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It’s no surprise that Avatar: The Way Of Water (2022) has become one of the highest grossing films in the world. Due to the popularity of the original, Avatar (2009), which became the highest grossing movie of all time, making almost $3 billion worldwide, audiences were excited to see its sequel. Predictably, it’s reached over $1.7 billion globally after its fourth week being in theaters. It places the 7th highest grossing movie of all time, right behind Avatar (2009), Avengers: Endgame (2019), Titanic (1997), Star Wars: Episode Vll – The Force Awakens (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021).
The film’s setting takes place on a moon called Pandora where main character Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) lives with his family, including his wife Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). They must work together with the Na’vi race to fight against an returning evil force in order to protect their home.
Doubts were raised around the sequel’s initial release on whether it would become a disappointment in the box office. However, these concerns were soon defeated when the film earned $135 million from the first weekend of the movie’s release. Director James Cameron had mentioned in an interview that the movie was popular enough for him to make three more sequels.
Although the movie grossed highly, there were quite a few mixed reactions to it. On IMDb.com, it was given a rating of 7.9/10, along with a Metascore, which is a score given solely by movie critics, of 67. Here are some of the following responses to critics ratings: Johnny Oleksinki, from the New York Post, gave it a 100 and explained that, “Spending more than a decade pining for Pandora was worth it. Cameron has delivered the grandest movie since, well, “Avatar,” and with an over-three-hour runtime that never sags. What better way for struggling cinemas to regain their footing than with a gargantuan film that so celebrates the glory of the big screen?” Alissa Wilkinson from Vox Magazine had mixed emotions about it, with her score of 60 and concluded that, “Its plot is hacky; it’s got some really clunky characters; the dialogue is, at times, unthinkably stupid. (‘The way of water connects all things’ is the kind of line that sounds profound until you really think about it.) But this new Avatar filled an awe-shaped void in my heart, and for that, I thank James Cameron.” Some critics especially did not enjoy the film, like Mick LaSalle from The San Francisco Chronicle who gave it a 25, complaining that, “Avatar: The Way of Water is a one-hour story rattling around in a 192-minute bag.”
Personally, I enjoyed the film quite a bit, but it was like anything I’ve already seen before. It was very predictable and none of the plot twists surprised me. However, its special effects made up for lack of originality and creativity, due to the breathtaking sets and scenes of the film.In addition, Rotten Tomatoes gave it a score of 77%, which contrasted with its high audience score of 92%. Critics claimed that, “Narratively, it might be fairly standard stuff — but visually speaking, Avatar: The Way of Water is a stunningly immersive experience”, which is found to be very true on why the film and its previous have been so popular. Its visual effects are absolutely stunning to the point that it is hard to deny that it’s a beautiful representation of cinematography. Despite negative reactions, the film still deserves positive recognition. It has been nominated for two Golden Globes in the best motion picture and best director categories respectively, and even though it did not win the awards, its box office success proves that it’s a spectacular film for the start of the new year.