Dune: Part Two Ending Explained: Be Careful Of Messiahs

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Written By Sedoso Feb

Herbert’s original “Dune” novel was many things. It was a meticulous exploration of how ecology impacts everything from flora and fauna to even culture. It was also a traditional hero’s journey of a young boy defeating an empire. But more than anything, “Dune” is a story about the dangers of messianic figures.

Denis Villeneuve’s film adaptation sadly ignores or rushes through many aspects of the “Dune” books — Mentats who? — but that also means “Dune: Part Two” has enough time to fully explore the horrors of Paul’s messianic turn and make them explicit. At no point does the movie try to make Muad’Dib a hero or even someone we should root for.

This is why Chani’s altered role is so effective in “Dune: Part Two.” Rather than a companion partner in battle, she’s Paul’s biggest critic throughout the movie. At every turn, she calls Paul out on the dangers of an outsider leading the Fremen and using them to wage war on people they don’t care about. By the end of the film, she is utterly horrified (as she should be).

As an anime fan, watching “Dune: Part Two” makes it hard not to think of “Attack on Titan” and Eren’s story (which also involves a protagonist trapped by his desire for revenge becoming a messianic figure, and then a monster). But where the anime played Eren’s morals ambiguously for a long while, allowing audiences to debate whether he was right or wrong until the end, “Dune: Part Two” avoids this by staying locked in Paul’s perspective and showing us his premonitions. We understand his struggle and his resistance to the path he’s taking because of his visions, so it hurts when he realizes what he’s set in motion. He may have won the battle, but at what cost?

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