Jake Sully and Ney'tiri have formed a family and are doing everything to stay together. However, they must leave their home and explore the regions of Pandora. When an ancient threat resurfaces, Jake must fight a difficult war against the humans.
Director: James Cameron
Cast: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Stephen Lang, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Giovanni Ribisi, Dileep Rao, Matt Gerald, Sigourney Weaver, Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement, Brendan Cowell
Release Date: December 16, 2022
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Rated PG-13 for sequences of strong violence and intense action, partial nudity and some strong language
Runtime: 3h 12m
The first Avatar was a huge film and leave it to James Cameron to deliver a larger more immersive experience with the sequel Avatar: The Way of Water. Cameron's film delivers some truly awe-inspiring visuals which feel like another high point in technical achievement akin to Star Wars or Jurassic Park. So much so that this is the first film since the original Avatar that'd I'd recommend be seen in 3D. The massive world that is painted onscreen is so incredibly detailed and vibrant that it's almost overwhelming. Cameron is fully aware of what he's achieved and reiterates the point with a handful of "wow" sequences which simply serve to show off the technical tenacity even if it doesn't do much for the actual story. The story does tend to take a backseat to the overall experience almost to a detriment.
This entry's plot focuses more on family/legacy drama with splashes of the overreaching conflict from the original. It’s fairly straightforward with nearly everything playing out the way you'd expect with a scant amount of surprises. It doesn't help matters that the story is so large and expansive that it lacks a defined focus even with a heavy emphasis on characters. Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña's characters from the original still anchor the film but they play more of a secondary supporting role here with the film focusing more time on their children.
Those characters are lead by Sigourney Weaver, Jamie Flatters and Britain Dalton and do their best with fairly clichéd roles. Their characters are the film's focus, but they are never as engaging as they should be. Stephen Lang fairs slightly better here as the resurrected Na'vi avatar of Colonel Miles Quaritch. Lang, again, nails the gruff, laser focused solider with the script adding a subplot with his son who's gone native in his absence. His son, Miles "Spider" Socorro, played by Jack Champion is one of those characters that stands out for all the wrong reasons. Champion isn't a strong enough of a performer to make the character work even though he serves an important role in the story. It’s a shame because it does take you of the moment every time he pops up on screen.
It’s one of the few glaring missteps overall but it's easy to overlook especially once the final act starts. Cameron delivers a hodgepodge of his greatest hits by borrowing moments and beats from Aliens, The Abyss, Terminator and Titanic in a rousing finale which reminds you why he's one of the best big film directors in history. Avatar: The Way of Water is a testament to his talent as a director and his ability to deliver the kind of memorable big screen experience which have been lacking in the current glut of superhero.
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