Updated On: March 29, 2024 by   Pansieh Gharib   Pansieh Gharib  

The Way of Water

2022

PG - 13

3h 12m

Avatar: The Way of Water, a Sequel Worth the Wait

Over a decade after James Cameron’s groundbreaking Avatar captivated audiences, we return to the vibrant world of Pandora in Avatar: The Way of Water. This visually stunning sequel dives deeper than ever before, exploring the breathtaking underwater realms and introducing us to the evolving lives of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) as they […]

7.6/10

Review

Over a decade after James Cameron’s groundbreaking Avatar captivated audiences, we return to the vibrant world of Pandora in Avatar: The Way of Water. This visually stunning sequel dives deeper than ever before, exploring the breathtaking underwater realms and introducing us to the evolving lives of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) as they navigate parenthood, defend their home, and confront familiar threats.

While the film’s dazzling visuals will undoubtedly amaze audiences, Avatar: The Way of Water transcends its technological marvels by weaving a narrative rich with heart and purpose. It delves into themes that resonate deeply in today’s world: the delicate balance of environmental protection, the enduring strength of family bonds, the complexities of overcoming trauma, and the importance of fostering emotional intelligence.

Through the lens of the Sully family’s struggles and triumphs, the film explores the universal challenges of raising children, navigating cultural differences, and grappling with the consequences of past conflicts. It reminds us of the power of community, the importance of standing up for what we believe in, and the enduring hope in the human spirit.

Avatar: The Way of Water Plot Summary

More than a decade after leading the Na’vi to victory against the human invaders, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) have built a family amongst the Omaticaya clan. However, their peaceful existence is shattered when the “Sky People” return, with a renewed thirst for Pandora’s resources and a vengeful Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang) reborn in a Na’vi body. Avatar: The Way of Water Plot can be summarised through six central notions:

Connecting with the Environment 

Forced to flee their forest home, Jake and Neytiri seek refuge with the Metkayina, a water-dwelling Na’vi tribe. This introduces us to the stunning biodiversity of Pandora’s oceans, highlighting the delicate balance of the ecosystem and the devastating consequences of human exploitation. The film subtly critiques environmental destruction and emphasises the importance of living in harmony with nature.

Dealing with Trauma

Both Jake and Neytiri carry the emotional scars of past conflicts. Jake grapples with the guilt of his role in the initial human invasion, while Neytiri struggles with losing her home and loved ones. Their experiences showcase the lasting impact of trauma and the importance of healing and forgiveness.

Parenting Struggles

The film portrays the complexities of raising children in a dangerous world. Jake and Neytiri face challenges in guiding their biological and adopted children, navigating cultural differences, and fostering emotional intelligence within their family unit. Their journey highlights the sacrifices and triumphs of parenthood, emphasising the importance of communication, understanding, and unconditional love.

Emotional Management

The film explores the characters’ anger, fear, and grief struggles. We see Jake grappling with his protective instincts and Neytiri wrestling with her desire for vengeance against the humans. Through their journeys, the film emphasises the importance of managing emotions constructively, finding healthy outlets for expression, and fostering empathy and understanding.

The dilemma manifested in other characters, too, especially the young children. Each struggles to strengthen their place in the new world they joined. Also, each bears the consequences of their actions and choices as the plot unfolds.

Patriotism

The Na’vi’s fierce defence of their home against the invading humans can be seen as a representation of patriotism. However, the film avoids simplistic portrayals, instead showcasing the devastating consequences of blind nationalism and the importance of seeking peaceful solutions through intercultural dialogue.

Friendship

The bond between Jake and Neytiri remains the story’s core, showcasing the enduring power of love and friendship. Additionally, the film emphasises the importance of inter-tribal unity amongst the Na’vi clans as they face a common enemy. These portrayals highlight the significance of solid social connections and collective action in overcoming adversity.

Exploring the Main Characters in Avatar: The Way of Water

Since Avatar: The Way of Water is a long-awaited sequel, exploring how the main characters evolved is worth our focus. Let’s delve deep into some of the main characters of Jake Sully, Neytiri, Kiri, Lo’ak, and Tsireya, along with the central notions mentioned in the previous section.

Jake Sully

Jake Sully’s journey in Avatar: The Way of Water portrays him as a complex character grappling with various contemporary themes. Here’s an overview of his development through the lens of the discussed ideas:

Connecting with the Environment 

Having embraced the Na’vi way of life, Jake becomes a vocal advocate for protecting Pandora’s environment. He witnesses the returning humans’ destructive potential first-hand and understands the crucial role the Metkayina play in maintaining the ecological balance. This motivates him to fight for their survival, showcasing a shift from his initial outsider perspective to one of deep environmental consciousness.

Dealing with Trauma

The film delves into the lingering effects of past conflicts on Jake. He carries the guilt of his actions during the initial human invasion, struggling to reconcile his past identity with his current role as a Na’vi leader. This internal conflict manifests in his protectiveness towards his family and his initial resistance to seeking refuge with another clan. However, through his experiences and Neytiri’s guidance, he gradually confronts his trauma and embraces the importance of forgiveness and moving forward.

The attempt to escape from pain is what creates more pain.

Gabor Maté

Parenting Struggles

Jake’s role as a father takes centre stage in the sequel. He navigates the challenges of raising biological and adopted children within a diverse cultural setting. He grapples with balancing his protective instincts with fostering his children’s independence and respecting their identities. This journey highlights the complexities of modern parenthood, emphasising the role of communication, cultural understanding, and promoting emotional intelligence within the family unit.

Emotional Management

While Jake demonstrates leadership qualities, he struggles with managing his emotions, particularly anger and fear. Witnessing the threat the returning humans pose triggers his protective instincts, leading to impulsive decisions and potential conflict. However, through his interactions with Neytiri and the Metkayina, he learns to channel his emotions constructively, seeking peaceful solutions and prioritising dialogue over violence.

Patriotism

Jake’s initial portrayal as a soldier fighting for his people is contrasted with his current role as a protector of the Na’vi. He recognises the destructive consequences of blind nationalism and the importance of forging alliances beyond tribal boundaries. While he fiercely defends his adopted home, he advocates for peaceful coexistence and intercultural understanding, offering a nuanced perspective on patriotism that transcends simplistic portrayals.

Friendship

Jake’s bond with Neytiri remains the cornerstone of his character. Their unwavering love and support are a source of strength throughout their challenges. Additionally, he forms new friendships within the Metkayina clan, highlighting the importance of fostering connections and building trust beyond cultural differences. These relationships demonstrate the power of friendship in overcoming adversity and promoting unity.

Neytiri

In Avatar: The Way of Water, Neytiri emerges as a powerful and multifaceted character, shaped by her experiences of loss, love, and unwavering devotion to protecting her home and family. Here’s an overview of her development through the lens of the discussed themes:

Connecting with the Environment 

Deeply connected to Pandora’s natural world, Neytiri embodies the fierce spirit of the Na’vi and their commitment to environmental stewardship. Witnessing the destruction caused by the returning humans strengthens her resolve to defend Pandora’s delicate ecosystem. She guides Jake and their family towards a sustainable life with the Metkayina, highlighting the importance of living in harmony with nature and preserving its delicate balance.

Dealing with Trauma and Emotional Management

The film explores Neytiri’s emotional scars from the past, particularly the loss of her home and loved ones during the initial conflict with the humans. These experiences fuel her initial anger and desire for vengeance, creating internal conflict as she grapples with the desire to protect her family and the need for forgiveness. However, through her love for Jake and her children, she finds strength and seeks healing, demonstrating the resilience of the human spirit in the face of trauma.

Parenting

Neytiri embodies the strength and unwavering dedication of a mother. She fiercely protects her children, both biological and adopted, while fostering their individual identities and cultural understanding. She guides them through the complexities of navigating two cultures, emphasising the importance of communication, respect, and embracing their unique heritage. This portrayal showcases the multifaceted nature of motherhood, highlighting the challenges and joys of raising children in a diverse and ever-changing world.

Patriotism

Neytiri’s unwavering devotion to her people and their way of life reflects a deep sense of cultural pride and patriotism. She fiercely defends the Na’vi’s right to self-determination and their connection to their ancestral home. However, her experiences also foster a broader perspective, encouraging collaboration and understanding between different Na’vi clans in the face of a common threat. This nuanced portrayal avoids simplistic portrayals of patriotism, emphasising the importance of unity and cultural exchange.

Friendship

Neytiri’s bond with Jake remains the core of her character. Their unwavering love and support are a constant strength throughout their challenges. Additionally, she forms new friendships within the Metkayina clan, demonstrating the importance of building trust and fostering connections beyond cultural boundaries. These relationships showcase the power of friendship in promoting unity and providing support during adversity.

Kiri

Kiri, the adopted daughter of Jake and Neytiri in “Avatar: The Way of Water,” emerges as a captivating and enigmatic character shrouded in mystery. Her unique connection to Pandora’s environment and her struggles with identity and belonging offer a compelling lens through which to explore the film’s thematic core:

Connecting with the Environment

Unlike Na’vi, Kiri possesses an innate and seemingly mystical bond with nature. She effortlessly interacts with Pandora’s flora and fauna, exhibiting an almost intuitive understanding of the ecosystem. This connection highlights the film’s message of environmentalism, showcasing the intricate web of life and the importance of respecting nature’s delicate balance.

Dealing with Trauma

The film hints at the potential trauma surrounding Kiri’s birth, with the ambiguity surrounding her biological father left unresolved. This unspoken trauma manifests in her feelings of isolation and confusion about her identity. However, through her connection to nature and the support of her family, she begins to find solace and acceptance, demonstrating the potential for healing and growth despite unresolved past experiences.

Emotional Management

As a young teenager navigating the complexities of her identity, Kiri grapples with emotional fluctuations. She experiences confusion, frustration, and loneliness, often feeling like an outsider within her own family. However, through her interactions with others, particularly her adoptive siblings and the ocean creatures she connects with, she learns to express her emotions constructively and build meaningful connections.

Patriotism

While not directly involved in the conflict with the humans, Kiri’s existence embodies the unique cultural blend of the Na’vi. Her mixed heritage challenges traditional notions of belonging and identity within the clan structure. This subtly encourages a broader perspective on patriotism, moving beyond tribal boundaries towards a more inclusive and accepting community vision.

Friendship

Despite facing initial challenges due to her unique nature, Kiri finds solace and understanding in her connection with others. Her bond with her adoptive siblings, particularly Lo’ak, provides a sense of belonging and acceptance. Additionally, her ability to communicate with Pandora’s creatures fosters unique friendships, highlighting the importance of building connections beyond traditional limitations.

Lo’ak

Lo’ak, the middle son of Jake and Neytiri in Avatar: The Way of Water, embodies the quintessential rebellious teenager grappling with identity, family dynamics, and the looming threat to his home. His journey through the film offers a compelling exploration of several key themes:

Environment:

Despite being part of the Omaticaya clan, Lo’ak feels strongly connected to the ocean and its inhabitants. He yearns to explore the underwater world and forge his connection with nature, mirroring the film’s emphasis on environmental responsibility. His curiosity and fascination with Pandora’s diverse ecosystems highlight the importance of respecting and understanding the delicate balance of the natural world.

Dealing with Trauma

Lo’ak carries the emotional weight of witnessing his home destroyed and his people displaced. This trauma manifests in his rebellious behaviour and impulsive actions, often putting him at odds with his parents and authority figures. However, through his experiences and the guidance of others, he begins to process his emotions and find healthy ways to express himself, demonstrating the potential for healing and growth in the face of adversity.

Emotional Management

Lo’ak’s emotional journey is marked by impulsiveness, frustration, and a constant struggle to prove himself. He often acts out of anger and defiance, leading to conflict within the family and with others. However, his connection with the ocean and the Tulkuns, a sentient whale-like species, teaches him valuable lessons about patience, empathy, and responsible use of his emotions. This growth highlights the importance of emotional intelligence and navigating complex situations with self-control and understanding.

Patriotism

While Lo’ak initially strongly attains loyalty to his Omaticaya clan, his experiences with the Metkayina and the Tulkuns challenge his perspective. He recognises the importance of unity and collaboration among different Na’vi clans facing a common enemy. This broader perspective transcends simplistic notions of patriotism, encouraging understanding and cooperation beyond tribal boundaries.

Friendship

Lo’ak’s strong bond with his siblings, mainly his younger sister Tuk, gives him a sense of belonging and support. However, his rebellious nature often creates friction within the family. His unlikely friendship with Payakan, an ostracised Tulkun, becomes a source of comfort and understanding. This unique connection highlights the power of friendship in fostering empathy, acceptance, and personal growth.

Tsireya

Tsireya, the daughter of the Metkayina clan leader Tonowari, emerges as a pivotal character in Avatar: The Way of Water. Her role as a bridge between the Sully family and the Metkayina, coupled with her own unique experiences, offers valuable insights into the film’s central themes:

Connecting with the Environment

Raised within the deeply connected Metkayina clan, Tsireya deeply respects Pandora’s ocean environment. She possesses exceptional skills in navigating the underwater world and forging connections with its inhabitants. This portrayal strengthens the film’s message of environmentalism, highlighting the interconnectedness of all living beings and the importance of living in harmony with nature.

Dealing with Trauma

Tsireya’s trauma is manifested in dealing with the loss and destruction inflicted upon them by the sky people. In Avatar, most characters are driven by rage and loss. The ability of this young princess to draw the line between her traumatic feelings and duty was impressive.

Friendship

Since the beginning, Tsireya has embraced the newcomers. She viewed their differences with curiosity rather than with threat. She was keen on teaching them the ways of water and equipping them to survive. In addition, she was the only member who accepted Lo’ak. Treating his impulsiveness with kindness and listening to his point of view, Tsireya portrays an accepting friend open to including others.

Avatar: The Way of Water Movie Makers and Cast 

  • Director: James Cameron
  • Writers: James Cameron, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Josh Friedman, Shane Salerno
  • Producers: James Cameron, Jon Landau

Cast

  • Sam Worthington as Jake Sully: A former human soldier who became an avatar and leader of the Omaticaya clan.
  • Zoe Saldana as Neytiri: A fierce Na’vi warrior and Jake’s mate.
  • Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine (in a new avatar body): A scientist who previously studied Pandora’s flora and fauna.
  • Stephen Lang as Colonel Quaritch: A ruthless human military leader who returns in a Na’vi body.
  • Kate Winslet as Ronal: The leader of the Metkayina clan and Tonowari’s wife.
  • Cliff Curtis as Tonowari: The leader of the Metkayina clan and Ronal’s husband.
  • Joel David Moore as Norm Spellman: A former human scientist who now works with the Na’vi.
  • CCH Pounder as Mo’at: The spiritual leader of the Omaticaya clan and Neytiri’s mother.
  • Giovanni Ribisi as Parker Selfridge: The ruthless Resources Development Administration (RDA) administrator.
  • Dileep Rao as Dr. Max Patel: A human scientist who works with the Na’vi.
  • Matt Gerald as Corporal Lyle Wainfleet: A human soldier loyal to Quaritch.
  • Jamie Flatters as Neteyam: Jake and Neytiri’s eldest daughter.
  • Britain Dalton as Lo’ak: Jake and Neytiri’s middle son.
  • Trinity Bliss as Tuktirey (Tuk): Jake and Neytiri’s youngest daughter.
  • Bailey Bass as Tsireya: Tonowari, Ronal’s daughter and Lo’ak’s love interest.
  • Jack Champion as Spider: A human boy raised by the Omaticaya clan.
  • Duane Evans Jr. as Rotxo: A skilled hunter and warrior of the Metkayina clan.

Conclusion

While the conflict with the humans remains unresolved, Avatar: The Way of Water leaves us with a message of hope and resilience. It reminds us of the enduring power of family, the importance of environmental responsibility, and the potential for healing and unity even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. The film paves the way for future instalments, leaving audiences eager to see how the story of Jake Sully and the Na’vi unfolds in the breathtaking world of Pandora.

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