Ever since Avatar released in 2009 and became the highest grossing film worldwide, there has been a polarized reaction towards the movie’s quality.
There are most definitely legitimate criticisms of the film. The story is unoriginal and there are times when the dialogue isn’t the best (unobtainium?). The central love story is admittedly cheesy at times and everyone and their mothers knew Jake would choose the Na'vi over going back to his miserable human life.
There’s also the fact that the movie hasn’t had the cultural impact of a movie like Star Wars where people aren’t quoting the movie or buying its merchandise.
It’s sort of a movie that came and went.
With all of that being said, Avatar is still one of my favorite movies ever and I can’t wait to watch all four sequels on the biggest screen possible. This movie blew me away in the theater and personally inspired me. In my opinion James Cameron told a familiar story very well that always has me intrigued from start to finish.
Most people will agree that this movie looks beautiful and it’s one of the best uses of CGI and motion capture. Cameron along with greats like Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan are the best directors of big blockbuster spectacles. With Titanic and Avatar, he really knows how to make a movie that gets audiences into a theater.
Production on the sequels has officially started recently, and it looks like the delays are over. Avatar 2 will officially release December 2020, which will be exactly 11 years after the original. Avatar 3 will release a year later in 2021, and Avatar 4 and 5 will be out 2024 and 2025.
James Cameron is experienced in directing sequels that are superior to their originals. Aliens and Terminator 2 came out 7 years after their originals, and both are considered to be superior. Those movies took their time to come out.
He could’ve easily chased the money, and made a sequel to Avatar two years later and put the merchandise in everyone’s faces like Star Wars, but he chose not to.
He wanted to take his time and become inspired by exploring the world’s most obscure places. He went to the Mariana trench, the deepest part of the world and most likely became inspired by the things he saw down there.
Another thing that can be said is that Avatar came out right before the boom of cinematic universes like the MCU. Even if this movie was a colossal failure, it still would’ve been a James Cameron film from beginning to end without a need for a sequel. That can’t be said for a lot of blockbuster films now a days, which are mostly following the trend of getting an indie director that the producers will easily control so the film can follow a safe formula while also serving a convoluted film universe.
James Cameron is one of the most successful directors of all time with two of his films in the top five highest grossing films ever, so he will bring his skills to these next films. With the first one out of the way, he now has the chance to do something unique. There are new characters being introduced, and Cameron has said these movies are a family saga that will explore the family dynamics of the Na’vi in the vast world of Pandora. We’ll be seeing new regions of the planet that the first movie didn’t have time for.
While Pandora is a vast world with plenty of things to discover, the movie didn’t exactly shove it in the audience’s faces like a MCU film would. A lot of films in these cinematic universes spend a lot of time setting up their universe and sequels/spin-offs. The only time we saw a bigger world, was when Jake was gathering the Na’vi clans around the planet, but that was a montage that only lasted a couple of minutes. With franchises like the MCU, X-Men, DC, and Star Wars releasing a yearly movie for the foreseeable future, people have already criticized those films for relying on a predictable formula.
I understand why people don’t like this movie and it’s completely understandable to roll your eyes at the thought of four sequels, when his talents could definitely be used for original movies. But this guy knows how to make a movie, and even the biggest detractors have to be slightly curious about what Cameron will bring to the table after 11 years. Fans should give him the benefit of the doubt, because there aren't a lot of big name directors who would tackle on a billion dollar franchise that have nothing to do with a superhero or a galaxy far far away.