In just about a week and some change, James Cameron’s long-awaited Avatar sequel, The Way of Water will transport audiences back to Pandora after the phenomenon became the highest-grossing movie of all time over a decade ago. So… how is it? The upcoming Disney movie’s first audience just exited the world premiere in London as well as remote screenings, and they have shared their first reactions to Avatar 2.
First up, is CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell, who was blown away by The Way of Water. He feels that it “surpasses the original on every level,” along with these additional thoughts on Twitter:
Never bet against @JimCameron. His #AvatarTheWayOfWater surpasses the original on every level. Incredible visuals, but a much more emotional connection to the characters and story. The final hour is Cameron flexing every muscle, reminding blockbuster filmmakers how it’s done. pic.twitter.com/C7lpBs6y5UDecember 6, 2022
James Cameron is, of course, the beloved filmmaker behind Titanic and the first two Terminator movies along with 2009’s Avatar. He has an incredible track record with making good movies that people talk about years and years after their release. Collider’s Perri Nemiroff suggests that Avatar: The Way Of Water is a movie befitting the filmmaker's legacy:
#AvatarTheWayOfWater is pretty incredible. I had faith James Cameron would raise the bar w/ the effects but these visuals are mind-blowing. One stunning frame after the next. But the thing I dug most is how the technical feats always feel in service of character & world-building. pic.twitter.com/MXeN3z8BnPDecember 6, 2022
Adding on to those points, ComicBook’s Brandon Davis found it to be a “never-ending visual spectacle” with more complexities than the original movie, but did have some reasons to knock it. He felt the long three hour and 12 minute runtime and found some characters to be lacking. In his words:
Avatar: The Way of Water is a never-ending visual spectacle.It’s a better, more complex story than the first with solid emotion but the characters could grow a bit more. It’s definitely long, running on incredible visuals & techniques which are 3D’s best.#AvatarTheWayOfWater pic.twitter.com/ezySHunXOeDecember 6, 2022
The Avatar: The Way of Water trailers haven’t given us a clear idea of the story and when it came down to it, Digital Spy’s Ian Sandwell thought the story was “thin.” Even so, he also found it to be a “visual masterpiece,” especially when it comes to the third act:
Unsurprisingly, #AvatarTheWayOfWater is a visual masterpiece with rich use of 3D and breathtaking vistas. It does suffer from a thin story and too many characters to juggle, yet James Cameron pulls it together for an extraordinary final act full of emotion and thrilling action. pic.twitter.com/opr6CRyOwkDecember 6, 2022
Journalist Jack Shepard was also among the Avatar: The Way of Water audience and made a standout comment on the use of the new characters in the story. Check out his thoughts:
#AvatarTheWayOfWater pushes CGI to new places and uses the word "family" more than any F&F movie. While some of the new characters are underutilized, Pandora is miraculously realised, the underwater stuff glorious, and the final third is full of incredible action – see in IMAX!December 6, 2022
Is Avatar 2 good enough to continue into an infinite franchise? Time will tell. For the time being, it sounds like a lot of people at the world premiere were absolutely blown away by James Cameron’s latest film. FOX L.A.’s Amanda Salas even calls it her favorite movie of the year:
Feliz NA’VIdad indeed! #AvatarTheWayOfWater is a cinematic masterpiece! I enjoyed it even more than the first one! It conquers stunning visuals on-screen & taps into the heart reminding us of what truly matters in life. Family, home, nature & survival. My top film of the year! 🌊December 6, 2022
From these first reactions about Avatar: The Way of Water, it certainly sounds like it’s a sure bet your eyes will have a feast with this groundbreaking piece of cinema from James Cameron. The filmmaker was the first to implement motion capture with his actors underwater along with its cutting-edge CGI effects. Many in the early audience seem to suggest that it surpasses the 2009 film, while others were not sold on the story. Overall, these first reactions boast of lot of positivity toward the massive holiday release. This could be another big movie for James Cameron and Disney.
The movie stars an incredible cast, including Zoe Saldana, Kate Winslet and Sam Worthington, who’ve already teased how “stunned” they are about the movie. You can decide for yourself your thoughts on Avatar: The Way of Water when it hits theaters on December 16.
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Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.