“Avatar: The Way of Water” reveals the significance of family ties


Ryan Lam, Staff writer

In an effort to bring peace to a world devastated by the corrupt ideals of the Sky People, or humans, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his wife, Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), captivate the audience after their self-exile from the Omatikaya clan, the Na’vi species of the forest. From the breathtaking underwater visuals to its elaborate world-building and appealing forest environment, “Avatar: The Way of Water” is a sequel that is worth the 13-year wait.

Following the Sky People’s invasion and the permanent transfer of Jake into his avatar form by the spiritual Tree of Souls connected to Pandora 14 years before the second movie, the extraterrestrial species known as the Na’vi continued to strive, with Jake and Neytiri raising a family of five, including Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), Tuktirey (Trinity Bliss), Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) and Miles “Spider” Socorro (Jack Champion) in the peace of the forest. Jake reveals himself as the new chief of the Omatikaya clan and trains his adoptive and biological children on the culture and skills of a Na’vi warrior. Unfortunately, misfortune arises, and Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) returns as a Na’vi avatar, arranging Pandora for complete human colonization. With a bounty over their head, the Sully family depart for the Metkayina clan, where they dive deeper into the way of water. 

I personally appreciated the scene where Quaritch awakes from his newly created avatar body, feeling confusion and trepidation, as it is a familiar parallel to the first movie when Jake first wakes up in his avatar body, trembling in fear and rage. Despite the variations in perspective throughout the film, I respected that Jake remained the audience stand-in, since it allowed the viewers to understand the dream of living like a Na’vi. His acting portrayed his new character as a father in the second film and I liked that it presented a stark contrast to his carefree and unsteady beginning in the first film. Given the movie’s 3-hour length, I noticed that each character underwent gradual development while expanding their horizons beyond the naked eye. In time, the Sully family acknowledges the universal significance of family ties and how they will always be together to the very end, touching my heart as a viewer. 

Aside from the desperate circumstances, the film’s story structure appears similar to the first film but feels more impactful than the average plot of the antagonist chasing down the protagonist for revenge. Additionally, characters such as Kiri contain deep and complex growth, preventing the audience from fully perceiving her powerful connection to Eywa, the guiding deity of Pandora and the Na’vi,  unless they have watched the first movie. Correspondingly, Miles “Spider” Socorro is captured early on by Quaritch’s recombinant squad, which limits his screen time with the Sully family. As Spider has adapted more to the life of a Na’vi, I would have preferred to watch his comical interactions with Lo’ak and Kiri instead of seeing him held captive by his biological father for the majority of the movie. 

Regardless of the film’s confusing and thought-provoking concepts, it is still an entertaining watch, with each character having their own story to tell and room to progress. As a sequel to the first Avatar movie, the story carries the same blend of elements, such as futuristic science-fiction, phenomenal action, family drama, adventure, fantasy and thriller. Ultimately, the second movie lived up to the hype of the first movie, with the news of a third, fourth and fifth movie making the audience eagerly wait for their upcoming releases.