Clouds of dust kicked up at people from what looks like huge cannons

“Dune: Part Two” is a sensory overload of epic proportions. In the highly anticipated sequel to 2021’s “Dune,” director Denis Villeneuve returns to the vast universe of Frank Herbert’s iconic sci-fi saga. It takes sharp storytelling clarity to explore the dangers of prophecy, religious fundamentalism, and how people are manipulated through narratives. Simultaneously, we’re treated to gladiator fights, giant worms, and other exciting thematic elements that never overshadow the central story. While some sci-fi films surrender to spectacle at the cost of story, Villeneuve does his best “Empire Strikes Back” impression and delivers a masterpiece that will have you dialed in.

The plot of “Part Two” picks up where the first film left off, following Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) as he seeks revenge for the destruction of his family — teaming up with Chani (Zendaya) and the Fremen to face the powers that control the spice on the harsh sandy climate of Arrakis.

Chalamet’s portrayal of a conflicted messiah figure is convincing, and his chemistry with Zendaya is authentic. Torn between love and the universe’s fate, Paul must navigate a future only he can see, grappling with the weight of his destiny on the galaxy’s future.

The first half of the story is all about Timothée Chalamet’s coming of age as Paul Atreides. A lot is going on, but once the narrative finds its footing, things get darker and more complex in the second half. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself holding your breath during a few climatic scenes.

Greig Fraser’s jaw-dropping visuals completely immerse us in the world of Arrakis. The awe-inspiring visuals and the exhilarating worm-riding scenes transported me right into the heart of the action. The spatial awareness captures both intimate moments and expansive scenes. Some shots evoke fascism, imperialism, and resistance.

The legendary Hans Zimmer’s score has the power to send electrifying vibrations through the speakers, turning every moment into an orchestral masterpiece and amplifying the emotional impact.

Austin Butler nails his role as a vicious, cold-hearted killer. I desperately wanted more of his character on screen. Some of the supporting characters feel one-dimensional due to the large number of moving parts. Christopher Walken feels miscast as the Emperor, who pulls the strings but doesn’t feel particularly threatening. Florence Pugh does the best with the limited material.

“Dune: Part Two” is a testament to Villeneuve’s talent as a filmmaker, proving that he is more than capable of bringing this novel to life. He seamlessly maintains the narrative’s complicated themes while delivering an extraordinary visual spectacle that genuinely makes us feel like we’ve been transported to another world. I’ll unapologetically use the most clichéd phrase, “Go see this on the biggest screen possible!”