Avatar: The Way of Water debuts in theaters on Dec. 16, 2022. Review by Tom Jorgensen.
Avatar: The Way of Water is a thoughtful, sumptuous return to Pandora, one which fleshes out both the mythology established in the first film and the Sully family’s place therein. It may not be the best sequel James Cameron has ever made (which is a very high bar), but it’s easily the clearest improvement on the film that preceded it. The oceans of Pandora see lightning striking in the same place twice, expanding the visual language the franchise has to work within beautiful fashion. The simple story may leave you crying “cliché,” but as a vehicle for transporting you to another world, it’s good enough to do the job. This is nothing short of a good old-fashioned Cameron blockbuster, full of filmmaking spectacle and heart, and an easy recommendation for anyone looking to escape to another world for a three-hour adventure.
Foreign [Music] [Applause] [Music] Whale lamented in Papyrus subtitle Dialogue that its past was too painful To recount that I realized I had totally Bought into Avatar the way of water the Success of 2009's Avatar heavily Influenced the direction of digital Filmmaking and distribution and though The world has changed a lot in the 13 Years leading up to this sequel some Things never do like how when James Cameron decides to make a sequel he Expands and embellishes the preceding Story in surprising engaging ways Avatar The way of water isn't afraid to be Weird as hell as it doubles down on the Naked sentimentality of the first movie Refocuses The Plot on more interesting Characters and yes it has to be said Raises the high water mark for visual Effects in film all over again Foreign [Music] The way of water Bridges the long gap Between movies with a dense dense Prologue that explains what happened After the resource hungry humans of the RDA retreated from Pandora at the end of The first film after getting their butts Kicked by those big blue kitty cats Defecting Avatar pilot and now full-time
Blue kitty cat Jake Sully and natiri Start a family as the new leaders of the Omatakaya tribe that family grows to Include three biological and two adopted Children and it's the driving force Behind Jake and natiri's decision to Exile themselves after the RDA returned To resume their plundering led by the Practically non-existent General Ardmore She's in like two scenes and there's Another villain the movie spends more of Its time on that one we'll get to him These early scenes deliver a lot of Exposition like a lot of it and Breeze Over important details about the status Quo and the nature of certain Relationships important to the movie at A bladder busting 190 minutes Oh the way of water almost always finds Time to Circle back to reinforce the Most crucial plot elements but it does Mean there will be times where you'll be Searching for a character's name or Their place in the social hierarchy James Cameron's betting that you'll be Too bowled over by what a decade of Technological advancement has done for Realizing Pandora on screen and the Results speak for themselves though we Spend some brief time in the forests of The first film the vast majority of the Way of water takes place in the Territory of the seafaring metcaina Tribe and the vibrant underwater
Ecosystem is an even more dreamlike Palette for Cameron to work with Bioluminescent rainbows from the Flora In the depths refract through the moving Surfaces like the Aurora sun sets on the Wide Horizon bounce off the waves and Cast The Shores in a purple Hue the Thoughtfully designed marine life all Reinforce the sense that Pandora is a Living breathing world even more Effectively than Avatar did but when the Time comes to blow up all that Tranquility in favor of Blockbuster Action it should come as little Surprised that Cameron delivers the Goods even the most chaotic action Sequences are readable thrillingly paced And above all impossible to take your Eye off of an early raid on an RDA cargo Shipment features a train derailment That I was just grinning the entire time For it was like it was basically the Coolest cinematic train crash I've seen Since Super 8 I was taken aback by how Visceral it felt Cameron's Environmentalist interests Remain the Backbone of the larger Avatar plot and His heavy employment of familiar Character archetypes and story devices Feels like a pretty clear message that The navi good guys and Military baddies Are more important as a collective than Individually and if we're talking Archetypal characters we have to talk
About Cameron's decision to quite Literally revive Stephen Lang's miles Porridge as the way of waters primary Villain court is hyper Macho drill Sergeant Persona felt dated back in 2009 It was a little more than a vessel for All the worst aspects of Avatar's themes Of colonialism but Lang's seen chewing Enthusiasm always kept the character Interesting courage gets his second Chance at Revenge thanks to a navi body Of his own and his Newfound physical Prowess gives him even more Swagger than He already had his personal Vendetta Doesn't get fleshed out with long Monologues about the nature of life or The expectations of a military man it's Made manifest in the simple fact that Even given a new lease on life he's Still gunning for the sullies after all This time Lang manages to showboat Without feeling like a Showboat with all The subtlety of Courage holding his own Human skull in Grand Hamlet fashion Though there are some new wrinkles to The character that suggest a little more Depth than the way of water has time for Yes even at three plus hours long the Way of water is in no rush to expand the Franchise's universe and after a decade Plus of seeing the pros and cons of Interconnected storytelling that Actually serves this experience pretty Well thanks in no small part to a shift
In focus to the Next Generation the way Of water has far more room for levity Than its self-serious Forerunner Jake And natieri's kids bicker and tease they Get into scraps with their new tribe Mates but above all they stick together Cameron invests a lot into middle kids Lowak and Kiri as the new Representatives of the Navy's Warrior And spiritual leanings with each Struggling to understand their place Spider these Sully's adopted human child Doesn't get quite as much time with his Siblings because of how the story Progresses but his mix of feral energy And wisecracking attitude help him stand Out he's kind of like aliens Newt meets The Flintstones Bam Bam the eldest and Youngest Sully children have little to Do and get lost in the shuffle apart From when someone needs to be endangered To keep the plot moving with the Sully Kids taking Center Stage Jake and Natiri's role in the story is Proportionally diminished and that's Okay by me Jake is no more interesting a Character than he was last time around But he does have utility here as as a Tough father figure for his kids to Struggle to live up to Zoe Saldana's Natiri feels like the Legacy character With the least to do mostly advocating For her kids to a distracted Jake the Leaders of the metcaina tribe played by
Cliff Curtis and Kate Winslet are cut From a very similar cloth to Jake and Natieri and often end up feeling Redundant as a result and though the Vast majority of the way of water's Technical gambits do pay off missteps in That Arena are even more glaring like Some of those Panther things from the First movie come back and they don't Look as good as the other things in the Movie but specifically Cameron overplays His hand in how he brings one of Jake And materi's children to life Kiri the Eldest Sully daughter is voiced and Played in performance capture by Sigourney Weaver and her connection to The late Dr Grace Augustine is an Important story point but the choice to Have Weaver play his younger Incarnation Is frequently distracting it's less to Do with the idea of an adult playing a Child by a mocap and more than fact that Well it's Sigourney Weaver of course Weaver's game for the attempt she's Sigourney Weaver but pitching her voice Up and shrinking her Navi body down Isn't quite enough to bridge The Uncanny Valley of hearing an icon an icon in Cameron's own filmography no less being Transposed into an adolescent [Music] I'm tired of the way of water Thoughtful Sumptuous return to Pandora One which fleshes out both the mythology
Established in the first film and the Sully family's place therein it may not Be the best sequel James Cameron has Ever made that is an impossibly high bar To clear but it's easily the clearest Improvement on the film that preceded it The oceans of Pandora see lightning Striking in the same place twice Expanding the visual language the Franchise has to work with in beautiful Fashion The Simple Story may leave you Crying cliche but as a vehicle for Transporting you to another world it's Good enough to do the job this is Nothing short of a good old-fashioned Cameron Blockbuster full of filmmaking Spectacle and heart and an easy Recommendation for anyone looking to Escape to another world for a three-hour Adventure thanks for watching hey if You're not quite ready to leave Pandora Just yet check out some of our other Avatar videos and as always be sure to Follow And subscribe wherever you like To watch IGN [Music] Foreign