Every Dinosaur In Jurassic World Dominion, Ranked

Near the end of the "Jurassic World Dominion" trailer, unbuttoned shirt enthusiast Dr. Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum) encounters a 30,000-pound giganotosaurus and moans, "Bigger. Why do they always have to go bigger?" 

He might as well be talking about Hollywood sequels. "Jurassic World Dominion" is the "biggest" Jurassic movie yet, which in no way makes it the best. By and large, it is a bloated mess that throws legacy characters and newbies alike through ringers both surprisingly fun (the Malta sequence) and blindingly tiresome (the whole third act). That means, remarkably, that the dinosaurs emerge mostly unscathed. 

"Dominion" trots out more species of creature than any Jurassic film before it, and director Colin Trevorrow and co-writer Elizabeth Mitchell wisely realize that simply seeing all those creatures exist isn't an event anymore — however, watching them cohabitate with humans is. As such, the beasts' collisions with everyday human life make for the movie's most fun moments, whether it's a squad of laser-pointer-controlled raptor assassins (no, I'm not kidding) or the return of the venom-spitting dilophosaurus. It's the humans who make "Dominion" hard to swallow. The dinosaurs, as the film argues, deserve all the love we can give them. In that spirit, here is every dinosaur in "Jurassic World Dominion," ranked.

12. Mosasaurus

In "Jurassic World Dominion," the Mosasaurus is just trying to live. It has no moral justifications for snatching fish from an Arctic fishing expedition in the first scene of the film. It's an issue of survival. Hey, if a few humans die in the process, the Mosasaurus still gets to eat.

This is, inexplicably, a less harsh incarnation of the Mosasaurus, who was last seen executing one of the most unnecessary and cruel deaths in modern blockbuster history. In this sense, its "Dominion" appearance is an improvement. Cinematically, it also falls flat. Mosasaurus is the first ancient creature audiences see in "Dominion" and its reveal should inspire fear or awe; at the very least, it should inspire something. It doesn't. The fishing expedition attack confirms that Colin Trevorrow's film is strangely low-stakes, and not great at mounting tension. 

Furthermore, Mosasaurus being alive and well raises a ton of questions that the film doesn't bother to answer. How did Mosasurus get all the way to the Arctic from Jurassic World? It wasn't transported stateside, was it? And if you were heading into waters occupied by a creature that makes great whales seem like chihuahuas, wouldn't you pack heavier arms than harpoon guns? These are silly questions, but "Dominion" takes its silly worldbuilding very seriously (the Mosasurus sequence is followed by an expository "Now This" video — yes, really). So, because it's a difficult appearance to just write off, to enjoy, or to appreciate cinematically, Mosasurus ranks at the bottom of this list.

11. Stygimoloch

Stiggy's back!

In fairness, it is likely not Stiggy herself that appears in "Jurassic World Dominion." In case you don't remember, Stiggy is a hard-headed hero and unquestionably one of the highlights of J.A.  Bayona's "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom." During the third act of that gonzo, Gothic dinosaur picture, Paleolithic creatures are being auctioned off to America's 1% for hundreds of millions of dollars. Stiggy occupies the cell next to Owen Grady (Chris Pratt). When Grady realizes this, he and Stiggy use the latter's strong cranium to stage a ridiculous escape. Writing out this plot feels ridiculous, but in the film it plays like B-movie gangbusters. Stiggy is great. More importantly, Stiggy is endearing.

That's why the mere glimpse of a Stygimoloch during the Malta sequence of "Jurassic World Dominion" makes this list. Over the course of six films, the Jurassic franchise hasn't bothered (or really needed) to make its dinosaurs sympathetic. Stiggy is one a few exceptions to that rule. Stiggy forever.

10. T-Rex

T-Rex is as old and tired as the cliches that "Jurassic World Dominion" traffics in. The film is counting on its dinosaurs' appearances instilling the same wonder that they did 29 years ago. "You never really get used to it," Ellie Sattler muses when seeing a baby Triceratops. It pains me to criticize Sattler in any way, but come on, Ellie! Trailers for "Dominion" were played so often in 2022's first half that the image of Jeff Goldblum alone is exhausting.

The real issue, though, is that "Dominion" can't think of anything original to do with the dinosaur that once terrified an entire generation. We've seen it partake in a third-act dino battle a few times, so "Dominion" repeats that. T-rex memorably eats white male humans throughout the "Jurassic Park" series, so here a man inexplicably Segway-ing through Malta gets chomped on when he travels toward two T-rexes. Tracking every T-rex kill in this franchise feels like a survey of Hollywood's interests over the past two-plus decades; reducing a mighty creature to the equivalent of an incidental survey is sad indeed.

9. Triceratops

Humans aren't the only legacy characters in "Jurassic World Dominion." The triceratops makes two notable appearances in Colin Trevorrow's film, one of which is far more effective than the other. When first arriving at Biosyn Labs, the company owned by minor "Jurassic Park" bad guy Lewis Dodgson (originally played by Cameron Thor, now by Campbell Scott), Ellie Sattler encounters a small, sick triceratops. The moment mirrors Sattler's nursing of a large, ill triceratops in Steven Spielberg's 1993 film, but the significance is nothing more than a wink. That feels disingenuous. In "Jurassic Park," Sattler's decision to care for the dinosaur both furthers the film's plot and deepens the emotional tug-of-war between Sattler and Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) about whether or not to have kids. Here, the moment barely endears Sattler to Biosyn Labs. She and the audience are already aware that Biosyn is up to no good. As a result, it's a reference. Nothing more.

The first triceratops scene, however, lands its punches. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), Franklin Webb (Justice Smith), and Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) break into an illegal triceratops breeding farm to document its criminal activities and, at Claire's behest, rescue a small, sick triceratops. During their escape, they drive into a range populated by adult triceratops. When those triceratops plow into the group's pursuers, the moment is as genuinely impactful and staggering as any other dinosaur attack in the movie. It adds to, not just winks at, the triceratops' cinematic legacy.

8. Giganotosaurus

Giganotosaurus is the definition of overrated. He is the Lamar Odom or Ryan Leaf of dinosaurs. The hype around him is infinite, and in almost no way does it deliver on what's promised. This is a creature that's meant to make the T-rex look like a puppy, and who is soundly defeated soundly by a group of elderly humans and a pair of cunning peers.

Is that the point? Yes, probably. Giganotosaurus embodies the corporate maximalism that makes Biosyn so despicable, and that he proves to be an ineffective predator and villain doesn't feel accidental. A better film would establish this all better. A more interesting dinosaur, which Giganotosaurus isn't, would have the decency to behave with some personality. In execution, however, this beast is the equivalent of stale white bread.

7. The Locusts

Look, the weaponized locusts from "Jurassic World Dominion" aren't dinosaurs. I realize this. There's a good chance that I realize this more than "Jurassic World Dominion" itself. "Dominion" takes the jaw-dropping cliffhanger from "Fallen Kingdom," which establishes that humans and dinosaurs now live together, and says, "Yes, that's nice, but aren't you intrigued by swarming crop-murder bugs?" Your mileage on this decision may vary, but it's clear that "Dominion" intends to run a marathon relay with locusts carrying the baton.

Are they effective? As a plot point, no. The locusts are too thematically on-the-nose to be an intriguing mystery, and too disappointing as a plot point to prove endearing. Most egregiously, they bring Doctor Henry Wu (BD Wong) back into the fold via a method so corny that it retroactively makes his character worse. On occasion, though, they're icky and memorable. The swarm's initial attack on a Texas farm is effective because it precedes the locusts becoming a plot engine, and a shot of the bugs burning to death while the CEO who greenlit their existence watches is more intellectually and viscerally stirring than much of "Dominion." The locusts make "Dominion" a worse film, but they aren't quite as bad as the reputation they've already established.

6. Dilophosaurus

Over the course of "Jurassic World Dominion," the Dilophosaurus goes from being the right kind of legacy character to the wrong kind. It only appears on screen twice, and yet that's enough time to re-balance the scales.

In its first appearance, the venom-spitting creature stalks Claire Dearing as she tries to make her way up a nearby security tower. We hear the dinosaur's cooing sounds. We're reminded of the pleasure that it takes in stalking its prey. Spielberg understood that was the key to making the Dilophosaurus terrifying. That moment when its flaps unfold and it screams is the culmination of every single movement leading up to it. In this scene, Colin Trevorrow nails that, too. 

It's a shame, then, that the Dilophosaurus' second sequence is a beat-by-beat remake of Dennis Nedry's death in a slightly different setting. It's all there: a nefarious bad guy getting away, the Barbasol can full of DNA samples, and so on. "Dominion" seems to be hoping we'll enjoy seeing this scene a second time, but it only highlights the diminishing returns of the film's nostalgia and dulls the Dilophosaurus' impact in the process.

5. Pyroraptor

Let's get something clear: raptors are consistently the best part of "Jurassic World Dominion." No other sub-species even comes close. Raptors appear in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments over the course of the film's 147 minutes, and almost every single thing they do on screen is welcome.

The Pyroraptor is a tremendous example. A winged creature adapted to snowy habitats, the creature saunters into frame seemingly out of nowhere after Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise) crash-lands her plane onto thin ice. The raptor can skirt said ice. Owen and Kayla? Not so much. The pair make a break for a nearby elevator with the raptor in pursuit, only to flop-sweat when the Pyroraptor plunges under the ice to sneak attack them from below. It's an unbelievably cunning move and, even if it doesn't pay off, it shows off the intellect that made the Velociraptors so frightening in the original Jurassic Park trilogy. Grady calls the Pyroraptor a word I'm not allowed to write here as he and Kayla descend into Biosyn's labs. It earns that title with aplomb.

4. Blue

Blue deserved better than she got in "Jurassic World Dominion," the follow-up to a film that found her playing dinosaur John Wick with scores of unexpecting henchmen. That's as awesome as it sounds. And it's not that Blue's role as an aggrieved mother in "Dominion" is objectively bad; one of the rare moments where Trevorrow's film comes alive is when Blue and her child, Beta, go hunting together, weaving in and out of snowy woods. It's that an aggrieved mother is all that Blue gets to be. A dinosaur who had real emotions, unmatched fighting prowess, and an arc through two subpar movies is given a subpar storyline in a dull conclusion. That's not great.

Also not great? The scene in which Blue finally hits her breaking point with Owen Grady's open-palmed calming technique. This was long overdue, and it's the right beat for Grady and Blue's fracturing relationship. Miserably, Trevorrow films this moment in the clumsiest way possible. In a series of increasingly tight POV shots, we watch Blue and Grady fight to wrest control from each other using only the force of their hands and eyes. It is exactly as head-scratching as it sounds. When Blue finally snaps, the gesture is barely seen, and is robbed of any emotional impact whatsoever. Blue deserves so much better.

3. Beta

There's more than a little bit of Grogu in Beta, Blue's raptor child and a surprisingly important plot point in "Jurassic World Dominion." 

Beta is proof that "life finds a way." Blue has had children asexually, and as such Beta's DNA may hold the key to stopping a bio-engineered locust outbreak (no, I haven't skipped a plot beat — this is really what happens in "Jurassic World Dominion"). That doesn't make Beta fun. What does is how impishly Beta communicates with her mom, or the insistent joy-filled patter of their claws dancing across the snow en route to a hunt. 

These are ways to describe characters, not CGI attractions, and the fact that Beta can be elucidated in such detail is proof that the filmmakers landed her character moments. Those beats also hinge on a specific brand of adorability, and it works. I was particularly tickled by the way Beta, hunting for a wolf, initially overshots her target (peak tiny animal behavior), or the drugged-out reluctance Beta shows in getting strapped to Owen Grady's back. "Jurassic World Dominion" is an unquestionably brighter and better movie whenever Beta is in it. She deserves high marks.

2. Therizinosaurus

Therizinosaurus is the best addition "Dominion" makes to the Jurassic canon. There are a multitude of creatures in "Jurassic Park Dominion." Too many, in fact. Every single one is fighting for a signature moment, one that will ensure they won't go extinct when Universal creates a "Cretaceous Park" reboot. But Therizinosaurus — blade-clawed, bird-like, and devious — is one of the few dinosaurs that actually gets one.

Claire Starling has crash-landed in the jungle, and her relief at surviving is cut short: The oft-mentioned Therizinosaurus comes strolling through with its claws exposed, trying to sniff out Claire, but finding another victim instead. In a comically fast motion, Therozenosauras stabs and flicks the other dinosaur off-screen. As Claire drops from the tree and attempts to escape, the Therizinosaurus whips around and begins gleefully stalking a crawling Claire. It is only when Claire drops beneath the surface of a nearby pond that she finds relief, and even then, it's only temporary. Therizinosaurus screams at the surface of the water, hoping to scare up its meal.

It's a genuinely well-staged moment, and, when coupled with the Therizinosaurus' tag-team murder of the Giganotosaurus, amounts to a very strong initial showing.

1. The raptor assassins

There is one 20-minute stretch of "Jurassic World Dominion" where the film blissfully abandons all pretenses. The film suddenly lacks pointless legacy characters. It isn't set in Jurassic Park or a Jurassic Park stand-in, or trying to solve locust-based mysteries. Inexplicably, this segment re-teams Owen Grady with Omar Sy so the two can team up with the CIA's dinosaur division and track down black market poachers. The obstacle in their way? A spectacularly dressed ne'er-do-well named Soyona Santos (Dichen Lachman) has trained raptors to attack whomever she marks with a laser pointer.

This is, to be clear, several hundred strains of ridiculous. It is also a blast. These raptors are little more than vicious, fast henchmen, but they are henchmen controlled by a spectacularly dressed ne'er-do-well with a maliciously-used laser pointer. In any other film, this would be camp. Here, it's so strangely sincere that it inspires gleeful disbelief. That's what makes it so enjoyable. If "Jurassic World Dominion" is going to be an incidental cautionary tale for the lessons of the original "Jurassic Park," the assassin raptors are the best-case scenario.