Avatar 2: The Way of Water is an Immersive Experience

Breathtaking visuals and star cast make up for the long run time and weaker storyline.


Image from Cinemazzi.com

On December 16th, 2022, one of the most anticipated movies over the past few years was released. Avatar: The Way of Water, the sequel to the highest grossing movie of all time, Avatar. The film has received critical acclaim, and has already broken the top five highest grossing movies, currently placed at #4, and is set to inch past The Titanic sometime this month. (Fun fact: 3 of the top 4 highest grossing movies ever have been directed by James Cameron!)

Avatar: The Way of Water’s biggest flaw is easily its run time. At an astounding 3 hours and 12 minutes, The Way of Water succumbs to multiple scenes that seem to be stretched to the limit, with each detail being exposed as closely as possible. However, Avatar does a great job at making those three hours easy to invest in—alongside with Avengers: Endgame, Avatar 2 is the only 3 hour long movie where I did not feel the need to leave at any point during the film.

The Way of Water is not primarily an action film. At times it can seem like a documentary, with narration paired with cinematic shots of ‘nature,’ which can pull away from the tension of the plot but at the same time are equally gorgeous. If you prefer movies that are more action-packed and tense like those in the Marvel franchise, then The Way of Water could seem boring and too lengthy. If you go in prepared for an experience, rather than a popcorn movie, then TWoW will be a great watch.

The biggest strength for The Way of Water is, unsurprisingly and undoubtedly, its graphics. It is no stretch to say that TWoW is the most beautiful film ever produced, mixing incredible CGI with actual real life footage. The water animations specifically are easily the best a movie has ever produced. Many scenes, especially the ones underwater, are literally breathtaking. Somehow, The Way of Water has managed to take Avatar’s already revolutionary graphics and elevate it to another level. At the very least, Avatar 2 is the most beautiful movie since its predecessor. If you do want to watch TWoW, then 3D is the way to go. In 3D, the visuals go from ‘breathtaking’ to borderline ‘100% immersive.’ James Cameron seemingly has an uncanny ability to perfect 3D in any film, and Avatar 2 is no different.

Obviously, The Way of Water was set to a high standard following its prequel Avatar —a difficult movie to stay afloat with, especially after a 13 year wait for its fanbase. The Way of Water is much more personally and emotionally investing than the original film, and boasts multiple heart-wrenching scenes that aren’t present in Avatar. Unfortunately, these excellently executed scenes occur deep into the 3-hour film, which can cause them to lose effect after 2 hours of previous run time. Many have criticized TWoW for its subpar plot and writing, and while Avatar 2 does not have the same excellent pacing nor storytelling of its older counterpart, the graphics, acting, and emotional scenes that are present throughout the film make up for its flaws.

The stars of Avatar: The Way of Water are quite clear; Zoe Saldana, who plays Neytiri in the film, perfectly portrays her character, and in my opinion was the best actor of the entire movie. Kate Winslet, who portrayed Ronal, was not only perfect in her kick-butt role, but also held her breath for a crazy 7 minutes in order to complete the final underwater scene.

Overall, Avatar: The Way of Water is an exceptional film that is tainted by its sometimes overwhelming run time. Though I would not say that the movie surpassed its predecessor, it is definitely a beautiful film worth watching if only for the incredible experience. A- / 8.9/10