My God, Avatar 2: The Way of Water rerally romps and stomps like nothing I’ve seen in a long while, and the astonishing CG realism (which I couldn’t settle into at first — it took me 10 minutes to find my way into it) is quite the thing, and there’s no beating that last 50- or 60-minute aquatic pitched-battle, breaching-whale, pulse-rifle-burst, arrow-piercing “woo-woo!” destructathon.

A family that fiercely fights together loves all the more…The Poseidon Adventure meets a return-to-Titanic sinkathon + The Abyss drowning trauma + weeping death scene + the wildest, craziest, most vigorously sustained battle lollapalooza ever…worth the price and then some…pays off like a motherfucker.

James Cameron is a drop-dead brilliant action director…let no one ever challenge that statement.

And I’m now determined to practice my Navi cat howl-Māori battle cry.

But so much of Avatar 2 is padded all to hell & is too fucking long, man…it could’ve easily, EASILY been 45 minutes shorter. The narrative pretty much stops in the middle section and becomes a bloated, ultra-costly real-estate video + a tricks-of-under-the-sea survival instructional + Club Med acqua-blue travelogue for glorious Pandora Shores.

The tech is marvelous and bracingly real & every last dollar seems to be on the screen. But there’s something oddly oppressive and even un-entertaining at times about being vigorously assaulted & smothered by so much CG dough…truckloads & truckloads of cash spent by the ultimate wizardly maestro of wildly expensive holy shit superfuck blockbusters. The film is a titanic grand-slam CG toy factory spendathon…whew!

I like the “family is a fortress” theme but my God, I was exhausted when it ended. I’m not altogether sure I want to see it a second time. Variety’s Owen Gleiberman was right when he called it thin. Pic seems to take as much as it gives.