Speaking as a decades-long admirer of James Cameron gutslammers, I need to honestly say that I really don’t want to see three more Avatar films…truly, no foolin’. I decided this after seeing Avatar 2: The Way of Water late Friday afternoon. A riveting experience, for sure, but I realized midway through that I might not want to see it a second time. Because it left me with a feeling of aural, visual and spiritual exhaustion that I don’t want to re-experience.

And given Cameron’s stated plan to churn out three more Avatar flicks between now and 2028 (for a grand total of five), I really don’t want to return three more times to that aftermath feeling of being rocked and jolted and pulverized with little to show for it emotionally.

Because Avatar 2 isn’t Titanic. The first Avatar wasn’t either, but it told a great story (four-act structure) and felt like such a major visual event that it seemed extra-historic. Avatar 2 is more of a power-punch workout that an emotional massager or meltdown. I realize that Avatar 3 is more or less completed and there’s no ducking it, but three will be enough, fellas. C’mon, Jim, let it go…move on to something else.

From Owen Gleiberman‘s “Is James Cameron’s Vision for the Avatar Franchise a Dream or a Delusion?” (12.18):

Excerpt #1: “After the original Avatar, when Cameron laid out his master plan to make four sequels to it, my honest thought was, ‘Has he lost his mind?’ Not because I thought the plan was commercially unfeasible, but because I couldn’t wrap my own mind around why the director of Titanic — a timeless and awesome film, because it was one of the most moving experiences in the history of popular cinema — could be saying, with the power to do anything he wanted, ‘I’d like to spend the next 20 years making Avatar films.’

Excerpt #2: “We already have a movie culture that’s drowning in imagistic sensation and action overload. Cameron, in movies like The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, was one of the virtuoso architects of that blockbuster aesthetic. He’s now competing against the very cinema-as-sensation mystique that overpowered the rest of movie culture, even as he raises the ante on it. I felt a note of magic during the middle hour of The Way of Water, which plunges us into the ocean with a kind of virtual-reality immersion. But the film’s extended action climax? That felt like something out of Die Hard VIII: Die Harder on a Boat, only rendered in 3D. At a certain point I thought, ‘So what?'”