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'Avatar: The Way of Water' Social Media Reactions Call James Cameron's Sequel 'Stunning' But Story 'Thin'

The film clocks in at more than 3 hours in runtime.

Danielle Turchiano
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'Avatar: The Way of Water'

Disney

It has been more than a dozen years since James Cameron brought Avatar to the big screen, but the first sequel in a series of five planned films is almost upon us. 

Being released Dec. 16 in theaters and following the Sully family as they leave their home to explore other regions within Pandora, Avatar: The Way of Water is bigger, bolder, and, yes, longer at 3 hours and 12 minutes. Does that mean it's even more epic than the original film, or is it overkill? The full review embargo has not yet lifted, but the social media embargo has, and thus far, critics who had a chance to see the film early are focusing primarily on the visuals of the film, calling them "stunning," "mesmerizing," and "incredible."

While no one (that we have seen anyway) has yet to explicitly call out the runtime beyond offering the very important warning to "pee beforehand" (from Entertainment Weekly's Yolanda Machado), having that much time to stare at technology-heavy visuals means some are marveling at them, others are over it, and others still are focusing so much on them that the story is getting lost.

A great example of the latter is Uproxx's Mike Ryan, who Tweeted, "I've never seen anything like this from a technical, visual standpoint. It's overwhelming. Maybe too overwhelming. Sometimes I'd miss plot points because I'm staring at a Pandora fish."

More specifically, Digital Spy's Ian Sandwell called the movie a "visual masterpiece" but noted that its story felt both "thin" and overcrowded by characters. Amon Warmann, who covered the film's premiere for Variety, added that "many of the storylines feel like they have to stop and start." Those are big things to say about a story that runs more than three hours in length, but their opinions were balanced by such critics as Erik Davis, who called Cameron's latest script "storytelling at its finest."

The original Avatar earned a Metascore of 83, which is considered "universal acclaim." Based on what you know of the world in the films, Cameron's vision in general, and what the critics are already saying (see more Tweets below), what Metascore do you think Avatar: The Way of Water will earn?