First Dune 2 reactions call it a "magnum opus" that ups the action and politics alike with "incredible" performances from Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya

Dune 2
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The first reactions for Dune 2 are in and the sci-fi epic is being called director Denis Villeneuve's "magnum opus" - with special praise for the leading performances from Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya.

"Dune Part Two is jaw-dropping, breathtaking & wildly exhilarating," film critic Courtney Howard said. "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."

"Dune Part Two is not only Denis's magnum opus; it's the definitive sci-fi epic of a generation," FilmSpeak host Griffin Schiller wrote. "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!"

"Denis Villeneuve sticks the landing with Dune Part Two, a fascinating, terrifying character study told on a gloriously grand sci-fi scale," entertainment reporter Germain Lussier said. "Timothée Chalamet & Zendaya are INCREDIBLE in it, the set pieces are jaw-dropping, & the supporting cast elevates all the rest. It's great."

"Having watched Dune Part Two, I can say I have ridden a sandworm," CinemaBlend's Eric Eisenberg wrote. "It's a magical experience, and the faithful adaptation fans have been waiting for (albeit w/ some smart changes). A fascinating examination of zealotry & postcolonial politics wrapped in a breathtaking blockbuster."

"Blown away by Dune Part Two," Total Film's Jordan Farley exclaimed. "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."

"Arguably Denis Villeneuve’s magnum opus, Dune: Part Two is a masterpiece," GamesRadar+'s own Emily Murray said. "Throwing you right into the action, it is totally immersive, gripping, and ultimately devastating. Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya have never been better. Just truly remarkable filmmaking - I’m in awe."

Among the other early reactions to the Dune sequel is a certain Christopher Nolan. The Oppenheimer director called it an "incredibly exciting expansion" of the first movie, as well as comparing it to The Empire Strikes Back.

Despite the effusive response to the grandiose scale of the sequel, Villeneueve has already said we won't be seeing any Dune 2 deleted scenes.

"I’m a strong believer that when it’s not in the movie, it’s dead. I kill darlings, and it’s painful for me," Villeneuve told Collider. "Sometimes I remove shots and I say, 'I cannot believe I’m cutting this out.' I feel like a samurai opening my gut. It’s painful, so I cannot go back after that and create a Frankenstein and try to reanimate things that I killed. It’s too painful. 

"When it’s dead, it’s dead, and it’s dead for a reason. But yes, it is a painful project, but it is my job. The movie prevails. I’m very, I think, severe in the editing room. I’m not thinking about my ego, I’m thinking about the movie."

Dune 2, starring Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Austin Butler, and Florence Pugh, is set for release on March 1. For more on what's next, check out the movie release dates calendar and our guide to upcoming movies.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.

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