Avatar 2 first reactions: The Way of Water praised as "masterpiece"
Critics were blown away by the visuals, although some described the plot as "weaker than the first".
Avatar 2 arrives in cinemas next week, 13 years after the original Avatar, and now we’ve got the first reactions to see if anyone still cares about what unfolds on Pandora.
Aptly titled The Way of Water, the sequel sees the Na'vi explore the planet's oceans and, judging by the first reviews, they’re just as stunning as its landscapes were in the original movie.
Praising The Way of Water's pioneering visual effects, Fandango's Erik Davis tweeted: "Happy to say Avatar: The Way of Water is phenomenal. Bigger, better & more emotional than Avatar, the film is visually breathtaking, visceral and incredibly engrossing."
He continued: "The story, the spectacle, the spirituality, the beauty – this is moviemaking & storytelling at its absolute finest."
Uproxx's Mike Ryan tweeted: "Yeah never bet against James Cameron. Trying to spare hyperbole, but I've never seen anything like this from a technical, visual standpoint."
He continued, "Someone texted me, 'What's the most visually impressive part of the movie?' And I responded, 'The whole thing honestly.'"
Guillermo del Toro also delivered one of the first review's of Avatar 2, tweeting: "Say it again: Avatar 2 - seeing it you realise how long it has been since you saw a MOVIE-MOVIE (like that, in caps)."
The sequel will catch up with Jake (Sam Worthington), Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) and the rest of the gang 15 years after the events of Avatar, as well as introduce a new tribe, the water-dwelling Metkayina.
While the visuals have been lavished with praise, some critics have criticised the plot in comparison.
Critic Scott Mantz said: "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."
Meanwhile, EW digital editor Yolanda Machado wasn't exactly complimentary about the story, likening it to "Free Willy for Gen Z".
"James Cameron is a technology master...and his direction is at its most precise here," she wrote. "The film as a whole, while a technological marvel with a breathtaking world, is just [laugh-cry emoji]. Dances with Wolves and Free Willy for Gen Z."
Read more reactions to Avatar: The Way of Water below:
Avatar 2 has suffered multiple setbacks and delays since it was announced back in January 2010, due in part to director Cameron’s insistence on waiting until the technology needed to bring the oceans of Pandora to life was ready to use.