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Dune 2's Rotten Tomatoes Score Has Critics United

"Dune: Part Two" is another critical hit for director Denis Villeneuve. In 2021, the acclaimed Canadian director debuted "Dune," his long-awaited adaptation of Frank Herbert's seminal sci-fi novel. The film, which covers about half of Paul Atreides' (Timothée Chalamet) quest to liberate Arrakis, received significant praise and was a box office triumph, grossing over $400 million worldwide despite receiving a simultaneous streaming release. Now, Villeneuve and his team of creatives have returned to wrap up the young messiah's journey. 

Unsurprisingly, the filmmaker has done it again, with "Dune: Part Two" receiving near-unanimous raves. Xoop critic Reuben Baron is enamored with the picture, calling it a "thinking person's blockbuster that works equally effectively as the middle act of an epic tragedy and as top-notch popcorn entertainment." He is particularly enthusiastic about the film's action sequences and strong performances in his 9/10 review.

Most critics seem to agree with Baron's assessment, as "Dune: Part Two" currently boasts a 97% certified fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing. That number will likely fluctuate as more critics weigh in, but it boasts a higher mark than its predecessor, which has an 83% rating. For fans of the franchise, this is fantastic news. Audiences have patiently waited decades to see Herbert's lush, complex world receive a worthy adaptation, and they've finally got it. 

Critics say Dune: Part Two is a cinematic triumph

Overall, critics are immensely pleased with Denis Villeneuve's second Dune installment. Peter Howell of the Toronto Star encouraged viewers to see the film in IMAX. "The movie fairly throbs with conflicts and intrigues, all the more so if you see it on an IMAX screen with the deep bass of Hans Zimmer's majestic score rumbling through your body," they wrote in a perfect review. 

Other critics, like /Film reviewer Chris Evangelista, want to emphasize how monumental of a theatrical experience "Dune: Part Two" is. "It's a grand, overwhelming sensory experience," Evangelista wrote in their 7/10 review. "Villeneuve has a great grasp on scale, and everything here feels appropriately huge." Even CNN critic Brian Lowery emphasized how visually stunning the film is in a more mixed take. 

From a purely technical perspective, there's a lot to like in "Dune: Part Two." Clarisse Loughrey of The Independent discussed the film's evocative spectacle in a five-star review, writing, "There are moments in 'Dune: Part Two' that feel so audacious, they play out as if they were already etched onto the cinematic canon." She praised Villeneuve's ability to gracefully adapt Frank Herbert's vision, adding that the filmmaker has already "made his mark on sci-fi history." 

While several critics like "Dune: Part Two," others love the picture, calling it one of the best sci-fi films ever made. "It's a towering feat of sci-fi cinema that will put 'Dune: Part Two' in contention for the pantheon of greatest sequels ever," wrote Hoai-Tran Bui of Inverse.

Dune: Part Two has its fair share of issues

No movie is perfect, and "Dune: Part Two" is a perfect example. Even critics who adore it highlighted some issues. In a 4/5 review, Empire critic Ben Travis couldn't ignore how overwhelming the film is, calling it "almost epic to a fault." He adds that "Dune: Part Two" doesn't allow audiences to breathe, writing, "It reaches a terminal velocity of grandiosity, a critical massiveness — and just keeps going." 

On the other hand, Observer critic Dylan Roth believes the film loses considerable momentum as it churns through its nearly three-hour runtime. "The trouble comes any time the narrative escapes the confines of the planet Arrakis to take a broader view of galactic politics," they wrote, adding that some plot threads and character beats don't fully pack the punch one would expect. 

It should be noted that "Dune: Part Two" has some haters. David Ehrlich of IndieWire found the sequel difficult to watch, writing, "The pieces on this chess board are so big that we can hardly even tell when they're moving [...] it also leads to a shrug of an ending that suggests Villeneuve and his protagonist are equally at the mercy of their epic visions." Similar sentiments were echoed by The Hollywood Reporter critic Lovia Gyarkye, who says the film is "plagued by a nagging shallowness" when it tries to tackle its more intimate themes. 

"Dune: Part Two" lands in theaters on March 1, 2024.