In Dune 2, a messiah battles himself

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In Dune 2, a messiah battles himself

March 5, 2024 -

Timothee Chalamet attends the premiere of "Dune: Part Two" at Lincoln Center Plaza on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Timothee Chalamet attends the premiere of "Dune: Part Two" at Lincoln Center Plaza on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Timothee Chalamet attends the premiere of "Dune: Part Two" at Lincoln Center Plaza on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Dune 2 debuted this past weekend, pulling in a staggering $81.5 million domestically with another $93 million from international showings. The sequel to 2021’s Dune benefitted greatly from the trend of seeing blockbuster films in IMAX and other premium large formats (PLF), with those pricier tickets comprising an estimated 48 percent of the movie’s domestic sales.

But while the amazing optics, action, and settings make the film a joy to watch, the story is what carries the movie and makes the nearly three-hour run time fly by.

Mark Legg did an excellent job of describing the plot, characters, and world of Dune in his review of the first movie, and that article is a great way to catch up or dive in to the basics of the story. Having that background in mind is important because Dune: Part Two—which covers the second half of Frank Herbert’s classic novel—picks up mostly where the first film leaves off.

Two paths, one destination?

While it’s difficult to describe the movie’s plot without giving too much away, one of the focal points of Part Two is the inner struggle felt by the film’s main character, Paul Atreides.

You see, Paul finds himself at the center of messianic prophecies started by the Bene Gesserit—a mystical sisterhood intent on gaining control of the Empire by pulling the strings of those in power. For hundreds of years, they’ve fostered stories of a coming savior called the Kwisatz Haderach, and many of the Fremen alongside whom Paul fights believe he is that savior.

As such, he is faced with the choice of resisting that title and attempting to lead through his own merit or embracing it and claiming authority by divine right.

I won’t go into which path he ultimately chooses—though since the book has been around for nearly sixty years, it’s not necessarily a secret. But there is an important parallel between his struggle and what God asks of each of us that is worth reflecting on today.

A choice each of us must make

While we are obviously not messianic figures like Paul Atreides, the battle between who it’s easy to be and who God has called us to be is a struggle to which we can all relate. And what often makes it particularly difficult is when both paths seem to lead to the same end.

Jesus, for example, faced just this choice when confronted by Satan in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11).

Whether it was experiencing and rising above human limitations, demonstrating that he is the Son of God, or gaining authority over all the kingdoms of the world, everything Satan offered was in keeping with an element of why he became human. To all appearances, it was an easier way to get to the same goal.

Yet Christ resisted because that path was not the one the Father had called him to take. Instead, he chose a road that led to abandonment, disbelief, and the cross. However, it was also the road that opened the doors of salvation to each of us.

Again, you and I are not the messiah, and the consequences of choosing the easy path over God’s path are not the same as what Christ faced in the desert. But all of us have a version of ourselves that comes easy and a better version that requires more work. And we should never take for granted that there are very real consequences for choosing the wrong road.

C. S. Lewis once wrote, “Whatever you do, He will make good of it. But not the good He had prepared for you if you had obeyed Him. That is lost forever.”

So which path will you choose today?

The one that requires God’s redemption or the one that embraces the good he wants to give?

The latter will likely prove more difficult, but it’s worth it in the end.

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