‘Never doubt James Cameron’: Avatar 2 first reactions call it a ‘visual masterpiece’
Avatar: The Way of Water has been hailed as an “epic filmmaking achievement” in early reactions from critics and influencers alike.
The highly anticipated sci-fi sequel, which hits theaters worldwide on December 16, had its world premiere in London last night (December 6). And, once the credits have been transferred Avatar: The Road of Waterjournalists and other attendees were quick to give their thoughts on James Cameron’s latest epic film.
Not surprisingly, the majority of science fiction movieInitial impressions of the film were overwhelmingly positive, with as much acclaim as possible for the 2009 Avatar sequel.
Uproxx’s Mike Ryan was one of the first to praise Cameron’s latest film, telling people to “never bet against James Cameron” before praising its image with the humorous line ” sometimes I miss plot points because I’m staring at a Pandora fish”:
AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER: Well, never bet against James Cameron. Trying to avoid hype, but I’ve never seen anything like this from a technical, visual standpoint. It is overwhelming. Perhaps too overwhelming. Sometimes I miss plot points because I’m staring at a Pandora fishDecember 6, 2022
Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes screenwriter Erik Davis agreed, calling Avatar 2 “a visual phenomenon” before adding “this is the best way to film and tell stories”:
Happy to say #AvatarTheWayOfWater is phenomenal! Bigger, better, and more emotional than #Avatar, the film is visually breathtaking, visceral, and incredibly engaging. Story, spectacle, spirituality, beauty – this is filmmaking & storytelling at its best. pic.twitter.com/RicnpDghrxDecember 6, 2022
Many others felt the same way about the film’s awe-inspiring 3D visuals and aesthetic. Brandon Davis of Phase Zero (opens in a new tab) says “in no way exaggerates how stunning” and “visually impressive” it is in Dolby 3D, while ReelBlend’s Kevin McCarthy (opens in a new tab) recommended “its 48fps 3D experience has some of the most amazingly immersive I’ve ever seen”.
Collider’s Perri Nemiroff claims she’s always believed Cameron will deliver a visual feast, but admits she’s not ready for how “stunner” it is and that “technological feats always serve to build the character and the world”:
#AvatarTheWayOfWater is amazing. I was convinced that James Cameron would raise the bar with the effects but these images are amazing. One beautiful frame after the next. But what I found out the most was how technical feats always served to build characters & worlds. pic.twitter.com/MXeN3z8BnPDecember 6, 2022
There were even some reactions praising Avatar 2 as some pretty cool ways. David Sims of the Atlantic (opens in a new tab) said it was “completely bone-owning”, while David Ehrlich of IndieWire (opens in a new tab) hilariously says “imagine you’re stupid enough to bet against James Cameron. Or the teenage alien Sigourney Weaver. Or the giant whales subtitled in the papyrus”.
Others were quick to praise how The Way of Water builds on (and arguably is better than) the original. Germain Lussier of Gizmodo (opens in a new tab) called it “emotionally overwhelming” before praising every performance “especially by all the kids”. Request a movie by Kevin Lee (opens in a new tab) added, saying that Avatar 2’s story is “heart beating. It’s more personal, more complex, [and] emotion”.
In the end, Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri called it “Cameron’s sweetest, lightest, most personal film. Maybe even his most emotional movie… he loves his family. Finally, me too”:
AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER is possibly James Cameron’s most personal, light-hearted, and sweetest film yet. Possibly even his most emotional. It revisits all of his greatest hits, but it’s always completely heartfelt. He will never leave Pandora. I love this family. In the end, so am I.December 7, 2022
However, not every review is as glowing as the ones above. Former Access Hollywood reporter Scott Mantz (opens in a new tab) considered its story “weaker than the first” and that the film’s more than three-hour length “felt stretched”. Besides, Next best movie Matt Neglia (opens in a new tab) said “Cameron’s dialogue still struggles”, alluding to some clumsiness with what the characters in the film say.
Despite praising everything else about the film, Total Film’s Jack Shepherd (opens in a new tab) says some new characters are “underused”. At Digital Spy, Ian Sandwell also commented on the film’s struggle to balance the plot and stacked cast of characters, even as it is a “visual masterpiece”:
No wonder #AvatarTheWayOfWater is a visual masterpiece that uses rich 3D and breathtaking vistas. It suffers from a thin story and too many characters to juggle, but James Cameron pulls it together for a phenomenal finale full of emotion and action. pic.twitter.com/opr6CRyOwkDecember 6, 2022
If you’re still wondering about watching Avatar: The Way of Water, former Variety writer Kris Tapley probably sums it up best. Basically, go and see it for yourself:
I was lucky enough to watch #AvatarTheWayOfWater this morning and listen, whatever that fare, it’s worth every penny. I could have watched it all day long.December 6, 2022
TechRadar will bring you more Avatar 2 content in the run-up to its release, including whether (and likely when) it will be released. Disney Plus. Be sure to check back with us from December 12 onwards for our full thoughts and more.
In the meantime, check out our picks for Best Disney Plus moviesincluding the 2009 Avatar and The best Disney Plus show. Also, read on why we think Avatar 2’s latest trailer proves it will be the best movie of 2022or get details on what’s worth knowing about Avatar: Pandora’s Borderan upcoming video game based on Cameron’s latest super hit series.