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Fans Think Avatar: The Way Of Water's Trailer Puts Black Panther 2's Visuals To Shame

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" has attained impressive critic and audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes and earned one of the highest weekend openings of 2022 at the box office (via Deadline). But despite all the success it has experienced, some fans have made the bold claims that the MCU sequel's visuals may not necessarily be on par with what was showcased in the "Avatar: The Way of the Water" trailer that played before the movie.

While the long-awaited followup to the 2009 box office powerhouse "Avatar" is much different than the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe film, the two titles share quite a lot in common. They are both sequels of movies that arguably outdid all expectations in regard to critical acclaim, box office returns, as well as Academy Award nominations and wins. The films also introduce an underwater civilization and its indigenous people into their respective and ever-expanding franchises. In addition, they have two well-renowned filmmakers at the helm with incredibly talented casts in the mix, as well as reported $250 million budgets (via Variety and Collider). But these comparisons don't seem to be enough to eclipse an alleged glaring issue made by certain moviegoers regarding the two motion pictures.

The well-crafted features may both reside under the Disney banner and boast approximately the same big budgets, but all of that hasn't stopped certain individuals from claiming a distinct disconnect between the VFX quality witnessed in the preview for "Avatar 2" and what was showcased in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."

Some believe the Avatar 2 trailer may not have been the best opening act for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

The trailer for "Avatar: The Way of the Water" has received over 30 million views on YouTube, and while there may have very well been small details viewers missed, the one thing everybody probably became aware of rather quickly was that returning to Pandora was going to be a visually breathtaking experience. And now it appears that putting that intriguing, beautiful preview in front of "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" has caused quite a stir among fans online.

The debate over whether or not the visuals in the "Avatar: The Way of the Water" trailer are better than what was seen in the "Black Panther" sequel began when u/Mushrommer posted, "Is it just me, or did having the Way of Water trailer play before this make Wakanda Forever [look] really... cheap?" The frustrated user didn't just blindly throw shade either, as the individual went into more detail, writing, "Like usually the MCU gets knocks on the visuals for being all CGI and shot in a soundstage... and yet those are the exact circumstances Avatar was made under. It looks a full generation better." 

To sum things up, the user highlighted that the differences really show if watched in 3D, "I get they're different movies made under different circumstances, but having these release back to back really shows the discrepancy. Especially when you see it in 3D." His ambitious claims about the superb visuals were quickly backed up by u/Stranger_from_hell, who posted, "And way of the water looks great in 2 D too. I will be watching both versions when it hits the theatre." 

Others blame the difference in quality to a decline across the MCU

While some interesting points were made, some just believe it isn't really fair to compare the two. After all, it's no secret the "Avatar" sequel has been in development for much longer, and it's also worth noting that both projects used different strategies to achieve their underwater sequences and cinematography. u/coltsmetsfan614 noted, "Avatar has some of the best VFX of all time, so it's a little unfair to compare them, but I do agree MCU effects pale in comparison." The "Avatar" films are notorious for having excellent VFX work, with one of the first flick's many Oscars being the coveted honor for Best Visual Effects.

The argument about the comparison not being fair didn't fly with other users like u/dwarf_batman, who praised Coogler's direction, the story, and the performances but responded to the debate with, "Yeah but Wakanda Forever is a $250 million dollar movie so not very unfair. I felt that the action scenes and the CGI was not at par even with some other Marvel movies." And the passionate Marvel fan isn't the only one that thinks this way.

Fans aren't the only ones reporting that lack of quality in the VFX work of Marvel films, especially when it comes to criticism of "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." Inverse described Rachel Morrison's work on the first film as "gorgeously textured cinematography," and because she's not on the roster for "Black Panther 2," the outlet believes the sequel "loses itself in standard Marvel murk."

Fans aren't the only ones noticing a difference

It does seem that there are a number of individuals out there noticing that the VFX work within the Marvel Cinematic Universe has declined. There have been several posts on Twitter from Marvel followers discouraged by what they believe is a lack of quality in Phase 4 MCU titles like @UsUnitedJustice, who wrote, "How does a company with so much money consistently put out absolutely awful CGI, AND WHY does the fandom eat it up?"

All Marvel titles are pretty dependent on their CGI, and the need for so much could be related to this issue. "Avatar: The Way of the Water" director James Cameron suggested that an overdependence on technology to tell stories can have a negative impact on a narrative, saying in regards to Marvel, "when I think of films that have epic events in them, like let's say a Marvel Universe film where whole cities get destroyed and so on, they don't feel epic to me" (via Variety). 

There is no denying several people aren't pleased with some of the visuals in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" compared to the promo for "Avatar: The Way of the Water." It will be very fascinating to see what future Marvel movies look like moving forward and how fans will react to what they see in the "Avatar" sequel in its full glory.