Avatar The Way of Water reviews range from one to five stars as critics disagree over sequel
Avatar: The Way of Water has divided film critics, with some awarding James Cameron's sequel just one star, while others gave it five.
The next installment of the sci fi adventure set on the mysterious planet of Pandora - starring Zoe Saldana, Kate Winslet, Sigourney Weaver and Sam Worthington - has been branded superficial and cliche by some, while others were mesmerised by the spectacular visual effects.
The Telegraph's Robbie Collin gave the film one out of five stars and aid watching the film "feels like being waterboarded with turquoise cement".
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He branded the dialogue corny, the plot meaningless "franchise-elongation", dismissed the celebration of nature by using computer generated imagery and said the length of the film would test audience's patience.
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In contrast Nick De Semlyen of Empire magazine awarded the film five stars, celebrating it as "eccentric, soulful, joyous, dark and very, very blue."
He said the movie reminded viewers of what cinema is capable of and called director Cameron "master and commander of making your jaw drop."
But even he admitted that at over three hours the film may be too long, dubbing it "The Way Of Wishing You Hadn’t Drunk That Water."
The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw gave Avatar 2 two stars and his harsh comments included calling it "soggy", "a trillion-dollar screensaver" and he complained the plot was "floating bland" and the images uninteresting and cliche.
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Others took issue with the running time.
The Times' Kevin Maher offered a two star review and also took issue with the its length. He said: "Pandora is a mildly diverting place to visit for a couple of hours, probably 90 minutes at best. There is nothing here that warrants a near three-and-a-quarter-hour trip. By the end, it’s aggressively uninteresting."
The Daily Mail's Brian Viner gave the film four stars but said: "This sequel is tremendous fun, even bigger and better than the original, but by golly it will test your bladder."
Danny Leigh of the Financial Times quipped: "At over three hours, you will have time to quietly mull geopolitics, as well as holiday plans, meeting schedules and recipe ideas."
The Evening Standard's Charlotte O'Sullivan was positive overall, awarding it four stars, but admitted: "Plot-wise, this movie is treading water. But that's fine, because the water's lovely."
The Independent's Clarisse Loughrey gave the film three stars and said visual effects were so clear "that it’s the humans here who look fake", but she also found "there’s little heart to its story."
Ian Sandwell from Digital Spy agreed the film is a "visual masterpiece that's often beautiful to behold, but one that doesn't always have the substance to go with its considerable style".
Owen Gleiberman of Variety called the film eye-popping and exhilarating, but concluded: "I’m sorry, but as I watched The Way of Water the only part of me that was moved was my eyeballs."
Metro's Larushka Ivan-Zadeh gave the film three stars and called it "a superior version of those show-reel display loops they use in shops like Currys to show off how good the tellies are."
IndieWire's David Ehrlich graded the film A- and called it "rapturous and awe-inducing".
And The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney hailed the film as "hugely entertaining" and "superb", saying it "successfully marries technology with imagination" even better than the first film and praising "Cameron's "sincerity of belief in this fantastical world that makes it memorable".
Director Cameron, 68, first introduced audiences to the planet of Pandora in the original Avatar film 13 years ago and promised to explore different parts of his fantasy world in each subsequent sequel.
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Avatar 3 has already been filmed and is due for release in 2024.
Avatar: Way of the Water is released in cinemas and IMAX on 16 December.