MOVIE REVIEW: Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)


Directed by James Cameron

For those who will tell me “Yeah, but you need to see it in 3D for the whole experience”:

I know.  But I didn’t.  A movie still has to hold my attention in 2D, and based on that, I’m writing this movie review.

I like James Cameron, and I liked the first Avatar well enough, even though it was a derivative story we’ve all seen before in multiple films.  I am happy to revisit Pandora in all its splendor, with new biomes and new lifeforms — including intelligent whale-like cetaceans.  The allegories are unsubtle.  Perhaps they have to be, in order to have an impact on a dumbed-down modern audience.  For the rest of us, these parallels are a little too on-the-nose.

Was Avatar: The Way of Water a good film?  Sure!  It wasn’t a bad one.  But it certainly was not great.

Too many characters, too hard to distinguish.  Zoe Saldana disappeared in this film.  Sam Worthington is almost second fiddle to Navi: The Next Generation.  The kids are the center stage this time:  Jake and Netiri’s kids, and a human named “Spider” that you will tire of watching run around barefoot in his Tarzan clothes.  Who is “Spider”?  He is the son of Stephen Lang’s character from the first film.  Yes, he had a son he didn’t know about.  But he will, because now dead humans can be sent back to Pandora in new avatar bodies.  Now Stephen Lang’s all blue, but still just as intense.  This time he wants revenge on Jake Sully.  Good thing that happens to line up with Earth’s plan to pretty much do to Pandora what they already did to Earth!

Jake and family must move, so they choose a water clan to join.  They are somewhat welcomed, but of course do not fit in, and the kids have to endure the kind of things that kids endure when they move to a new town in movies.

Because nobody on Pandora dies permanently, apparently, Sigourney Weaver returns as her own CG daughter, which actually works.  She’s the highlight of the film.  Others, like Kate Winslet and Edie Falco, just disappear into this very crowded movie.  Plenty more characters from the original make quick, token cameos.

The first two hours were fine enough.  A lot of world building, showing, and telling.  There’s a lot to see.  Every corner of the screen bleeds beauty.  Too much.  Eventually it becomes numbing.  So much colour, so much water, so much life.  Perhaps this is where the 3D aspect would come as a relief.  You can just…look.

The last hour’s worth of Titanic ripoffs and kid rescues was tiring and I barely finished.

Bring an extra large popcorn.

3/5 stars



  1. I totally disregard your review since you didn’t see it in the Theater & 3D…come one what were you thinking!! KIDDING!! Don’t care, haven’t seen it and when I do, guess what…it will be the small screen in 2D…maybe that small screen might end up being on a 75″ Screen, but still smaller than a theater.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember really liking the first one when it came out, but when I tried watching it a few years ago I was so bored I only made it about an hour into it. This review makes me feel better about completely skipping the sequel.

    Liked by 1 person

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