Avatar: ‘The Way of Water’ lives up to first movie

Alexa Amick, Staff Reporter

Nearly 13 years after the release of the first Avatar in 2009, the sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water”, has finally graced the viewers’ screens, both in theaters and now at home. 

Arguably one of the most anticipated sequels in the movie world, many viewers were excited about the prospect of a sequel to the beloved Avatar. Taking a sci-fi approach, Avatar introduced watchers to the world of Pandora in the first movie. It explored the life of the Na’vi, who were subjected to the atrocities of the human world whose own planet, Earth, was actively dying. In a mission to find a new home for humans, they set their sites on Pandora and, in an effort to aid their expansion, they engineer their own genetic version of Na’vi. This sets in motion the explosive life of Jake Sully and the battle between humans and the Na’vi.

“Avatar: The Way of Water”  largely follows the approach of the first movie. It introduces us to the Sully family after the previous events, which now consist of Jake and Neytiri with 5 kids: Neteyam, Lo’ak, Kiri, Spider, and Tuk. They live a peaceful life, however, they are once again thrust into a world of violence as humans from Earth launch a second attempt at colonizing Pandora. Quarritch, a major character from the previous movie who’s been actively trying to kill Jake Sully, once again returns to get revenge on Jake and his family, which ultimately causes them to flee to the Metkayina people who live in the waters of Pandora. For some time, they live in peace, but trouble quickly follows them as tensions rise between the Sully family and the Metkayina people, and the “sky people” eventually come to find their location. 

Compared to the first Avatar movie, “Avatar: The Way of Water”.., relies heavily on the visual aspect of the movie. Notably, the first movie proved itself to be worthy of praise when it came to its visual, which was largely computer generated, CGI, with practical effects. The second installment takes this to the next level as it does all the previous movie does, but largely in the water this time around. It visually creates a world that is very easy to get absorbed in as vibrant colors constantly surround the screen, and new environments are constantly introduced that draw your attention in if you begin to lose interest. 

The story within this installment, much like the visual aspects, also manages to not fall short. It does use the same basis as the previous movie, the people of Pandora fighting against humans is from Earth, but it twists it in a way that still remains interesting by adapting the fighting to an environment that we, as the viewers, are not used to, and by introducing antagonists who may simply be in different, more advanced forms than they were before. 

However, with this, many viewers may find a lot of the movie as filler scenes. With a run time of 3 hours and 12 minutes, it spends a lot of time going into the smaller details that many other movies would not. Many people may not find this level of detail interesting, but for viewers, such as myself, who enjoy knowing the minute details of a movie, it only captivates us more. 

Although, regardless of whether different viewers enjoy different aspects, many people are worried about the concept of other movies in the Avatar series. The Avatar series is set to receive around 5 movies in total, but many worry about the possibility of the series becoming tedious as it revolves around the same concept. This leaves viewers to wonder about what the movie series will pull out of its sleeves to keep viewers interested. Though, for now, watchers will have to wait to answer this question until the full series has been released, with the next Avatar, Avatar 3, set to release on December 20, 2024.