“Avatar: The Way of Water” First Reactions: A Stunning Visual Masterpiece
Never bet against James Cameron. This seems to be the overriding theme of the first reactions to his long-awaited sequel Avatar: The Way of Water, which arrives 13 years after his groundbreaking Avatar arrived in 2009.
The initial reactions are more or less uniformly positive, with critics and viewers alike marveling at how, once again, Cameron has seemingly reinvented what’s possible on screen. The staggering visuals, especially the scenes set underwater, come in for major praise, but so too do the emotional stakes. Cameron is a master world builder, and here he has built out the alien planet of Pandora, and its native inhabitants, the Na’vi, to incredible effect. The Way of Water is being hailed as a superior effort to the original Avatar in every way, which is, of course, the highest-grossing movie of all time.
We’ll need to wait until December 13 for the full reviews from critics once the review embargo is lifted, but here is a glimpse at the first social media reactions from critics who saw advanced screenings and the folks who attended the premiere on Tuesday in London. If you were only mildly interested in seeing Avatar: The Way of Water when it hits a theater near you on December 16, you mind find your mind about to change:
So, #AvatarTheWayOfWater is one of the most visually stunning films I have seen. Incredible on an almost obscene level. Crucially, it also manages an engaging story with new & returning characters. Yes, it is long at 3+ hours, but James Cameron’s only gone and bloody delivered… pic.twitter.com/oBjoWwiGaF
— Tori Brazier (@dinotaur) December 7, 2022
James Cameron is that dying breed of filmmaker who can package the most accessible of human emotions & a beautifully coherent story inside a spectacular & innovative Hollywood package. Earns every minute of its running time & all your feelings. Loved it. 1/2 #AvatarTheWayofWater
— Tomris Laffly (@TomiLaffly) December 7, 2022
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.
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) December 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/RicnpDghrx
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) December 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/1cw6C94O4f
— Jake Hamilton (@JakesTakes) December 6, 2022
#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/MXeN3z8BnP
— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) December 6, 2022
James Cameron & Co. deliver yet another riveting, awe-inducing masterclass in world-building with #AvatarTheWayOfWater . Immersive, emotionally engaging & epically entertaining, it’s a thrilling ride. CG artifice melts away where we’re just watching the characters’ humanity steer pic.twitter.com/6CksGpEumJ
— Courtney Howard (@Lulamaybelle) 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 people
— David Sims (@davidlsims) December 6, 2022
James Cameron’s #AvatarTheWayOfWater is a monumental filmmaking achievement striking a great balance between technical & emotional. The 48fps 3D experience features some of the most jaw-dropping immersion I’ve ever seen. Felt like a kid again watching T2 for 1st time. Astounding. pic.twitter.com/cfiMADJzU4
— Kevin McCarthy (@KevinMcCarthyTV) December 6, 2022
Some real thoughts on #AvatarTheWayOfWater: Yeah, incredible. It’s a James Cameron limit break where even intimate feelings slam with seismic force. Jaw-dropping design make a mostly CG world and cast (miraculously emotive) feel impossibly alive. Even the water’s hypnotizing. pic.twitter.com/E6JyLEa1gM
— Eric Francisco (@EricFrancisco24) December 7, 2022
#AvatarTheWayOfWater is “more is more” writ large. It’s more beautiful, more in awe of Pandora; more vocal in its environmentalism, more damning of humans. It’s an adrenaline shot to 3D filmmaking and an uncompromising doubling down. You’d expect nothing less from Cameron.
— Tom Page (@thomas_page) December 6, 2022
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/ezySHunXOe
— BD (@BrandonDavisBD) December 6, 2022
Listen, I wasn’t excited about #AvatarTheWayofWater but it blew me away. It’s so beautiful it’s hard to put into words. Say what you will about Cameron but… he knows what he’s doing.
— Beatrice Verhoeven (@bverhoev) December 7, 2022
Avatar: The Way of Water is an EPIC, STUNNING, CINEMATIC ADVENTURE. It delivers on both action & heart while giving fans an intriguing story that feels earned & warranted. Never doubt James Cameron. Biggest issue: feels like a stepping stone for what’s next.#AvatarTheWayofWater pic.twitter.com/dQBEfBkN7z
— Tessa Smith – Mama’s Geeky (@MamasGeeky) December 6, 2022
For more on Avatar: The Way of Water, check out these stories:
“Avatar: The Way of Water” IMAX Featurette Focuses on Jake & Neytiri’s Family
New “Avatar: The Way of Water” Teaser Reveals the Deadly Return of Humans to Pandora
New “Avatar: The Way of Water” Trailer Reveals the Battle for Pandora’s Oceans
Featured image: A scene from “Avatar: Way of Water.” Courtesy 20th Century Studios.