Review: “Avatar: The Way of Water” shows deep themes with a simple story


“Avatar: The Way of Water” is now the fourth highest grossing movie of all time.



Spoilers Ahead

Among adventure, action, drama, fantasy and sci-fi, “Avatar: The Way of Water” is a tale about environmentalism, the struggles of youth and family harmony.

After a 13-year hiatus since “Avatar” became the highest-grossing movie of all time, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) return in the sequel with the same problems and plenty of children who create even more problems.

As the Sky People (humans) invade Pandora again to mine prosperous minerals and age-stopping liquids and ultimately conquer the planet, Jake renounces his status as Omatikaya chief to prioritize the protection of his family. The Sully family flees the forest, seeking refuge with the Metkayina. However, they face hardship in adjusting to their new lives and battling against Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang) reincarnated and the Sky People.

Similar to the first “Avatar,” “The Way of Water” displays a simple but adequate story to reach its goals of character and world building. Director James Cameron expands upon the series’ overarching environmentalism theme through out-of-this-world visuals.

Although the characters are compassionate towards nature, they are not preaching about it. Instead, the audience is forced to empathize with the environment and the beauty of water by being transported to the world of Pandora.

But even within the simple story, “The Way of Water” encompasses deep themes.

Including, but beyond the Sully family, family unity and the importance of compassion are apparent through individual relationships between family members and at a community level when the Metkayina aids the Sullys, despite being exposed to the danger they bring.

Even the main antagonist, Quaritch, acts according to his feelings toward Spider (Jack Champion).

As parents strive to do, Jake desperately wants to protect Neytiri and their children from danger, so he disciplines his children to be some type of marine extension of himself without actually understanding his kids.

The Sully kids, especially Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), want to be “seen” by their father and step out of Neteyam’s (Jamie Flatters) shadow. They cannot help but feel weighed down by their father’s expectations, mixed with the struggles of fitting into the new clan.

The dilemma of being on good behavior while tolerating discrimination versus standing up for themselves but risking banishment makes it harder for the Sully kids to receive their father’s acceptance.

With four more Avatar movies on the way, “The Way of Water” does a masterful job of preparing the audience for the future of the series.

Rating: 9/10