avatar: the way of water

Review: ‘Avatar: The Way Of Water’ Is An Awe-Inspiring Cinematic Spectacle

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AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER (2022)

An awe-inspiring visual blockbuster that expands upon the characters and world first introduced to audiences in 2009, Avatar: The Way of Water is a reminder of the power of the cinematic experience.

More than a decade after the events of the first film, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) have a family if their own and, as they find themselves in grace danger, will stop at nothing to protect it. James Cameron is the undisputed king of blockbusters, here delivering a film that dares to go bigger, yet maintains a heartfelt and focused plot that serves as the film’s fuel. Whereas the first Avatar was, among other things, a love story, The Way of Water becomes one of family that brings all of the Sully children into the spotlight. In doing so, the film has an emotional undertone that combines with the fierce action and out of this world visuals to deliver a spectacle not experienced since 2009’s Avatar. Worthington and Saldaña take it up another level from their previous adventure, especially the latter who taps into her character’s motherly instincts, fear, and protective nature for a truly fantastic performance. Kate Winslet and Cliff Curtis both join in on the fun with strong performances while with Sigourney Weaver returning in a creative and impactful way. It’s a powerhouse cast.

What is most remarkable about The Way of Water is how Cameron broadens the world of Pandora to further the dynamics at play, with different tribes, creatures, and locations. For the Metkayina, Na’vi who live just over the reefs of a cluster of islands and are in tune with the sea, the subtle differences in character design is extraordinarily intelligent and neat while the creatures that are roaming the newly-explored (for audiences) habitat are astonishingly unique and pleasing. Most of all, Cameron’s team has built out  new terrain that is simply beautiful, the effects necessary to bring the world to life mind-blowing. From the way the elements such as the water and grass move to the flawless details of each and every Na’vi, whether up close motion capture or far out, The Way of Water left me with my jaw on the floor. 

With a planned five films (and Cameron stating he has ideas for a sixth and seventh), it’s easy to dismiss a sequel for trying to repeat the magic of the first. Here, however, Cameron successfully makes his case for revisiting Pandora and for what is to come, diving deeper with a plot that is more complex, yet accessible and dropping breadcrumbs for the future. You’ll find yourself loving some of the new characters while once again wanting to take a ship to the alluring fictitious world. Most of all, the 3+ hours fly by, the goosebumps are aplenty, and this unparalleled journey was well worth the wait.

Avatar: The Way of Water hits theaters this Friday.

Rating: 5/5

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