Avatar: The Way of Water review: “An imposing, dazzling, supersized blockbuster”

Before he became King of the World, James Cameron was king of the bigger, better, more parentally fraught blockbuster sequel. Even if his long-awaited return to Pandora can’t match Aliens or T2 for focused tanker-weight efficiency, Avatar: The Way of Water cleaves close enough to uphold that reputation. And it sure leaves Piranha II’s flying fish standing. 

Will it join the $2bn club, as Cameron implies it must? We’ll see, but it certainly is a whole lot of flawed but fulsome (quoting Guillermo del Toro (opens in new tab)) “MOVIE-MOVIE”: a sometimes surreal, always spectacular sensory hit with an undertow of gentle emotion, an overflow of ambition, and a pleasingly earnest thematic thrust. It might take multiple viewings to unpick some plot threads… and three more films. But if anyone can mount a case for the repeat-visit cinema experience, Cameron can. 

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