James Cameron’s long awaited sequel “Avatar 2: The Way of Water” immerses audiences

On Dec. 16, Avatar 2: The Way of Water, the long awaited sequel to the film’s notably popular predecessor, premiered in theaters after 13 years of delayed production, but the wait was undoubtedly worth it.

To start with, the film was genuinely one of the most immersive I’ve ever watched. Revisiting the fictional world of Pandora to continue the storyline from the iconic first movie, the plot followed Jake Sully and his family’s quest to once again evade Colonel Miles Rick Quaritch and the “sky people” after initially staving off the human invasion of the RDA (Resources Development Administration) fourteen years earlier. The four Sully children, Neteyam, Lo’ak, Tuk, and Kiri are close friends with Spider, a Pandora-born human son born to Colonel Quaritch, and the group had formed a deeply rooted connection with one another.

However, as Jake leads a guerilla warfare campaign against the RDA to protect the Na’vi inhabited jungle, Quaritch manages to capture Spider to be taken back with the rest of the crew. After failing to extract any information from him through torture, Quaritch decides to join forces with his enemy in an effort to attempt to learn more about Na’vi language and culture in preparation of an imminent attack. Personally, I really enjoyed seeing Spider’s character development throughout the film since I found his fiercely undying loyalty to the Na’vi tribe, even when forcibly recruited by the RDA, to be an admirable character trait. His sarcastic sense of humor also made him a likable protagonist to root for.

In an effort to seek refuge from the battle torn jungle, Jake and his family move to the Metkayina reef people clan, where they are forced to adapt to the customs of an entirely new lifestyle underwater. Although they are initially mocked by the native tribe for their “unsuitable” physical features, they eventually learn to utilize the water as an integral element of their environment. The colorful visual graphics that accompanied the storyline during the aquatic scenes were truly stunning and innovative, making them come to life. Specifically, the scene in which Lo’ak finds himself being rescued and befriended by Payakan (a Tulkun, whale-like species whom the Metkayina consider to be their spiritual brethren) after nearly being attacked while trying to explore the deep ocean, was a very heartwarming moment. 

However, the hyperrealistic visual graphics the film strived to portray served as a double edged sword: although they helped convey the beauty of Pandora’s aquatic environment, they also proliferated the magnitude of the battle scenes. As Quaritch discovers Jake’s family seeking refuge amongst the Metkayina clan, he captures their children and hold them hostage in an effort to oblige Jake to surrender. In what amounted to be the most climatic battle scene of the film that featured the deaths of countless fighters on both sides, the Sullys, aided by the forces of the Metkayina tribe, valiantly fought against the RAD to take back the Sully children. Although director James Cameron agreed to cut 10 minutes of gun violence from the film, the impact of the heartbreaking scene in which Neteyam is fatally shot by Quaritch while rescuing his siblings from danger cannot be minimized.

“I look back on some films that I’ve made, and I don’t know if I would want to make that film now,” Cameron said. “I don’t know if I would want to fetishize the gun, like I did on a couple of Terminator movies 30-plus years ago, in our current world. What’s happening with guns in our society turns my stomach.”

Overall, I thought the film was extremely well made and the underwater performance capture techniques used to create its aquatic scenes made the viewing experience significantly more authentic. The well bridged storyline from the original Avatar film to Avatar 2: The Way of Water was relatively easy to follow, and the interestingly nuanced character developments have definitely kept me intrigued for the release of future installments in the series, as announced by director James Cameron.