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The News Website for Glendale High School


The News Website for Glendale High School


Avatar: The Way of Water

Was it worth the thirteen-year wait?

Warning: This review contains spoilers for the first Avatar movie. If you have not watched it yet, please do so as soon as possible! (You won’t regret it.)

Avatar: The Way of Water is an epic science fiction film directed and produced by James Cameron. It is the first in a series of sequels to the first 2009 Avatar film, which I also previously reviewed

The Way of Water features the main characters from the first film, played by Sam Worthington as Jake Sully and Zoe Saldaña as Neytiri. It also introduces new faces, such as Kate Winslet as Ronal and Cliff Curtis as Tonowari. 

Fans have been waiting thirteen years for the release of a sequel to Avatar, and now it’s finally here! Has it been worth the wait? Let’s discuss!

Avatar: The Way of Water picks up fourteen years after the events of Avatar, following the Na’vi defeat of the humans who invaded Pandora. Jake Sully is now chief of the Omaticaya clan and is raising a family with Neytiri. Their children, Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), and Tuktirey (Trinity Bliss), are learning the ways of hunting, rituals, and the protection of Eywa, as any proper Na’vi child would. 

The Sully family (as they call themselves, despite all of them being Na’vi) have also adopted a young avatar named Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), who was born from the dying avatar of Grace (also played by Weaver) and an unknown father. The kids’ noble companion, and honorary member of their family (or so we thought) is Spider (Jack Champion), the human son of Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang), who seems more comfortable surrounded by the Na’vi than his own people.

The peaceful life of the Sully family is disrupted once humans return to reclaim Pandora, after their irreversible destruction of Earth. (Sound familiar?) Among these humans are avatars that have been implanted with the memories of Quaritch and his deceased soldiers. They have also inherited a personal vendetta of hunting down and seeking revenge for Jake’s betrayal of the humans in the first movie.

After the humans kidnap Spider, and the Omaticaya clan suffers losses caused by the hunt for Jake and his kids, the Sully family decides to flee and seek shelter with the Metkayina, Pandora’s reef clan. 

The Sullys are granted refuge by the chief Tonorwari and his family, only to discover that trouble will follow them anywhere, until an epic battle is fought.

So does the sequel live up to the original?

I’d say so. 

But if you don’t wish to take my word for it, Avatar: The Way of Water grossed just over $1.7 billion dollars worldwide within the first month of its release. It is also the highest grossing film of 2022. The people have spoken, and now I will, too. 

Cameron has not disappointed with the improved cinematics, which took him over a decade to develop, in order to capture the underwater setting. Even if you are not a fan of the new environment, you have to admit that it adds a new layer of depth and complexity to Pandora. 

To put it simply: this is a very beautiful movie. The colors are even brighter and more vibrant than they are in the first film, and the details have been improved to unimaginable lengths. If the first film didn’t already impress you, the second one truly makes you believe in the existence of Pandora. 

With a new Avatar film comes new and fascinating Pandora creatures that every viewer will wish to tame and turn into pets. The main feature of the sequel is the tulkun, specifically Payakan. These friendly behemoths have been modeled after our own blue whales, to show the devastating effect that the whale hunt has had, not only on the whale populations, but on the tribes that have grown connections to them. It’s fascinating to see how viewers will rush to protect an imaginary whale over an actual real one. Good one, Cameron!

It is truly heartwarming to revisit Jake and Neytiri, especially in their new role as parents. I appreciate that these two characters are as much the focus of the movie as their children. This helps avoid the usual cringe accompanying movies that follow the descendants of already beloved characters, since the parents are still portrayed as complex characters, rather than as overbearing protectors (even though there is a hint of that parental trait, too!) 

The mix of different characters being featured in the spotlight of the film kept me at the edge of my seat for all three hours. Yes, folks! THREE HOURS! This is a lovely movie, but it’s one that definitely tested my bladder. Although I wish it could have been somewhat shorter, all the content is essential to the experience.

The character that everyone seems most displeased with is certainly Spider, mainly because of his actions at the end. Many see the final decision made by Spider as a major plot hole in the film, and it is generally dismissed as a means to engineer a sequel, which I agree with. However, I personally love Pandora, and I will accept any outrageous production decisions to keep these movies coming.

The music in Avatar: The Way of Water is just as good, if not better, than the original. My personal favorite is “The Songcord”, which bookends the movie, and is sung by Neytiri to Neteyam and Kiri. In it, she thanks Eywa for the birth and adoption of her two eldest children. I think it is very sweet, and the motherly tone makes me feel all types of warm and fuzzy inside.

A New Star”, which we hear when the human ships are entering Pandora’s atmosphere, is just as spine-chilling and goosebump-inducing, and it gives you the feeling of seeing your homeland destroyed.

From Darkness to Light”, which is featured during a funeral at the end of the film, made me sob uncontrollably. It is like the border between happiness and despair, that makes one feel insanely empty when comparing the potential of what is and what could be

Overall, the movie was worth the long wait (though this is coming from someone who only recently watched the first Avatar). It creates a beautiful picture, with lovable characters, and guarantees three hours filled to the brim with action.

Luckily, we won’t have to wait another thirteen years for another visit to Pandora, as Avatar 3 is hitting theaters near you on December 20, 2024

Just like the first film, The Way of Water was made to watch on the big screen so make sure you run (don’t walk) to your nearest movie theater before the film comes out on streaming services!

About the Contributor
Kristina Kugaevskaya
Kristina Kugaevskaya, Editor-in-Chief
Kristina is a senior at Glendale High School. She is the co-president of the Book Club and the Creative Writing Club, and she is the secretary of the Red Cross Club. In her spare time, she loves reading, baking, and going out into nature. In the future, she hopes to travel Europe and pursue a career in writing.
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