Avatar: The Way of Water First Reactions: James Cameron Shines Again

CEO Tam DT
More than a decade after the groundbreaking film Avatar, James Cameron returns with its highly anticipated sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water. And if initial reactions are any indication, Cameron has once again delivered a...

More than a decade after the groundbreaking film Avatar, James Cameron returns with its highly anticipated sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water. And if initial reactions are any indication, Cameron has once again delivered a cinematic masterpiece that exceeds expectations. Critics, who have had the opportunity to see the film, are in awe of its technical brilliance, captivating visuals, and improved storytelling.

How does it compare to the original?

In terms of quality, Avatar: The Way of Water surpasses its predecessor, according to several critics. David Ehrlich from IndieWire describes it as "light years better than the first," while Ross Bonaime of Collider is astonished by how much the sequel rules compared to the original. Courtney Howard of Fresh Fiction praises the advancements in the story, characters, and technological achievements, making it even better than the first film. Amon Warmann of Empire Magazine appreciates the reduced white saviorism in The Way of Water compared to Avatar 2009.

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

So should we have trusted James Cameron from the beginning?

The answer is a resounding yes! Critics unanimously agree that James Cameron has once again proven his filmmaking prowess. Germain Lussier of io9.com asserts that Cameron "truly doesn't miss," while Bilge Ebiri of New York Magazine/Vulture finds The Way of Water to be Cameron's sweetest, most personal, and emotionally resonant film. Tomris Laffly of AV Club praises Cameron's ability to combine accessible human emotions with a beautifully coherent story. With this sequel, Cameron has solidified his reputation as a master filmmaker.

How is the story?

Although opinions differ on the story's depth and complexity, critics appreciate the focus on character development in The Way of Water. Perri Nemiroff of Collider describes it as a "mighty effective exploration of community and family dynamics." Kevin L. Lee of AwardsWatch emphasizes the personal and emotional aspects of the story. While some critics point out a thin story and a complexity overload, they acknowledge that Cameron manages to pull it all together in an extraordinary final act.

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

And how are the visual effects?

Unsurprisingly, Avatar: The Way of Water continues to push visual boundaries, mesmerizing audiences with its stunning visuals and rich use of 3D. Ian Sandwell of Digital Spy describes it as a "visual masterpiece." Tori Brazier of Metro.co.uk echoes this sentiment, stating that the film is one of the most visually stunning she has ever seen. The film's breathtaking visuals, created through groundbreaking visual effects, astound both critics and viewers.

What about the action?

Critics are in awe of the action sequences in The Way of Water, with Amon Warmann of Empire Magazine praising them as "pretty incredible." Kevin L. Lee of AwardsWatch adds that the action scenes are breathtaking, while Germain Lussier of io9.com describes them as some of the most impressive sustained action scenes he has ever witnessed.

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

Are there any standout performances?

Critics also commend the performances in The Way of Water, particularly those of the young actors. Germain Lussier of io9.com finds the performances incredible, while Clayton Davis of Variety praises the child stars. Perri Nemiroff of Collider highlights Britain Dalton's standout performance as Lo'ak. Additionally, critics acknowledge Sam Worthington's growth as an actor over the past thirteen years.

Is the film too long?

At over three hours in length, Avatar: The Way of Water is a substantial film. However, critics believe that it earns every minute of its running time. Tomris Laffly of AV Club assures audiences that the film's captivating narrative and engrossing storylines keep viewers wholly engaged throughout.

Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

Do we need to see it in a theater?

Absolutely! Critics emphasize that Avatar: The Way of Water offers one of the best theatrical experiences in recent memory. David Ehrlich of IndieWire declares it to be easily one of the most visually impressive films, especially in Dolby 3D. Brandon Davis of ComicBook.com concurs, stating that the film is a testament to the power of the big screen.

What about the high frame rate?

While opinions on the high frame rate vary, critics acknowledge James Cameron's ability to utilize it effectively. Mike Ryan of Uproxx credits Cameron with cracking the high frame rate trick successfully. However, Amon Warmann of Empire Magazine finds the high frame rate to be hit and miss. John Negroni of InBetweenDrafts likens the experience to watching something on an OLED television, multiplied by two.

Still image from Avatar: The Way of Water

Should we be excited for more Avatar sequels?

According to David Ehrlich of IndieWire, the answer is a resounding yes. The Way of Water delivers a cinematic experience that leaves audiences eagerly anticipating the next installment. Tori Brazier of Metro.co.uk may question whether the world needs Avatar 3, 4, and 5, but she is glad they received Avatar 2.

Avatar: The Way of Water hits theaters worldwide on December 16, 2022.

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