Avatar: The Way of Water- Review

Avatar Logo/Wikimedia Commons

Avatar Logo/Wikimedia Commons

Chase P. Gonzalez, Staff Writer

Avatar: The way of Water (2022)- Review

For thirteen years, the world has waited for a sequel unlike any other: the sequel to the magnificently impactful film, Avatar (2009).  It has been that long since the first film came out, and ever since, a captive audience has awaited the next journey into the world of the Na’ Vi, with director James Camron at the helm once again.  So, how does Avatar: The Way of Water (2009) stack up to its predecessor?  Well, one thing is certain, it is definitely bluer than the last one!


It is well known today the impact of the first Avatar film, besides its massive box office load.  How the first film dealt with the environment and themes of conservation of natural life and family provides not only a reason for the massive inflow of people but also demonstrates the story-telling ability of one Mr. Camron.  Of course, the first one was mainly popular because of its renown as the technical marvel that truly introduced the world to VFX (visual effects) of the future; however, what it managed to do well was tell a story about love, love that transitions into a familial feeling that only guides the characters towards their endpoints.  So, its sequel has much to live up to, and it does not disappoint.

CHASE’s Overall Thoughts

Avatar: The Way of Water is, as the trailer for the film mentions, “mighty.”  This movie is everything that the first movie was, but elevated.  Where the first movie introduces the audience to Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington), a down-on-his-luck soldier who finds his place in life, although not necessarily in his world, this most recent edition sees Jake at the height of his power.  By this, he has already had a family of four children alongside his wife Neytiri (played emotionally by Zoe Saldana), so we jump straight into the story.  This story follows the rise of the earthlings once again, having taken over a portion of Pandora once again, although with one key goal- find Jake Sully and kill him.  Whereas the first film just dealt with morality towards the environment, this film deals with that and family, all under a conservationist light (as James Camron himself is an environmentalist).  This calls for more action and intrigue, which can be seen throughout the film.

Still, with such a story, it’s hard not to follow the basic formulas of movies that have come before dealing with similar themes.  Though this film is surely more adult compared to that of, say, Dr. Seuss’: The Lorax, an avid movie fan or theatergoer may easily see what is to come ahead.  By the end of the film, although my father was weeping like a baby in the seat beside me, he definitely had the foresight to say, “I told you so” in the end, expectedly.  That is not surprising, primarily from James Camron, who seems to follow such trends, trends that he really set back in the ’80s and ’90s with the likes of Aliens (1986) and Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991).  But one thing you can always give Camron and his team is that he never disappoints.  The movie’s morals and overall storytelling are beautifully unmatched at the moment, with it providing of a spectacle worth the experience alone.  All the characters are fleshed out in their own ways, perhaps beside one character or so.  They each have a goal though, a motivation that takes them on their journey.  This journey looks stunning, with new environments seen throughout, most prominently that of the water Na’vi.  Anyone in the VFX industry knows that one of the hardest environments to depict on screen is water, and oh man does the Weta Digital team knock it out of the park this time.  As a seasoned yet young movie watcher, I have seen many films that vary in age, all telling me of the evolution of special effects…this film is definitely at the top of that shelf.  If you thought Thanos of the Marvel Cinematic Universe looked realistic, you are definitely in for a doozy with this movie.  Every one of the Na’Vi characters looks so real, and this can be seen through the emotions of the actors that inhabit these roles.  The way the light bounces off the skin of the characters and the glimmer in their eyes makes you think, “maybe this is real.”  I would go as far as to say that this movie is an experience, a very long experience.

The Length of Avatar: The Way of Water

Three hours and 12 minutes, you say?! Yes, this is a long movie, and it can definitely be felt at some points.  You know you’re watching a long movie when you hear a young man in the front row snoring like a pig, as per my experience.  When you reach the middle of the film, the second act, more specifically, story beats, had to be hit, and developments had to be made to certain characters.  In the end, all this development came to fruition in the end although at the cost of the film’s run time.  All of it works, but alike the upcoming third film in the franchise, it could’ve been cut down just a bit.  But what makes up for the time is the beauty of this film, an experience that I would call historical today.  By this, I recommend you go out and see this film in the best way possible, through Imax or preferably XD (i.e., Cinemark theaters).  If you are uneasy sitting in a seat for so long, however, and have no time on your hands to watch a movie about “tall-blue people,” then this movie may not be for you, especially if you’re an at-home movie watcher of today.

“From this, I present My Score: 8.9/10”