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'Avatar: The Way of Water' Review: Improvement Over the First Film

Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

Avatar: The Way of Water is the sequel to the 2009 box office success Avatar, once again directed by James Cameron. The film stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, and Sigourney Weaver. In this film, the sky people, also known as humans, come back to Pandora after over a decade and threaten Jake Sully and his new family. This film took many years to make, and audiences wondered if another Avatar film would ever happen. Cameron could have made other films after Avatar, but stayed focused on making this sequel and the films that will come after it. Filming didn’t even start until 2017. Was Avatar: The Way of Water worth the wait?

Avatar: The Way of Water is a better film than Avatar. It does have a story that seems similar, but does something more unique with it this time. It’s a story about a man protecting his family from a threat from his past. The film is pure James Cameron in more ways than being a sequel to Avatar. It has nods to other previous Cameron films such as Titanic and The Abyss. Cameron also reminds audiences that he is one of the best action directors of all time, as the action is an upgrade from the first film.

It felt like the story picked up a lot quicker this time around and caught my interest early. The special effects work is once again top-notch and the best out of any film in the last few years. The underwater scenes are a game changer for the industry, especially with the motion-capture work. The motion-capture work is great as well. I now understand why Cameron seems so passionate about making these films.

The acting performances are also better in this film. Sam Worthington is a lot better at playing Jake Sully in this film. Zoe Saldana is once again great as Neytiri. Stephen Lang returns as Colonel Miles Quaritch, who now has an Avatar after being killed in the previous film. While he’s not the best movie villain, Lang still gives a very good performance. Sigourney Weaver returns, but plays a different character this time. She is Kiri, the adopted daughter of Jake and Neytiri.

While Avatar: The Way of Water is a great sequel, it’s not a perfect film. The film is longer than it had to be at three hours and ten minutes. The first two acts were well-paced, but the third act felt like it dragged on at times despite having an exciting final battle. It felt like the film could have ended earlier, but things went on longer than they needed to. This is usually a common thing in some Cameron films.

All in all, Avatar: The Way of Water is an upgrade over the first Avatar. The story in this film was better than the first film. The cast gives great performances, and the motion capture work is top-notch. The special effects were the best in the last few years out of any film. The 3D was great and not a waste. It did not have to be over three hours, but most of the film never had a dull moment. This movie made me excited about the future of the Avatar franchise and I can’t wait until Avatar 3 comes out, which is currently in 2024. If you are a fan of James Cameron’s other work besides Avatar, you’ll like this movie or should at least check it out.

Final Grade: A-

What did you think of Avatar: The Way of Water? Let us know in the comments down below.

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