Film review: Dune: Part Two

This story is gorgeously laid out with a feeling of hugeness throughout. The vastness of the desert is echoed in the imposing war machines, artistically grand architecture, massive explosions, and sheer “if we’re making them big, we may as well make them stupidly big” size of the sandworms (and, yes, the bigger they are, the funnier their bunghole-like ends become). All of it is underpinned by Hans Zimmer’s staggeringly dramatic and effective soundtrack.

The battle scenes are immense and tense as the might of ultra-tech meets the scrappy guerrilla tactics of the Fremen. These are matched, though, by the intense mano-a-mano fights, particularly when, as a birthday gift, Austin Butler spends five minutes as a gladiator, having a whale of a time turning off his body armour to best one opponent properly. Ditto his final showdown towards the end, and the fact that he just really likes killing people when opportunity knocks. Although when he flexes his superiority over fellow commander and cousin Glossu Rabban Harkonnen, you do wonder if, having done similar in Blade Runner 2049, Villeneuve just likes making films where Dave Bautista gets beaten up by good-looking lads.

He’s also managed to articulate not only the complex story of his source material, but also perfectly cast a depth of darkness and dread within it. Some of the characters’ conflict is up there with The Two Towers, as conspiracies are revealed and motives unmasked. His success in all this speaks not only to his deep knowledge of the book, having been obsessed since he was a teen, but actually having the ambition, mad or otherwise, that such a thing deserves and needs.

Verdict: 4/5

Dune: Part Two is released on March 1 via Warner Bros.