Dune Part 2 Reviews: Critics Share Strong First Reactions

By Jennifer McDonough Posted:
Dune, Timothée Chalamet

Critics took to social media to share their reactions and reviews for Warner Bros.’ fast-approaching Dune: Part Two.

The excitement among fans for Dune: Part Two has reached a fever pitch. The sequel will see the return of much of the cast from Denis Villeneuve‘s first Dune film in 2021 including Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides. Also featured are stars like Florence Pugh and Christopher Walken.

First Reactions to Dune: Part 2 Revealed Online

Florence Pugh in Dune Part 2
Warner Bros.

Even though Dune: Part Two doesn’t hit theaters until March, early reactions from critics surfaced online as the film’s world premiere was held on February 15.

Karl Delossantos of The New York Times hailed the film as “a masterpiece:”

“‘DUNE: Part Two’ is a masterpiece. Maybe one of the best space films ever. Besides being the most visually impressive movie I've seen—an assault on all the senses—it's an riveting political thriller & character study. The cast is great but Rebecca Ferguson & Austin Butler steal it.”

In the opinion of Total Film’s Emily Murray, Dune: Part Two is “Villeneuve’s magnum opus” and commended Chalamet and Zendaya in particular:

“Arguably Denis Villeneuve’s magnum opus, #DunePartTwo is a masterpiece. Throwing you right into the action, it is totally immersive, gripping, and ultimately devastating. Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya have never been better.”

The magnum opus remark is echoed in Griffin Schiller’s (of The Playlist) reaction, who also called the film the “definitive sci-fi epic of a generation:”

“#DunePartTwo is not only Denis's magnum opus; it's the definitive sci-fi epic of a generation. A tragic tale of blind fanaticism & corruption. A spectacular, soulful, awe-inspiring masterclass of aesthetics & mood beautifully echoing Paul's turbulent journey. Left me speechless!”

Jordan Farley of Total Film was “blown away” by the sequel and drew comparisons to the Lord of the Rings movies:

“Blown away by #DunePartTwo. Found it even more immersive, tactile and emotional than Part One. The clarity, heft and scale of the action is staggering. For me, the whole occupies a rarified place alongside ‘The Lord of the Rings’ as the definitive version of a seminal text.”

Farley added that Dune: Part Two has “proper meat on the bone” as far as blockbusters go:

“It’s a too-rare blockbuster with proper meat on the bone - practically a satire of religious fanaticism at points, with a telepathic talking foetus. Timmy’s best performance, I’d have followed him into battle atop a sandworm myself.”

The New York TimesAlissa Wilkinson remarked on the lasting impact the movie had on her: 

“Denis Villeneuve does something so visually wild with ‘DUNE: PART TWO’ that I've been thinking about it for days“

She added another post, pleading for more big-budget films of high visual quality:

“expensive movies that LOOK GOOD! bring 'em back! more of those!”

Courtney Howard from Variety called Dune: Part Two “wildly exhilarating:”

“#DunePartTwo/ #Dune2 is jaw-dropping, breathtaking & wildly exhilarating. It’s an adrenaline rush to the head & heart, soaring in its spectacle-driven action sequences as much as it sings in its refined, evocative stillness. Timothée Chalamet & Zendaya turn in singular work.”

Howard additionally praised the acting work of Florence Pugh, Austin Butler, and Dave Bautista:

“Austin Butler is absolutely transformative, captivating & seductively evil. Yet another compelling performance from Dave Bautista. Rebecca Ferguson tears up the screen, rising to commanding power. Florence Pugh turns in career best work.”

Moviefone critic Wendy Lee Szany noted that her high expectations for the movie were surpassed:

“#DunePartTwo is one of my most anticipated movies of 2024. It exceeded my expectation. A masterpiece! Sound design and cinematography is incredible. I can’t get over how talented Timothee Chalamet is. The action sequences are epic and loud. Must be experienced in the theaters.”

The Daily Chela’s Rosa Parra complimented the “rich mythology, acting & story:”

“#Dune2 is an epic masterful cinematic experience. It's visceral, palpable & must be seen on the biggest screen possible. Watched it a few days ago and I'm still riding the high of that experience. The rich mythology, acting & story are all elevated by the visuals & sound design.”

Parra even went as far as to label Dune: Part Two “a perfect film:”

“Dare I say it's a perfect film. Better than the first one. All the character build-up, storyline, & worldbuilding massively pays off in the third act. A third act that left me speechless and in awe. Yeah, I loved it.”

Matt Neglia of Next Best Picture offered a lengthier take in which he called the film “a tour de force:”

“‘DUNE: PART TWO’ is an astonishing sci-fi epic that surpasses ‘Part One’ in every single way. Denis Villeneuve has realized his dream of adapting Frank Herbert’s masterwork to the big screen with the depth and scale it deserves in a tour de force we rarely see anymore.“

Neglia then said that Chalamet was “captivating” and Zendaya is “the heart of the movie:”

“Truly in awe of all its craft from top to bottom and the perfect cast who bring these characters to vivid life. Timothée Chalamet gives one of his most captivating performances to date, certainly his darkest. Zendaya is the heart of the movie, while Austin Butler relishes in playing pure psychotic evil. But the scariest performance of all might be Javier Bardem who perfectly captures the novel’s dangerous message of fundamentalism. Bring on Messiah!!!”

Lastly, Inverse’s Jeff Ewing listed Dune: Part Two’s “beautiful action sequences and high-stakes drama” among its many accomplishments:

“‘DUNE: PART TWO’ was majestic. Extremely immersive, bold, wonderful look into the life of the Fremen, full of beautiful action sequences and high-stakes drama that The Bard would love. Chalamet comes into his own here and Zendaya and Pugh kill it.”

Dune: Part Two has some big cinematic shoes to fill as its predecessor was extremely well-liked, carrying a critics’ score of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes

But if these pre-release reactions are anything to go by, this sequel will surely be a crowd-pleaser and a worthy continuation of the legendary world originally created by Dune author Frank Herbert.

Dune: Part Two comes to theaters on Friday, March 1.

- In This Article: Dune: Part 2
Release Date
March 01, 2024
Rebecca Ferguson
Timothée Chalamet
- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.