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Some Avatar: The Way Of Water Fans Have A Contrarian Opinion About That Three-Hour Runtime

A full 13 years after James Cameron's "Avatar" was released in 2009, its sequel has finally made its way to theaters — "Avatar: The Way of Water" was released on December 16, 2022. Directed by Cameron (who co-wrote the script with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver), the sequel is set over ten years after the first film. It centers on Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), now chief of the Omaticaya, and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña). Jake and Neytiri must fight to protect their five children — including adopted daughter Kiri (Sigourney Weaver, taking on a different role than in the first film following her character's death) — against the various hurdles that come their way.

Alongside Worthington, Saldaña, and Weaver, other actors from the first film who have reprised their roles include Stephen Lang, C.C.H. Pounder, Matt Gerald, Giovanni Ribisi, Dileep Rao, and Joel David Moore. Meanwhile, the film also boasts many notable actors, such as Kate Winslet and Edie Falco, who have taken on new roles.

Along with an extended cast, the runtime is another way the sequel stands out from its predecessor. While "Avatar" runs for two hours and 42 minutes, "Avatar: The Way of Water" surpasses the three-hour mark with a three-hour and 12-minute runtime. This is quite lengthy, even for the most dedicated fans — after all, three hours is a long time to sit in a theater. But other fans have a more contrarian opinion about that runtime — here's what they have to say.

Some fans love the long runtime — and even want more

Despite the lengthy runtime of "Avatar: The Way of Water," there are plenty of fans who are more than okay with its length — and took to Reddit to talk about the fact that, ideally, the movie could have been even longer. One user, u/pjtheman, posted on Reddit, declaring, "At 3 hours long, this movie almost feels too short." They then went on to note that it seemed like there was a lot edited out that they would have liked to see. The comments that follow are full of fans in ardent agreement.

One user, u/Any-Yam7849, agreed with the original poster that they felt a lot of content was cut from the final product. They continued, "I gladly would have sat through another hour on top of the three to see. The pace is still immaculate. However — it doesn't FEEL dreadfully long. It clips by and excites all the way through." Another fan, u/itstimegeez, announced that they would have been happy if the third "Avatar" film played directed after "Avatar: The Way of Water" — even though their screening ended at 1:30 am. Further, u/itstimegeez added, "I'm waiting for the extended cut on Blu-ray. Should be awesome!"

While most of the fans' comments are positive — they want a longer runtime because they want more time with the story — u/Billiruben had a more negative reaction to the film feeling too short. They wrote, "that's my main problem with the movie. It's a THREE-HOUR MOVIE that still feels [too] short. It's terribly placed, terribly cut, and the story suffers."

All in all, it's clear that fans have some powerful feelings about the runtime of "Avatar: The Way of Water."

Cameron says the movie is longer because there is more story to focus on

Writer-director James Cameron has addressed the three-hour-plus runtime of "Avatar: The Way of Water" — and has explained that it's longer than the first film for a reason. Speaking with Total Film Magazine in early November 2022, Cameron explained that the new movie has more characters and emotions to focus on, thus the longer runtime (via GamesRadar). After all, the two lead characters, Sully and Neytiri, now have five children together, which requires more story and emotional room.

Cameron continued, "We didn't spend as much time on relationship and emotion in the first film as we do in the second one, and it's a longer film because there are more characters to service. There's more story to service."

With that in mind, it seems Cameron wasn't trying to fit the movie into a specific runtime but rather to tell the story he felt he needed to tell. Cameron said, "The goal is to tell an extremely compelling story on an emotional basis."

"Avatar: The Way of Water" — all 192 minutes of it — is currently available to see in theaters.