Dune 2 'like no other blockbuster', say critics

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Watch: Zendaya wears full metallic suit to Dune premiere

The second part of epic sci-fi film Dune has largely received rave reviews from critics.

The long-awaited sequel was originally set to premiere last autumn but was pushed back due to the actors' strike.

Starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, expectations for the second part of the story were high after the success of Dune: Part One in 2021.

The Independent awarded the new film five stars and said it was "like no other blockbuster in existence".

Critic Clarisse Loughrey added that the film was the "ultimate payoff to 2021's great gamble, when filmmaker Denis Villeneuve chose to adapt half of Frank Herbert's foundational sci-fi novel, with no guarantee a sequel would ever be made".

Dune: Part One garnered 10 Oscar nominations and earned more than $400m (£315m) globally at the box office.

David Fear from Rolling Stone said the almost three-hour-long second film is "what a true sci-fi epic looks like" and is "bigger, bolder and better than part one".

The film follows the journey of Paul Atreides (Chalamet) as he unites with his love interest Chani (Zendaya) and the Fremen desert people as they take on a huge enemy army.

In the sequel, Chalamet's character learns their special way of surviving on the barren desert planet while seeking revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family.

The Hollywood Reporter's review applauded Chalamet's performance and noted that he "sheds the boyish innocence of the first film for a darker, more complicated persona".

Esquire added that "now he's made the leap to battle-tested hero, Chalamet really lets it fly, summoning a more interesting performance".

The Guardian's four-star review praised Villeneuve's direction and said "it's impossible to imagine anyone doing it better".

The paper's critic Peter Bradshaw also complimented cinematographer Greig Fraser, production designer Patrice Vermette and composer Hans Zimmer's for "showing us an entire created world, a distinct and now unmistakable universe, which will probably be much imitated".

A four-star review from the FT said the film is an "XXL spectacle" with "epic aesthetics and human drama".

Empire's four-star review noted that "there are plenty of plates spinning - and for the most part, Villeneuve displays remarkable control over them all. Beyond that, he marshals staggering sequences to blow you to the back of your seat".

The second film has expanded its cast and welcomed Florence Pugh and Austin Butler, who Empire called the "MVP [most valuable player] of newcomers".

Butler was also mentioned in a review by BBC Culture. "In a cast stacked with an absurd number of contemporary cinema's finest actors, it's Butler who steals the show as a vampiric sadist with some of the strutting rock'n'roll sexiness that the actor had in Elvis," it said.

While most critics hailed the film as a triumph, IndieWire's David Ehrlich was less convinced and said the epic is "staggering to look at but agonizing to watch".

"The relative density of the drama that Villeneuve has packed into this movie is deflated by a similar uptick in the grandiosity of the spectacle that surrounds it," Ehrlich wrote.

Dune 2 is out in UK cinemas on 1 March.

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