I'm late to the party, but here's a Dune: Part Two review

Was it good enough to make me want to give away another 3 hours of my life as I sit there with my ass glued to a theater seat?

(L-r) TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET as Paul Atreides and ZENDAYA as Chani in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE: PART TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Niko Tavernise © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(L-r) TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET as Paul Atreides and ZENDAYA as Chani in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE: PART TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Niko Tavernise © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. /
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If you thought Denis Villeneuve had already taken us on a grand adventure with the first Dune, hold onto your sandworms because Dune: Part Two is here to blow. Your. Mind.

I would happily offer up another 3 hours of my pretty busy life for more Dune. Just saying.

It's massive, colossal, gigantic - throw any grandiose word at it, and it'll stick because this movie doesn't just aim to impress, it aims to astonish. And boy, does it do just that. I'm here to talk about the movie, the plot, and the ending, so I'll be nice and issue a nice little warning.

SPOILER WARNING IF YOU HAVEN'T WATCHED BOTH DUNE: PART ONE AND DUNE: PART TWO, AS I WILL GO INTO GREAT DETAIL AND SPOIL ALL THE THINGS.

Let's make it like a Fremen and breathe in this spice, shall we?

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AUSTIN BUTLER as Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE: PART TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Picking up right where we left off, with the Fremen dragging their feet but spirits high, we're thrown back into the sandy whirlwind of Arrakis faster than you can say "spice must flow." The stakes? Sky-high. The battles? More thrilling than a ride on a sandworm. And the humor? It's excellent and it's there, cutting through the tension like a crysknife through butter. Villeneuve isn't just telling a story here - he's crafting a masterpiece, blending high stakes, sensible and not over-the-top humor, and a critique of power and fanaticism into a cinematic banquet.

Our beloved characters are back, and they're more entangled in the dunes of destiny than ever. Paul Atreides, our gorgeous emo king, is on a journey that takes him from a nervous boy to a legit leader among the Fremen, promising vengeance. Alongside him, Rebecca Ferguson's Jessica becomes the religious icon we didn't know we needed, while Zendaya's Chani questions what a happy ending even looks like on a planet like Arrakis. Seriously, hats off to Ferguson's intense performance - she was one of the highlights of this cinematic adventure for me.

But it's not just the desert that's heating up. The interstellar politics, the whisper of religious fanaticism, and a cultural critique thick enough to slice are all adding layers to this tale making it more than just a battle for control of the spice. It questions leadership, culture, and the very nature of heroism.

Dune: Part Two is an absolute spectacle of visual and auditory artistry. I cannot praise this enough. Greig Fraser's cinematography is so breathtaking, you'll feel the heat of the Arrakis sun on your face. Hans Zimmer's score is a blessing as he continues to teach us how music can elevate a story, creating a sonic backdrop that's as integral as the sand dunes themselves. And the special effects? Let's just say they make the impossible look easy.

The performances are the cherry on top. Timothée Chalamet delivers an incredible, believable, and pure take on Paul that'll have you rethinking what it means to be a Chosen One. Zendaya and Ferguson add depth and intrigue with their chemistry feeling so real, while newcomers like Austin Butler as Feyd-Rautha chew the scenery in the best way possible. It's a cast that brings depth, humor, and a bit of sass to the sands of Arrakis.

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A scene from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE: PART TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Circling back to Butler's performance, damn. I had no idea Austin Butler was portraying the Baron's psychotic nephew. The absolute talent. If you've read my reviews and pieces before, I love bad guys. I love villains. They're intriguing, interesting, relatable, and they explore that dark side of us that we all have. His take on Feyd-Rautha was nothing short of absolute perfection. This is quite possibly the best performance he's ever given, which can also be screamed about my future son-in-law Timothée (my seven-year-old twins want to marry him after watching Wonka more times than I can count). Their performances were so rich and intense that I did not see them as actors - I legitimately saw them as different people, as their characters.

I have to admit that seeing Bill Murray in Quantumania gave me slight PTSD when it came to seeing well-known actors appear in movies and shows we'd least expect and... ruin it for us. I love the man, I have his autograph hanging on my wall, but I was not happy with him in that movie. It was immersion-breaking and quite unnecessary, much like the character he was tasked with playing. When I saw Christopher Walken cast as the Emperor, I admit I started to panic. I did not want to lose interest in the movie. I did not want my immersion broken. And I am beyond pleased to say that Mr. Walken was a huge relief to my PTSD. His performance was excellent, and the mask of the usual Walken character was not worn. He was very much a different character, and not there for slight comic relief. I am forever thankful for that, and I'm happy to see that there's hope in using famous or over-saturated actors in big roles that could be ruined by their own acting habits.

I am not the only one who has said that comparing Dune: Part Two to The Empire Strikes Back or The Lord of thee Rings: The Two Towers might give you a hint of its epic scale, but honestly, it's in a league of its own.

This is a movie that not only builds on its predecessor but expands the universe in ways that will have fans and newcomers alike clamoring for more. It's an experience, a behemoth of storytelling that proves blockbusters can be both massive and masterful.

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REBECCA FERGUSON as Lady Jessica in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE: PART TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

The ending of Dune: Part Two explained

If you thought this saga was just a thrilling desert ride with Timothée Chalamet’s dreamy eyes leading the way, brace yourselves for the plot twist of the century.

First up, our boy Paul Atreides, who is actually Baron Vladimir Harkonnen's grandson, does a political 180 and decides to marry Princess Irulan, the Emperor's daughter. He decided to tie the knot with the ever-so-glorious and my future wife Florence Pugh’s character, not for love, but for a power move that would make Machiavelli proud. This isn't just a shock to the system for fans of Paul and Chani's desert romance - it's a calculated play to secure his throne and please the Bene Gesserit witches and the galaxy’s political asshats.

Paul's basically saying, "Love is great, but have you tried intergalactic dominion?"

But Paul doesn’t stop there. He goes full Muad’Dib Unleashed and declares a holy war against the galaxy's nobility. Our hero (or is he?) decides to bring his Fremen warriors to the space party, and they're not coming to play nice. This is the dreaded future Paul’s been seeing in his visions, where he's not just the life of the party - he's the one flipping the table and setting the house on fire.

Now, why would our dreamy desert prince do such a thing? It's all about the bigger picture. If you haven't caught on yet, Dune is basically Game of Thrones in space.

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FLORENCE PUGH as Princess Irulan in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE: PART TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Marrying Irulan and unleashing the Fremen horde across the cosmos is Paul’s way of navigating through a galaxy-sized chess game. He’s trying to shake up the status quo, but in doing so, he’s also becoming what many fear: a dictator with a Messiah complex. The movie's message is extremely loud: be wary of charismatic leaders who promise the universe, because the cost might be more than you bargained for.

Is Paul the villain of his own story?

This debate rages on like a sandstorm on Arrakis. On one hand, you’ve got people cheering for Paul's ascendancy and his revolutionary fervor. On the other, there are those pointing out that maybe, just maybe, Herbert was trying to show us the dangers of following a charismatic leader into the abyss without question. I personally say he is not the villain. He's doing what he doesn't want to do, giving up a life with Chani, pleasing the Bene Gesserit witches (especially the really bitchy one) which also includes his own mother, and trying to break out of that Harkonnen blood-line curse of violent takeovers and being extremely pale and bald. He's already free of one curse, now it's time to break the other.

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TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET as Paul Atreides in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE: PART TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures © 2023 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

The ending of Dune: Part Two left me more than eager to sit for 3 more hours right then and there for more Dune and forced us to confront these questions head-on. Paul’s victory is incredibly bittersweet, with a taste that's more complex than a well-aged spice melange. His journey from a sympathetic hero to a potentially tyrannical ruler isn’t just a plot twist - it’s a cautionary tale about power, leadership, and the consequences of unchecked authority. Unless he's actually doing all of this for show as he clearly doesn't want those he loves and identifies with to suffer because of who he is and who he has to become because of some prophecy.

Dune is a saga that challenges us to think critically about our heroes and the paths they carve through the stars. Paul Atreides' journey is a stark reminder that the road to hell is often paved with good intentions, and sometimes, the hero of the story might just be its greatest cautionary figure.

The saga of Dune is far from over, and its lessons are as relevant as ever. I, for one, cannot see how this incredible adaptation unfolds even more in Part Three.

Official Bam Smack Pow score: A+. A clear 15 out of 10, and Camila's personal 2024 Movie of the Year.

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