The first reactions to James Cameron’s cinematic event of a generation Avatar: The Way of Water are officially in, and those who have been holding their breath in anticipation can now take a sigh of relief because the majority of reactions are — you guessed it (or didn’t) — positive.
Rolling out its blue carpet in London for the world premiere, The Way of Water drowned those in attendance with a visual feast, calling the sequel “beautiful,” “stunning,” and above all else, “immersive.”
Keep in mind, these aren’t the official reviews of the film. Those won’t become available on Rotten Tomatoes for several more days. That being said, these reactions paint a pretty good picture of what we can expect. The 2009 Avatar scored an 82 percent freshness score on Rotten Tomatoes with a certified fresh badge of honor. If The Way of Water hits a similar mark, it’s safe to say Cameron has actually managed to pull off another hit.
Of course, being a positively reviewed film is another thing entirely from scoring the box office numbers the film needs to succeed. Cameron himself has said the sequel needs to gross over $2 billion just to make a profit. The movie will surely sell an unprecedented amount of 3-D tickets which will undoubtedly aid the film in reaching those numbers, but that’s nowhere near enough assistance to do all of the heavy liftings. Perhaps being greenlit for a Chinese release will do the trick.
At the end of the day, it will come down to whether or not 13 years was too long to wait for a film whose characters Cameron believes are what has carried it all the way to the top, not necessarily its CGI. Speaking of which, The Way of Water will introduce audiences to several new characters, including a fearless leader played by Kate Winslet, one of Jake Sully’s teenage children, played by Sigourney Weaver, and a familiar foe who threatens to tear Jake and Neytriri’s family apart.
The movie has a predictably long runtime, but Cameron doesn’t want to hear any complaints out of you. And while almost every reaction has said the wait is well worth the bladder damage, several have complained about the one thing Cameron prides himself on, which is character development. However, even those critiques compliment the film in the same breath.
13 years later, Avatar: The Way of Water will officially make its splash in theaters around the world on Dec. 16, 2022. Tickets are now on sale.