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Are Weak Characters and Cliché Storylines the Achilles Heel of the Avatar Franchise?


The sequel to James Cameron’s 2009 Avatar franchise is making waves at the box office after it has crossed the $1 billion mark within its theatrical run, overtaking blockbuster movies of 2022 such as Black Panther and Jurassic World Dominion. It is no surprise that Avatar: The Way of Water reached the milestone since the original movie still holds the title as the world’s top-grossing film of all time.

Avatar Franchise The Way of Water 3
Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

The Way of Water is set ten years after the events in the first installment as the Sully family leave the safe harbor of Pandora to explore the uncharted world. The three-hour-long movie boasts incredible waterscapes, stunning cinematography, and obviously, Cameron’s passion for nature. It’s easy to get lost in the wonderful landscape of Pandora that fans may fail to notice the flaws of the characters and the overused plot of the movie.

RELATED: James Cameron Hints That Avatar 4 Might Get Delayed Despite a Confirmed Release Date from Disney

James Cameron’s Avatar Franchise Has A Simple Plot

Avatar The Way of Water James Cameron
Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

When the first Avatar franchise came out, many had the impression that it seemed too familiar; some referred to it as Pocahontas and FernGully because they have the same narratives. The sequel had a similar theme as the first one, perhaps to keep the consistency, but with a bigger budget and more spectacular scenes.

One of the common themes found in the Avatar franchise is the invasion of an army and indigenous people fighting for their land. While climate activism and protection of the indigenous are noble causes, many other movies had the same overused plot of colonialism.

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Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

Avatar has a very simple plot intended to appeal to the masses. Perhaps Cameron’s point is not just about the narrative but the experience itself. In one of his interviews, the filmmaker’s purpose in creating the franchise is to make people aware of their relationship with nature. He pointed out that most people have “nature deficit disorder” which means we do not engage with our environment as we ought to.

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James Cameron’s Avatar 3 Gets Heavily Linked to Avatar: The Last Airbender

The thinness of the plot is veiled under the richness of the visual experience. Perhaps fans do not necessarily want a complicated story, but they seek to immerse themselves in visual pleasure.

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Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender

With the news of the upcoming third Avatar installment adding a new element, it might seem a little trite again. Introducing the Ash people representing fire as the villain and the plot of The Way of Water already speaks for itself. It is reminiscent of Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. Now, if Cameron adds the earth and the wind tribes, we will get a 3D live-action of the element-bending Avatar.

James Cameron’s Avatar franchise is peppered with cliché themes and an overused plot, but fans love it for what it is – a visual exploration of an ideal and perfect world.

RELATED: James Cameron Confirms a Long-Running Hollywood Urban Legend About His Pitch for the Movie ‘Aliens’

Written by Ariane Cruz

Content writer at FandomWire.