Avatar: The Way Of Water Review: Spectacle Over Plot


You know what, I liked Avatar: The Way Of Water a lot more than I liked the first one. This is the second of what’s going to be James Cameron’s ‘magnum opus’ set in Pandora, and I really felt like you really got to know the main characters in the movie.

When I watched the first Avatar film, I didn’t really care all that much about any of the main characters involved. However, this time around, I felt differently. I actually really liked Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington) and Neytiri’s (played by Zoe Saldaña) children – I think I prefer them to the parents.

The movie starts off with the Sully family living happily in the trees on Pandora. Jake and Neytiri have had a whole bunch of children. There’s Neteyam and Lo’ak, their two boys; then there’s Tuk, their biological daughter, Tuk; and Kiri (born from Grace Augustine’s inert Na’vi avatar), who’s Jake and Neytiri’s adopted daughter.

Avatar: The Way Of Water introduces the Sully children


Credit: 20th Century Studios

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There’s also a human boy called Spider – who Jake keeps on stating is not part of their family, but more like a stray cat that comes around when he pleases and plays with the Sully children.

He’s actually the son of Colonel Miles Quaritch (the villain in the first movie), who was born on Pandora and was unable to be transported to Earth in cryostasis due to his young age. Well, this idyllic scene all ends when Jake sees that the humans have returned to Pandora, and they are looking for him and basically destroying everything they touch!

Things get worse when Sully finds out that among the new arrivals are “recombinants”, Na’vi avatars with the memories of deceased RDA marines, including Quaritch’s clone, who is their leader and is tasked with the mission of finding and capturing Jake Sully. Sully then decides to run and hide with his family, supposedly in order to protect them. So, they flee to the Metkayina reef people’s clan and ask for refuge.

Zoe Saldaña does a lot of heavy lifting


Credit: 20th Century Studios

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That’s enough plot, and I have to say that the plot in this movie is very much an afterthought, but I’ll go into all that a little bit later in this review. What I will say is that when it comes to the movie’s performances, Zoe Saldana does a lot of heavy lifting in Avatar: The Way Of Water.

She’s brilliant, as usual, and I would have liked to have seen her get a little bit more screen time in the film. I still think that Jake Sully is an incredibly dull lead character.

That said, I don’t really think he and Neytiri are considered lead characters anymore by James Cameron and the movie’s writers. They seem more interested in Kiri (played by Sigourney Weaver), Lo’ak (played by Britain Dalton), and the other Sully children.

I also think that Spider is going to play a very important part in the future films. We’re going to have to wait and see how this all pans out because it looks like Cameron has plans to make about a billion more of these Avatar films.

The plot leaves a lot to be desired, but it might not matter all that much…


Credit: 20th Century Studios

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So, as I hinted at before, plot is very much secondary when it comes to these Avatar films. They are all about spectacle, and this movie looks amazing.

However, I will also say that watching it in 3D is horrible. A three-hour-long 3D film is headache-inducing, and I really don’t see the point of it at all.

I don’t feel that 3D adds anything to this movie. Yes, it adds a bit of depth of field, but you don’t need that. I also think that during the action sequences, it makes everything look like a video game.

I really felt like I was watching a cut scene from a game like God Of War at times. It looks amazing, but it’s distracting, and I wonder whether that would have been the case if I had been watching the movie in glorious 2D. Something tells me not.

Moreover, there were some shots that looks pretty wonky. It almost felt as though some of the scenes had been sped up slightly, which was distracting. The thing is, I’m really nitpicking here, because the movie does look incredible. But, I would highly recommend you try and seek out the film in 2D, not 3D.

Please, watch Avatar: The Way Of Water in 2D! Not 3D!


Credit: 20th Century Studios

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Avatar: The Way Of Water is a proper blockbuster. It’s long, amazing to look at, with an incredible action-packed third act, but it’s super thin on plot and any real character development. That said, I felt like there was a lot more character development here than there was in the first film, especially with the Sully children.

There’s a lot to be impressed by when it comes to these Avatar films, but I really feel as though writing isn’t one of them. It’s a shame, but it’s also something James Cameron doesn’t seem all that interested in, which is fine. He wants us to gaze at the world he’s created with our mouths wide open, and that’s what I did when watching the movie.

The underwater scenes are incredible. Pandora’s biodiversity that Cameron and his team have created is mesmerising, and I’ve never felt so much adoration for a whale-like creature since watching Free Willy! I didn’t really want to leave Pandora, and I’m even thinking about rewatching the movie, but this time in 2D, and that very rarely happens to me!

What do you make of our review of Avatar: The Way Of Water? Have you seen it yet? If so, what did you make of it? We’d love to hear from you, so let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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Good Things

  • Incredible Spectacle
  • The Sully Children
  • Incredible third act
  • Pandora
  • Zoe Saldaña's performance

Bad Things

  • Subpar plot
  • 3D!
  • Odd CGI moments
  • Jake Sully

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