Avatar: The Way of Water Review – Did it sink or swim?


20th Century Fox

Promotional material released for the Avatar sequel ‘Avatar: The Way of Water.’

Kaleigha Arrington, Staff Writer

The sequel to James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster, Avatar: The Way of Water, showcases Cameron’s mastery of cinematography and advancements in CGI. This long-awaited sequel did not disappoint and delivered what decade-long fans have waited for. Jake Sully, a U.S. Marine turned Na’vi, played by Sam Worthington, makes his heroic return to the big screen alongside his wife, Neytiri, played by Zoe Saldana.

Before going to see the film, I rewatched Avatar to give myself a refresher. Though there were some minor plot holes and confusing moments, I definitely prefer The Way of Water. The gorgeous CGI and less self-serious attitude of the sequel had me entertained the whole way through.

At a whopping 192 minutes long, it uses its time wisely to continue its masterful world-building along with the exploration of its many complex characters. The Way of Water begins by explaining how the Na’vi, a race of people living on Pandora, have forced the invasive Resource Development Department (RDD) agents to retreat from Pandora after the events of the first movie.

The narrative revolves around the Sully family after they are targeted by the returning RDA agents from the previous film. They are led by the revived colonel Miles Quaritch, played by Stephen Lang. Afraid for the safety of their children and their tribe, Jake and Neytiri leave the forest to take refuge within the water tribe of Metkayina. I liked how even though The Way of Water continues with its predecessor’s theme of colonialism it brought a new and refreshing perspective. The nail-biting tension between Jake and the leaders of the Metkayina tribe had me on the edge of my seat in the theater.

Jake and Neytiri’s relationship takes more of a backseat in the movie to give their 4 children a spotlight. The dynamic between each of the Sully siblings brings in much-needed comedic relief.

We see each sibling explore their new environment and how they struggle to live up to their father’s expectations. The intimate scenes between each family member are reminiscent of Cameron’s previous work on Titanic.

As Jake and his family go through the islands of the Metkayina tribe, the audience gets a chance to witness the vibrant colors, fascinating animals, and beautiful culture of Pandora. Aside from the imaginative scenery, the combat in the movie feels like something straight out of John Wick. Saldana’s character was so fun to watch especially towards the end and climax with fight sequences that almost felt a little much for the film’s PG-13 rating.

I highly anticipate the next installments in Cameron’s Avatar movie series if he continues to have this level of quality. With rumors of a fire-based tribe expected to be the main threat in the next film, I will definitely be the first in line for a ticket.