Opinion: “Dune: Part Two” is a must-watch

Plank Article Cooper Zarro '26

With the release of Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two” (Part Two), audiences across the world sighed a collective breath of relief. Somehow, the sequel to the 2021 film has managed to meet and surpass the near insurmountable weight of expectations it carried before its release. The sci-fi epic changed the world of film forever, and it will be talked about favorably for years to come.

“Dune: Part One” (Part One) was a massive success. Released on Oct. 22, 2021, the film won Oscars for film editing, cinematography, production design, original score, sound, and visual effects, as well as scoring nominations for best picture, adapted screenplay, costume design, and makeup and hairstyling. Needless to say, Part One set an incredibly high bar for Part Two to pass, but Part Two was able to clear it.

Part Two picks up where Part One left off; after the death of Leto Atreides (Oscar Isaac), Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and his mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) work together with the Fremen, the native tribes of Arrakis, to destroy the planet’s occupying force, House Harkonnen. As Paul navigates the perils of the desert, he struggles with being true to himself as he assumes his role as a leader in Fremen society. 

That description of Part Two is admittedly oversimplified, but there is no possible way to do the narrative justice in a single paragraph. Villeneuve somehow managed to take a book that has frequently been called “unadaptable” and adapt it into a duology of two amazing and accessible blockbusters. Both films are great in their own right, but Part Two improves upon the original in nearly every aspect, with more exciting visuals, more bombastic spectacle, and a much more fleshed-out narrative.

The film’s thematic weight is one of its strongest elements; Part Two explores the ideas of power, control, and ambition in an incredibly fascinating way.  Everything from the spectacular lead performances to the stellar  score by Hans Zimmer furthers this film’s theme of warning against messianic figures.

While the film certainly has depth, it isn’t lacking in breathtaking spectacle. Part One was already gorgeously shot, with many scenes conveying an absolutely astounding sense of scale. Part Two pulls off some fresh, unique visual ideas, all while maintaining the scale and stylistic qualities of Part One. 

One especially striking visual choice is the significant sections of this film that are shot in black and white. You might hear this and think that it would be a cheap trick – nothing more than a Snapchat filter applied to the footage in post-production. On the contrary, the black-and-white scenes are incredibly vivid; the blacks and whites pop off the screen, and the stark contrast between the two makes the scenes as interesting as the ones in color. 

Part Two’s cast does not disappoint. Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem all perfectly reprise their roles from Part One, and Austin Butler, Florence Pugh, and Christopher Walken serve as excellent new additions to the roster. There’s not much more to say about these actors other than to say that they all play their parts excellently, and elevate the film to a whole new level.

Lastly, one of the most gratifying parts of watching Part Two was realizing how many of my gripes with Part One had been resolved. One major criticism that I and many others shared with Part One is that it wasn’t a complete story; the plot and the characters’ arcs still needed to be concluded in a satisfying way. Now that I’ve seen that conclusion, I can safely say that the groundwork laid in the original did not go to waste. 

I highly recommend that everyone sees both Dune movies, but especially Part Two. Even if you had mixed feelings about the original, the improvements in the sequel make it a must-watch for anyone even remotely interested in film. Because of the thought-provoking narrative, standout visuals, and stellar acting, I’m giving this film a 10 out of 10. 

“Dune: Part Two” is available to purchase on VOD platforms, such as Amazon Prime or Apple, and will soon be available to stream on Max. “Dune: Part One” is available to stream on Max, Hulu, and is also available to rent or purchase on VOD platforms.