It's been a while, only three years I know but it feels way longer, since we have been able to go back to Arrakis. When we first visited in Denis Villeneuve's 2021 film Dune, it was a slow-burning and methodical adaptation of such epic scale that felt as if it was setting its pieces in place for this second part. Now that second part is here, Dune: Part Two is a sequel that brings a whole new feeling to the word epic.

Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) unites with Chani (Zendaya) and the Fremen while seeking revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the universe, he must prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.
With all introductions out of the way in the first part, it allows Dune: Part Two to get right into the swing of things. That is, after a brief recap of sorts and introduction from Florence Pugh's Princess Irulan. Part One felt a much calmer film to set things up while Part Two strives to be the more dominant force, a sequel that literally explodes onto the big screen, Denis Villeneuve delivering a sci-fi epic for the ages that fires on all cylinders cinematically. There's such depth to the film's writing, themes such as prophecy and power explored in the narrative, and the characters going through such satisfying development to make this such a compelling sequel. Having not read the books, it's difficult to judge it against the novel however, it certainly feels as if Villeneuve wants to do it justice with both films so far.

As with the first film Part Two is visually flawless, Greig Fraser's cinematography emphasising the grand scale of Arrakis while also striking with intimate photography of hand-to-hand combat sequences that will have you on the edge of your seat. Joe Walker's editing assists those sequences in making you wince while also helping this hefty film flow so smoothly, time taken when needed yet not afraid to swiftly move on. It's a world that feels lived in too, which is important to the contest over Arrakis, a key component of the narrative. The visual effects seamlessly bring the impressive action sequences to life, breathtaking moments with sandworms captured so brilliantly. It's a loud film as well, Hans Zimmer's score accompanying the film in the most suitably loud manner - an isolated listen or two on the cards for sure as he delivers yet again.
Dune: Part Two has a mightily impressive ensemble cast at its disposal and not one of them puts a foot wrong here. Timothée Chalamet leads the film with such a commanding performance as Paul Atreides, the arc his character goes through nothing without Chalamet's charisma fully investing you. Zendaya impresses me more with every film, a much meatier role as Chani here than the first film (not hard) giving her the chance to showcase further just how great a talent she is.

Austin Butler, who even makes bald and no eyebrows look good, absolutely revels in playing the villainous Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, sent to take down Atreides once and for all. Butler is simply one of those captivating performers that you can't keep your eyes off and he's once again so watchable here. Florence Pugh, while not getting too much screen time, proves she has one of those rare qualities many actors look for, strong screen presence, while Javier Bardem is a surprise threat to steal the film as Stilgar, the leader of the Fremen tribe whose humour in the face of adversity brings such levity to the film at times.

Dune: Part Two is epic sci-fi filmmaking on a scale we haven't seen for a while, aping even the first film to become the first must see cinematic event of the year. Trust me, find the biggest screen with the best sound system and let this film blow you away.

Verdict: ★★★★★


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