Dune 2 (2024)

Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya in Dune 2. Warner Bros.

We liked Dune: Part One. Dropped in both theaters and on HBO Max during pandemic times, it didn’t get the unveiling it deserved, but Denis Villeneuve’s desert planet epic, based on the Frank Herbert novel, was nonetheless an assured, gorgeous achievement.

Dune: Part 2, however, is one of the most impressive movies we’ve ever seen. It has a pacing all its own, an understated certainty in its universe-building, and the best performance in the young careers of Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, two actors who, to be honest, we didn’t totally get until now. Dune 2 exposed the problem: their characters up until this point have been too small. They were made for bigger things.

Recent movies love to impose shaky, vague metaphors on modern political events, but Dune 2 does better — it recognizes a reality where justifications shift like the sands. You could deconstruct it for years, and we’re confident people will. And it looks and sounds and feels so overwhelming that you’ll feel like you’ve actually lived — and lost — on the planet Arrakis.

It’s the latest film on our list of movie sequels better than the original. And time will tell, but we also think it’s one of the greatest.

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