In fact, the director said that when it comes to motion capture and crafting emotive faces, Marvel is “not even close”.
Speaking to ComicBook.com, Cameron was asked if the explosion in superhero movies since the first Avatar movie was released in 2009 has raised the bar in terms of VFX.
“Obviously, the big comic book films have been driving the sheer volume of the industry,” Cameron responded. “The rising tide of technique raises everybody together. It gives you higher quality artists, more tools and plug-ins and code [to use]. You’ve got more talented people writing code out there.”
He added: “Our team at WETA Digital [the New Zealand effects company cofounded by Peter Jackson] is constantly having new hires, and it’s coming out of that pool, so it improves everything. That said, WETA FX, as it’s called now, is the best. Right?
“Industrial Light & Magic [George Lucas’ effects company used by Marvel] does great work, but when it comes to the kind of emotive facial stuff that we’re doing…Thanos? Come on. Give me a break. You saw [Avatar: The Way of Water]. It’s not even close. It’s what WETA did.”
Cameron has previously dismissed Marvel and DC film characters.
“When I look at these big, spectacular films — I’m looking at you, Marvel and DC — it doesn’t matter how old the characters are, they all act like they’re in college. They have relationships, but they really don’t,” Cameron told The New York Times.
“They never hang up their spurs because of their kids. The things that really ground us and give us power, love, and a purpose? Those characters don’t experience it, and I think that’s not the way to make movies.”
The Way of the Water received rave reviews from journalists who had the opportunity to witness a preview screening of the film at its London premiere earlier this week.
It will be released in cinemas – in 3D – on 16 December.