Dune: Part Two review: epic! Epic! Epic! This space opera can do no wrong

Dune: Part Two review: epic! Epic! Epic! This space opera can do no wrong

For the billions of science fiction freaks across planet Earth; the Timothée Chalamet fanatics; the Zendaya zealots – the tantalising wait is over. The second instalment of the Dune trilogy is probably 2024’s most anticipated film, but these are the only three words you need to hear: IT’S! EVEN! BETTER!

Yes, it deserves all those !!!s. While we’re at it, here’s another three: HARDER! FASTER! LOUDER! But not by throwing any old noise and shitty CGI at a blockbuster to make it more shouty, because Denis Villeneuve is a director who knows how to please a crowd while also satisfying the cleverati.

From the initial brutal skirmish, when attacking soldiers glide majestically through the air before their annihilated bodies smash to the ground with ear-splitting thuds, it’s clear Villeneuve has learnt how to out-Dune Dune. This is sharper, slicker, more resonant than the first installment.

The first film ended with nearly the entire House Atreides massacred by House Harkonnen and the Emperor of the Imperium’s forces on Arrakis, the desert planet rich in spice (the mineral key to mastering the universe). Paul (Chalamet) and his mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) are the sole surviving family members, and in Part Two they seek out Arrakis’s indigenous Fremen people (fierce warriors of whom Zendaya’s Chani is one) to form a revenge pact.

Worms (AP)
Worms (AP)

The ongoing plot is fiendishly complex, but the evil Harkonnen (led by a deliriously hideous Stellan Skarsgård’s Baron) are hellbent on exterminating the Fremen; the Emperor (hello Christopher Walken) has his own agenda; the shadowy women of the Bene Gesserit (Charlotte Rampling, Léa Seydoux and Florence Pugh, who’s also the Emperor’s daughter) are meddling with bloodlines. And then there’s the whole mystical mumbo jumbo about whether Chalamet is “The One”, a messiah come to save the Fremen.

New faces Pugh, Seydoux and Walken don’t make much of a mark. However, the introduction of Austin Butler as Skarsgård’s son is when your tongue will dangle to the floor in gob-gibbering awe. This is truly next level über-cinema.

The camera flips to silvery black and white as Butler’s monstrous sociopath enters a monolithic gladiatorial stadium (reminiscent of Hitler’s Berlin Olympics, but designed by a unimaginably talented team of fascist architects) for a touch of ritual slaughter. Utterly hairless and fabulously repellent, Butler will set back the cause of bald men by 100 years.

There’s more brilliance, way more (Hans Zimmer’s seat-rattling score, those sandworms!), and you don’t need to know the end because there isn’t one; Part Three is still to come – Zendaya’s eventual moment in the desert sun?

This is what they call in the business a rave review, and rightly so. Three words: EPIC! EPIC! EPIC!

166 mins, cert TBCDune: Part Two is in cinemas from March 1