Ten years have passed since the events of the previous Avatar movie, when Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) made the decision to leave his avatar body and live in Pandora as chief of the Omatikaya people. Jake is happily married to Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), with their 3 biological children, sons Neteyam (Jamie Flatters) and Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) and daughter Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss), as well as their adopted daughter, Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) (born from Grace Augustine's avatar), and a human boy named Spider, (Jake Champion) who was left behind when the humans returned to Earth. Their peace is shattered, however, when the Sky people (humans) return hoping to colonise Pandora because Earth is dying. The Sky people are led by Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang), who was killed on the last mission to Pandora but then recreated as a ‘recombinant’ by the humans. He was cloned into a Na’vi body and implanted with the memories of the former person.
Jake leads the attack against the invaders, inciting Quaritch to find and destroy him as a traitor to the human race. Quaritch manages to capture Jake’s children but Jake and Neytiri free all of them, apart from Spider. Quaritch recognises Spider as his son and wants to protect him from harm. Jake realises that he is a threat to the rest of the Omatikaya people and so flees with his family. They seek sanctuary on an island with the Metkayina reef people. Some of the Metkayina are not too keen to take them in as they know the danger they might bring with them. Some of them also despise their human connection. The Chief Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) decides to take them in, despite his wife Ronal’s (Kate Winslet) misgivings. Their son, Aonung (Filip Geljo), takes an instant dislike to the newcomers but their daughter, Tsireya (Bailey Bass), befriends Lo’ak and teaches the children the ways of the reef people. Kiri develops an affinity with the sea creatures while Lo’ak befriends Payakan, a tulkun (large whale-type creatures who are the spirit brothers and sisters of the Metkayina).
Quaritch eventually catches up with Jake by employing the help of a tulkun hunter to draw him out. When many tulkuns are slaughtered, it leads to all-out war between the Sky people, Jake and the Metkayina people, who are also helped by Payakan.
Science fiction; environmental conservation; tribalism; spiritualism
Avatar: The Way of Water has some violence. For example:
- There are many war scenes with automatic weapons, arrows, axes and spears, blasts and explosions.
- When the Sky people arrive in their spaceships, they set fire to the forest beneath them to make a clearing for themselves.
- One explosion blows up a train which careers off the track and crashes in flames.
- During a battle, many people are killed and one of Jake’s sons is injured.
- The recombinants grab Jake’s children and hold them by their hair while pointing guns to their heads. Quaritch grabs one of the boys by the neck and threatens him with a knife.
- Jake Sully is stabbed with a knife but not killed.
- Aonung teases the Sully children and Lo’ak hits back – they get into a fight.
- A monstrous shark-type creature attacks Lo’ak, biting at him with enormous teeth.
- Quaritch and his team use extreme force to make other villagers tell them where Jake is. They threaten them with rifles, Taser them and shoot at sea creatures. They then set fire to their homes.
- The whalers shoot weapons at the tulkun and kill many of them.
- Quaritch holds a knife to Kiri’s throat. Neytiri calls his bluff and threatens Spider with a knife. She cuts his chest.
Avatar: The Way of Water has some sexual references. For example, there is mild flirtation between Lo’ak and Tsireya, and Jake and Neytiri kiss.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There’s no substance use in Avatar: The Way of Water.
Nudity and sexual activity
Avatar: The Way of Water has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- The indigenous peoples are mostly naked but their genitals are covered.
- A woman’s breast is briefly seen as she breastfeeds her baby.
There’s no product placement in Avatar: The Way of Water.
Avatar: The Way of Water has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Avatar: The Way of Water is an action adventure, sci-fi spectacular with stunning graphics and underwater filmography. There is a stark contrast shown between the indigenous peoples who nurture and care for the environment and the creatures that live in it, and the invading colonisers who destroy everything in their way. Despite being 3 hours long, the movie is exciting and intense, which, together with the violence and scary scenes, makes it unsuitable for children under 12 years. We recommend parental guidance for children aged 12–13 years.
The main messages from Avatar: The Way of Water are the importance of family and to stand up to tyranny and oppression.
Values in Avatar: The Way of Water that you could reinforce with your children include strong female leaders, tolerance and acceptance, teamwork, bravery and courage, looking after the environment, selflessness, and connection to nature.
Avatar: The Way of Water could also give you the chance to discuss with your children why nations colonise other nations, and the real-life consequences of one nation colonising another using violence and force. You could talk about how dialogue might be an alternative to violence in these situations.