Thirteen years ago, James Cameron's Avatar arrived in movie theaters and wowed audiences with its stunning visuals and action. The movie was critically acclaimed, received numerous awards and became the highest-grossing movie ever at that time, surpassing Cameron's 1997 movie Titanic (it currently sits at No. 4 all-time at the US box office).
However, since its release, some of the shine has lessened on Avatar, leaving some to wonder if the sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, could live up to its predecessor.
Well, the first round of Avatar 2 reactions are here ahead of the movie's December 16 release date. Those that have seen it say the new movie not only lives up to the original, but it may very well surpass it (in quality at least, too soon to tell about the box office).
Among the early supporters of Avatar: The Way of Water is James Cameron's fellow Oscar-winning director, Guillermo del Toro (who's own new movie, Pinocchio, is getting raves), praising the movie's epic scale and describing Cameron as "a master at the peak of his powers."
A staggering achievement- AVATAR TWOW is chokefull of majestic Vistas and emotions at an epic, epic scale. A master at thepeak of his powers… https://t.co/tG6I16JlhMNovember 24, 2022
I say it again: Avatar 2 - seeing it you realize how long it has been since you saw a MOVIE-MOVIE (like that, in caps).December 7, 2022
The official synopsis for Avatar: The Way of Water reads: "Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of the Water begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive and the tragedies they endure."
The movie stars Sam Worthington as Jake, Zoe Saldana as Neytiri and others from the first movie including Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang (playing new characters), as well as Joel David Moore. New cast members include Cliff Curtis, CCH Pounder, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement and Kate Winslet.
Reviews for Avatar: The Way of Water are currently embargoed, so these social reactions to the movie are all we have right now. Take a look.
Avatar 2 reactions
Nearly all of the early reactions to Avatar: The Way of Water describe it as an incredible movie-going experience, topping the first movie in almost all facets. As one person put it, "never bet against James Cameron," who has delivered numerous classics like Terminator, Terminator 2, Aliens and Titanic.
Avatar The Way of Water: lol imagine being dumb enough to bet against James Cameron. or teen alien Sigourney Weaver. or giant whales subtitled in papyrus. light years better than the first & easily one of the best theatrical experiences in ages. streaming found dead in a ditch.December 6, 2022
AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER absolutely owns bones. I was slapping my seat, hooting, screaming for the Na’vi to take out every last one of those dang sky peopleDecember 6, 2022
Happy to say #AvatarTheWayOfWater is phenomenal! Bigger, better & more emotional than #Avatar, the film is visually breathtaking, visceral & incredibly engrossing. The story, the spectacle, the spirituality, the beauty - this is moviemaking & storytelling at its absolute finest. pic.twitter.com/RicnpDghrxDecember 6, 2022
As someone who LIKED -- but didn't LOVE -- the first AVATAR, let me tell you:AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER blew me away.Vastly superior in visuals, story telling and performances, the sequel left my jaw on the ground for the entire runtime.James Cameron is the GOD of sequels. pic.twitter.com/1cw6C94O4fDecember 6, 2022
AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER: Yeah never bet against James Cameron. Trying to spare hyperbole, but I’ve never seen anything like this from a technical, visual standpoint. It’s overwhelming. Maybe too overwhelming. Sometimes I’d miss plot points because I’m staring at a Pandora fishDecember 6, 2022
AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER might be James Cameron’s sweetest, gentlest, most personal film. Possibly even his most emotional. It revisits all his greatest hits, but it’s always totally sincere. He is never leaving Pandora. He loves this family. By the end, I did, too.December 7, 2022
Though of course, there are some who still feel the first is the superior entry:
AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER is breathtakingly beautiful with the most incredible VFX I have ever seen (I saw it in 3D); the story itself is weaker than the first and feels drawn out at 3 hours & 10 minutes, but it’s always great to look at & the last hour is amazing. #Avatar pic.twitter.com/8dEhtvRb4PDecember 6, 2022
Again, Avatar: The Way of Water releases exclusively in movie theaters in the US, UK and worldwide on December 16.
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).
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