Avatar: The Way Of Water had its global premiere lasty night in London. As is usual, many members of the online press were invited. This is known as “long-lead press”. Professional critics from more traditional outlets and media will be seeing the movie in a series of press screenings globally this week.

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These reviews are normally to be treated with at least a note of caution, as they can veer closer to fan reaction and the excitement of the moment, with all the razzmatazz of such events, is almost designed to create positive buzz. However there is usually some dissent. Not this time. The reviews aren’t just uniformly positive, they are raving.

Has Big Jim done it again? Here is what online enthusiasts had to say about Avatar: The Way Of Water following the premiere:

“Happy to say #AvatarTheWayOfWater is phenomenal! Bigger, better & more emotional than #Avatar, the film is visually breathtaking, visceral & incredibly engrossing. The story, the spectacle, the spirituality, the beauty – this is moviemaking & storytelling at its absolute finest… It is Cameron in top form, matching tremendous visuals w/ a VERY entertaining & emotional story that leaves you wanting more. LOVED! I felt similar after #AvatarTheWayOfWater than I did after #TopGunMaverick in that it reminds you why we love movies & why we anticipate big spectacle on the big screen.”

Erik Davis, Fandango

“Trying to spare hyperbole, but I’ve never seen anything like this from a technical, visual standpoint. It’s overwhelming. Maybe too overwhelming…. Someone texted me, ‘what’s the most visually impressive part of the movie?’ And I responded, ‘The whole thing honestly’. Also, I rewatched the first ‘Avatar’ over the weekend and basically settled on ‘that was fine.’ The sequel has much better and deeper character development… this is the first movie I’ve ever seen use the high frame rate trick that I’ve actually liked. Yeah, leave it to James Cameron to crack that one.”

Mike Ryan, Uproxx

“I saw you #AvatarTheWayOfWater – if you think you’ve seen #Avatar think again. Only repeat from the OG is that ‘never experienced anything like it’ awe. Better than 1st? Easily. The 3D water world & creatures are so surreal it is downright moving. There’s a major Titanic homage.”

Nikki Novak, Fandango

“James Cameron once again shows filmmakers how it’s done. I’ve said it a thousand times. Never doubt him. AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER is how you do epic blockbuster-ing. Emotional, visceral, and as big as movies get.”

Josh Horowitz, Happy Sad Confused

“I had faith James Cameron would raise the bar w/ the effects but these visuals are mind-blowing. One stunning frame after the next. But the thing I dug most is how the technical feats always feel in service of character & world-building. As for the story, it’s A LOT of movie & I’m eager for a 2nd viewing to revisit some details, but on 1st watch, it’s a mighty effective exploration of community & family dynamics.”

Perri Nemiroff, Collider

Avatar: The Way of Water has a 190-minute runtime and will be available to us normos at the end of next week, just in time for Christmas.

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If professional critics reviews match those of the junket attendees then it will start to look very much like the doubters, quite a few of us included, might have been wrong about this one. As a fan of movies, sometimes you are happy to be proven wrong like the this.

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