Successful Avatar sequel lives up to hype

By Addison Burke, Staff Writer

After a long 14 years, the highly anticipated sequel Avatar: The Way of Water has finally arrived, and I was not at all disappointed. Set 15 years after the first movie in the year 2170, a multitude of new characters are included, as well as those from the first film, like Jake and Neytiri, whom everyone has already grown to adore.

As it has been a while since the first movie was released, this installment began with a short recap to help watchers remember what happened in the previous movie, but it quickly caught up to real time. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) are now parents to five kids, one  of whom is the daughter of Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), who was killed in the first movie. It shows the growth of the children into their pre-teen and teenage years, and we get to know small tidbits about each of the kids.

We also see the return of Colonel Miles Quartich (Stephen Lang) who is now an avatar, hunting after Jake for killing his human form. The colonel is also working with the humans because Earth is dying, and they will soon need a new place to call home, so they are exploring Pandora to see if it can be their home along with the Na’vi.

Despite their efforts to protect their family, Jake and Neytiri decide to leave their forest. They venture to the Metkayina clan in the Pandoran oceans, where they learn how to protect themselves from the dangers of the colonel and learn to live within a new clan, who teaches them how to be one with the water and the creatures that live there.

Regardless of its three-hour running time, viewers never want to look away from the screen for fear of missing a moment or detail of this extravaganza. I know I didn’t want to look away or miss anything. In an interview before the movie was released, Director James Cameron said that if fans missed any scenes when first seeing the movie, “they can see the scene they missed when they come to see it again.”

Full of many twists and turns until the very end, fans were not disappointed at any moment during the movie. Without giving too much away, this is not a movie you want to miss. This new story brings so many new characters that I grew to love, and I felt like I have been transported into the movie without even leaving my seat due to the amazing visuals and effects.

In an interview with NPR, Cameron claimed the movie’s success was due to people loving and caring about the characters. 

“These characters, as you see them, could not be done with makeup. So, you are not going to get that big-eyed, open, empathetic kind of feeling with makeup,” he said.

The franchise is currently set for three more movies to be released over the next five years, and Cameron has already filmed the third movie and parts of the fourth. With this, we will thankfully not have to wait another 14 years between each movie and wonder where these characters will go and how the trilogy will end up concluding. As of Jan. 24, the movie has made over $2 billion, putting it in sixth for the highest grossing movies worldwide, with the first Avatar movie being the top grossing movie ever with $2.9 billion made worldwide. There is still time to catch this irresistible movie in theaters, but if you are unable to make it before it’s gone, it will arrive on Disney+ soon after its run in theaters around the world.