Avatar: The Way Of Water (2022)

Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the extrasolar moon Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their home.

Sequels are more often than not, completely unnecessary.  After watching the original Halloween movies recently, I would argue that Halloween was a perfect stand alone film, but watch the sequel straight after, and you can’t argue that it was virtually required.  Likewise for The Terminator – an absolutely perfect stand alone film, but almost a decade later, Terminator 2: Judgment Day comes along and finds a way to continue the story in a way that made it not just the greatest sequel of all time, but perhaps one of the greatest films of all time. 

Which leads us directly into James Cameron and his Avatar films. 

The first Avatar was visually stunning, and a very well constructed cinematic experience.  It has its detractors, but it went on to be the highest grossing film of all time.  That said, it came to a logical conclusion, and did not require a sequel. 

Yet here we are early in 2023, and Avatar: The Way of Water is the talk of the town, and already on track to do massive business.  

As far as unnecessary sequels go, you can file The Way of Water in the upper echelons.  It’s a very worthy love letter to the first film, and the world building that Cameron began in the predecessor, and looks to continue in three more sequels to come. 

Once again, visually stunning and captivating sceneries are the draw card here.  The story is second fiddle to the land and seascapes on display, and rightly so, as the story is extremely reliant on the ocean setting. 

Much like the first film, there are themes of race, culture and environmental and political issues at its core, but they will likely go over most viewers heads, simply because there’s so much going on.  

Say what you will about the story – effectively it takes the two main characters from the first film, transports them to a different area of Pandora, the ocean, re-introduces the villain from the first film with a difference, and adds some younger characters – who will no doubt pick up the mantle and carry us in to films 3, 4 and 5.  Yes, it’s a little predictable and even a tad cringy in parts, but it is a decent and immersive experience. 

At 41 years old, I found myself holding my breath during underwater scenes, and caught myself on the edge of my seat with wide eyes and raised eyebrows more than a few times.  So it’s doing something right…

It’s a good watch.  I think I might have even liked it better than the first… 


Shayne McGowan

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