Avatar: The Way of Water is a phenomenal sequel that wisely chooses not to surpass the original in scale and instead offers a more intimate tale focusing on revenge and the struggle to be a good father whilst still delivering some truly awe inspiring set pieces and advancing filmmaking technology like never before.
Also, as it is well documented that it’s supposed to be part 2 of a multiple film saga it’s so refreshing that the film feels so self contained.
Sam Worthington gives a better performance as Jake Sully this time around, with his character showing more maturity and a stoic nature. Zoe Saldana doesn’t get as much to do this time around but still has her fair share of emotionally powerful moments.
Stephen Lang as Quaritch was one the best parts of the original and here he somehow manages to be even better, bringing more of the expected ruthlessness and tough exterior as well as showing a more human side to the character that’s unexpected but really works.
All of the new, younger actors are superb. They carry their scenes really easily and fit in naturally so it doesn’t bother when the film focuses on them opposed to the adults. The best performance is Jack Champion as Spider whose a joy to watch and is particularly impressive as the only practical element in a lot of his scenes.
James Cameron’s direction is incredible, the CGI is insanely detailed and real, improving vastly on a predecessor that honestly still holds up. He also once again proves that he’s one of few filmmakers to actually understand 3-D and uses it to its fullest. He even makes the higher frame rate good for the most part which is extremely impressive.
The 3 hour 12 minute run time definitely sounds imposing but surprisingly flies by thanks to excellent pacing, keeping the film constantly moving without feeling rushed and is a testament to how a film’s pacing matters way more than it’s actual length.
The music by Simon Franglen is really good, it’s not an easy task to follow in the footsteps of the late great James Horner and even if most of the score is just the old themes recycled it only proves how well they work at evoking the necessary emotions for their corresponding scenes.