya is intense and loving and has an amazing story arc of her own. Austin Butler impresses as Paul’s antagonist, Feyd Rautha, in a role that is as cerebral as it is physically demanding. Every performance in Dune: Part Two works, along with absolutely every other thing about it. 

Dune: Part Two is now playing in theatres. 

Grade: A+

What did you think of the sequel to Dune? Follow me on X (formerly Twitter) at @theshahshahid for more latest movie reviews. 

Dune: Part Two

Dune: Part Two

Follow the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, Paul endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.

Release Date: February 28, 2024

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Cast: Timothée Chalamet , Zendaya , Rebecca Ferguson

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