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James Cameron says MCU isn’t “even close” to Avatar 2’s effects

James Cameron talked about the state of visual effects in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in light of his upcoming animated movie Avatar 2

The Na'vi in the original Avatar movie

With its elaborate visual effects, upcoming animated movie Avatar 2 is rumoured to have a budget of up to $6 billion. With the science fiction movie taking place in the otherworldly Pandora, the actors utilize extensive motion-capture technology before their characters, the humanoid N’avi, are brought to life in post-production.

In a recent interview with Comicbook.com, Cameron shared more about Avatar 2’s visual effects process and how they compare to Marvel movies. “Obviously the big comic book films have been driving the sheer volume of the industry… the rising tide of technique raises everybody together,” he explained. “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 continued, “Our team at WETA Digital is constantly having new hires, and it’s coming out of that pool. So it improves everything. That said, WETA Effects, as it’s called now, is the best. Right? Industrial Light & Magic 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 2]. It’s not even close. It’s what WETA did.”

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Marvel’s visual effects department has been under extra scrutiny recently because in the summer, a number of purported VFX employees slammed Marvel’s working conditions for animators, claiming that the studio often doesn’t give animators enough time to work on projects and even caused some to leave the industry altogether. Simultaneous to this, Marvel series She-Hulk was released, with the CGI on the MCU character in Hulk form being widely mocked in terms of quality.

If you want to delve deeper into the world of animation, check out our guides to the best Pixar movies, best anime movies, and best animated series. Avatar 2 hits theatres on December 16, 2022.