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Today’s Prayer Focus

Avatar: The Way of Water

also known as “Avatar 2,” “Avatar 2: The Way of Water,” “Avatar: A víz útja,” “Avatar: Calea apei,” “Avatar: Cesta vody,” “Avatar: Dòng Chảy Của Nước,” “Avatar: El Camino Del Agua,” “Avatar: El sentido del agua,” “Avatar: el sentit de l'aigua,” “Avatar: Istota wody,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for sequences of strong violence and intense action, partial nudity and some strong language.

Reviewed by: Charity Bishop

Moral Rating: Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: • Adults • Young Adults • Teens
Genre: Sci-Fi War IMAX 3D Sequel
Length: 3 hr. 12 min.
Year of Release: 2022
USA Release: December 16, 2022 (wide release)
DVD: June 20, 2023
Copyright, 20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Companyclick photos to ENLARGE Copyright, 20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company Copyright, 20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company
Relevant Issues
Copyright, 20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company

Importance of family / Family relationships and dynamics

Pantheism-like spirituality plays a strong part in this film / Worshipping the creation and the supposed “Great Mother” (Eywa, akin to the Gaia of some evironmentalists) instead of the Creator, Yahweh

Message that indigenous tribal people are far superior in spirituality and wisdom about the natural world

Copyright, 20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company

Politically correct environmentalism

Hollywood’s continuing push of climate crisis dramas and emotionally charged colonization propaganda

Copyright, 20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company

Marines cast as evil

Copyright, 20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company

Planet-destroying humans cast as the universe’s truest villains

Message that people need to put aside their differences and unite to save their world

WATER: A miracle of God’s Creation

Copyright, 20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company

Underwater life on a fictional alien planet with both jungle and sea

Copyright, 20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company

Making tough decisions (fight or flight for family)

Accepting people for their differences

Copyright, 20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Featuring Sam WorthingtonJake
Zoe Saldana (Zoe Saldaña) … Neytiri
Sigourney WeaverKiri
Stephen LangQuaritch
Kate WinsletRonal
Cliff CurtisTonowari
Joel David MooreNorm
See all »
Director James Cameron
Producer 20th Century Studios
TSG Entertainment
See all »

Prequel: “Avatar” (2009)

James Cameron proves once again he’s the king of cinema with his sequel to “Avatar,” a sumptuous visual masterpiece centered around the theme of fatherhood.

Set a dozen years after the original film, Jake (Sam Worthington) has become a father of four children—including his adopted daughter, Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), born from his friend Grace’s avatar after her death, and a human boy, Spider (Jack Champion). He and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) lead the Na’vi people, after successfully forcing the “sky people” (humans) to abandon Pandora. But now the sky people have returned, among them his old enemy, Quartich (Stephen Lang). Even though Jake fought and defeated him, before the final battle, Quartich uploaded his consciousness and his memories to a computer so he could be reborn in an Avatar’s body. Quartich does not remember being killed, but he does recall the trouble Jake caused him, and intends to “settle the score, once and for all.”

Earth is dying and humans need a new planet to colonize, so they send an advance wave of humans, including Quartich and his marines, to pave the way on the planet. After Quartich gets his hands on Spider, fearing the boy will reveal everything he knows about Jake and their home, Jake takes his family and abandons their home in the mountains to live among the coastal tribes. There, he tries to forge a new life while facing the difficulties of fatherhood. This new life will challenge each of them, and reveal their hidden talents, but they cannot remain hidden forever…

Over the last few years, there’s been an assault on men. Our society has gravitated away from traditional gender roles, leaving many young men uncertain of their purpose. But “Avatar: The Way of Water” celebrates men as the protectors of society. Jake tells us twice that protecting their family gives men a purpose, and we see him doing just that. He tries to find a balance between making sure his boys make the right decisions and being a warm and supportive parent. When the boys get out of line, he gives them a stern talking-to; when they start fights, he has them apologize (but also takes pride in the fact that the only reason they fought was to defend their sister); he is hard on them, because he loves them so much, and he sets them a good example of protecting those weaker than themselves.

Family is the core theme of the film, as each character grapples with their place in it and their responsibility to others. Jake reminds his oldest son repeatedly of his need to protect the younger ones. He chastises his second-eldest for endangering his siblings. Spider also fears “I might be like my father” (to which Kiri tells him he is not, he is his own person). Then there’s Kiri, and her search for belonging and meaning, which will resonate with children given up for adoption. She wonders why she was born, and feels different from the other children, but it’s touching to see her adopted family surround, support, and love her.

Q & A

Adoption and orphans in the Bible

These characters make mistakes and reveal their own prejudices (Neytiri has an obvious preference for her own kids over Spider due to his human appearance), but ultimately choose to make the right decisions to protect their loved ones. In a way, the film is a love letter to fatherhood, full of messages young men need to hear, but it also has strong, courageous, and loving women on display.

Content-wise, if you saw the first film, you know what to expect here; the Na’vi wear almost nothing (the camera catches a brief glimpse of a nipple on an Avatar early on). There is discussion over Kiri’s parentage, as her brothers wonder which person “knocked up” Grace (it’s never made clear whether she has a human/Avatar father, or had an immaculate conception).

There’s some bad language scattered throughout (mostly sh*t, but Jesus’ name is abused once, and there’s one f-word). A Na’vi boy flips off a marine.

The violence is extreme but not bloody; the Na’vi kill a lot of humans (Neytiri shoots them with her signature arrows; Jake and others blow up their helicopters, crash their boats, stab them, and hit them). Quartich threatens Jake’s children multiple times, once threatening to cut Kiri’s throat. He shoots a sea creature to teach a lesson to a native tribe. The last thirty minutes is nonstop action, peril, and violence, as Jake and Quartich square off and beat each other mercilessly, Neytiri kills all the humans she finds, a whale smashes into a ship, and some of the Na’vi (including a character we have grown to know and love) die, along with their sea creatures.

One of the more excruciating scenes is of a whaler ship taking out one of Pandora’s whales—separating a mother and calf from the herd, driving harpoons into her chest, and killing them both, before they drill into her brain to extract a precious fluid that “stops human aging” (at $80 million dollars a vial). It’s painful to watch in its cruelty, and it may disturb children or animal lovers (as it did me).

James Cameron has made no secret of his environmentalist agenda, but this film doesn’t feel like propaganda as much as a celebration of marine life, even if it’s on another planet. It’s intended to make us treasure the ocean and its creatures, a role I believe fits us as Guardians of the Earth (God placed us here to be compassionate stewards).

Cameron’s religious beliefs are less obvious, but this film has a pantheist worldview. The Na’vi believe in a Great Mother spirit that connects all things and allows them to share and see memories through her sacred places. They pray to her, sing to her, and have a deep connection to all life, including being able to communicate with whales. The queen of the sea tribe calls one whale her “soul sister.” Kiri has a deeper connection than any other character to the “Great Mother,” and can use her creatures as a weapon.

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator… —Romans 1:25 LSB

We see the Na’vi return one who has died to the sea bed, and later, that fallen Na’vi’s loved ones “visit with” this character in the memories of the soul tree. This is an unbiblical view of the afterlife.

Q & A

What is ETERNAL LIFE? and what does the Bible say about it?


  • Violence: Very Heavy
  • Occult: Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Heavy— • F-word (1 or more) • S-words (11) • “Son of a b*tch” (3) • “Ain't this a bitch” • “Perv” (what Kiri calls a guy) • Cr*p (2) • A** (5) • A**hole • Bugger • “That really sucks” • “Who do you think knocked her up?” • “Tough b*stards”
  • Profane language: Moderately Heavy— • Jesus • Hell (9) • “Bloody H*ll” • Holy sh*t • D*mn (3)
  • Nudity: Moderately Heavy (lots of skin on display—female and male, Na’vi and human)
  • Sex: Minor
  • Wokeism: Minor
  • Drugs/Alcohol: None
  • Slang definition: Bugger


    Slang definition: Bloody


Learn about DISCERNMENT—wisdom in making personal entertainment decisions

cinema tickets. ©  Alexey SmirnovEvery time you buy a movie ticket or buy or rent a video you are in effect casting a vote telling Hollywood, “I’ll pay for that. That’s what I want.” Read our article

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Neutral—If, like me, you enjoyed the original “Avatar” movie for the 2/3s highly creative, imaginative, visually rich and beautiful world and people of Pandora, in “The Way of Water” you get a visually stunning new region, undersea life, and interesting people and culture with the Reef people. But only for about 1/4 to 1/3 of the movie. If you liked the last 1/3 of the original “Avatar” movie with the inventive technology, battle scenes, wide scale damage, explosions, and hand to hand combat, in “The Way of Water” you get prolonged battle scenes, destruction, explosions with characters constantly in peril and fighting leading to more long scenes of non-stop gunfire, explosions, harpoons and depth charges for 2/3 to 3/4 of the movie. Someone must have told James Cameron that lots and lots and lots of cgi action is the way to go—in the same format most of the Marvel and DC movies have become. But it ends up like watching someone else play a video game for hours.

If they had given the highly creative teams more time with the Reef people and their stunningly beautiful realm, inventive creatures, the challenges of adapting, and character development, (as they did in the original “Avatar”), we would care more when it is threatened and want to revisit that world with repeat viewings. Nonstop destruction and peril? Not so much.

Kudos to the actors and the exceptionally talented and creative special visual effects (vfx) artists, animators, and character developers. Wish there was more in this movie with the Forest people and getting to know the Reef people, their culture, etc., and less of the constant massive CGI destruction fueled by a lust for revenge. Just my opinion.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Tori, age 40+ (USA)
Neutral—This was a very good review, Charity. You proceeded to give a very in-depth explanation of the plot of the movie. I like how you pointed out that the movie contained a strong amount of the “traditional sense” of men as the protectors and providers of both the family and society in general. I very much appreciated the manner in which you presented the pros and cons of the movie in your review and gave an objective viewpoint of the movie as a whole (Balance).

When it comes to whether or not a movie promotes the well-being and sanctity of the human person is something that is very important to me. And your review has told me that this movie does not fully do that with the scenes of partial nudity that are mentioned (Dignity of the Person). Your review also stated that this movie added a new region of the fictional world of Pandora that was not in the first movie. But You then said that the plot had many holes in it and that this could cause one to lose focus during the movie (Skillfully Developed).See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: no opinion / Moviemaking quality: no opinion
Joseph, age 22 (USA)
Neutral—There were many plot issues with this story. Why weren’t the ladies able to open the door after the equilibrium was reached and they were stuck in the boat air pocket? Or for that matter, why was there nothing blocking the way when they were rescued? The fact that I was thinking of this during the movie meant it really was not capturing my attention with the visuals or the plot itself. The visual aspect is incredible, but it feels as though the editor could have been given a longer leash to cut down the run time.

That being said. It is still an emotionally stirring movie for anyone who appreciated the monologue from the Matrix’s Agent Smith describing humans as a disease consuming every natural resource having to move once depleted. Red neck antagonist vs. Environmental protagonist is a conflict that resonates well in the US as well. Some nice family dynamic hooks that may fill the void for those looking for plot twists or story complexity.

The film is visually stunning, seemingly written for an action packed thrill ride at Universal. Do the amazing aesthetics and base emotions make up for a plot that is easily summarized in two sentences? That is up to the audience, which it will command on the visual experience by itself.
My Ratings: Moral rating: no opinion / Moviemaking quality: 5
M. Crosby (Agnostic), age 52 (USA)
Negative—A visually pleasing, plot riddled with holes and pushing a creation worship agenda. My wife and I saw this today via free tickets through her company. I strongly recommend to give this movie a big pass. Part 1 had a more robust and pleasing script and pacing, part 2 is all over the place with inconclusive ending I thought I wasted 3 hours of my life on this one.

The biggest danger of them all is that this movie is pushing the Mother Nature, creation agenda which we got a hint from the first. They mention “mother” and “Ewa” which the Bible warns us in Romans 1 that in the end times people will worship created things including creation/nature instead of the Creator Himself (Romans 1:18-24).

On the bright side, the visuals are great but nothing new from the first one. The characters are so intertwined I feel too much filming was spent unnecessarily showing non-essential scenes that dragged on. The fight scenes are also terrific, different but nothing ground breaking from part 1.

There is also a sense that aliens are more important than human beings. Language is moderate based on today’s standards but I would not bring younger teens to see it.

A real born again believer in Christ would take heed and skip this movie coming from a follower of Christ for almost 36 years watching for the soon return of Jesus to meet His bride in the clouds/air. Most movies nowadays are pushing for a worldly and even Satanic agenda that wise Christians should be discerning.

Be careful also of superhero movies, Marvel’s Avengers pushed to mock or rival the concept of the Rapture with Thanos flicking his fingers then millions disappeared. This is a type of conditioning people’s minds when the Rapture happens. Avatar 2 also has that in its menu pushing for creation worship and probably climate change.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
Tades, age 55 (USA)
Negative—There is one scene where one of the scientists was trying to revive one of the alien beings and then briefly makes a negative statement blaspheming Jesus by saying, and I forget the exact sentence but the affect was that Jesus had some sort of vision or hallucination. I found this very offensive as well as the pantheist view that they repeatedly pushed throughout the film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Mark, age 52 (USA)
Negative—I liked that family and keeping them together was at the core of this movie. I was disturbed by the amount of nudity and skin shown, including an apparent early teen girl. It seems like in today’s world we keep pushing the envelope on sexualizing children. This movie is no different. Other parts of the movie that I thought may be cause for concern are the umbiblical connection of the created, land and animals. They also used God’s name in vain at least once. I was pleasantly surprised there was no LGBTQ push in this movie that I caught.

I watched the movie on IMAX 3D which may have led to a more clear view of nudity and skin. I wondered how far they will be allowed to push CGI nudity/skin especially of children that we would never allow in film and pictures. I do not recommend taking children to see this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Scott, age 48 (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Secular Movie Critics
…There are some really pretty pictures here. But wow! Gasp! The story is really pretty…stupid. …Visuals aside, this sequel simply treads water… an environmental theme delivered with bludgeon force. The Pandorans literally connect with animals and plants in the natural world via sensors in their long tails. The Sky People, of course, are brutish despoilers, killing the natives and ruining the land in preparation for taking over and moving humanity there from a despoiled and dying Earth. In other words, like the original, it’s “Dances with Wolves” in outer space. Only dumber. [2/4]
Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times
…For 2022, “The Way of Water” may not be the most intricately made or intellectually rigorous motion picture, but it exemplifies what “cinematic” means today. …
James Berardinelli, ReelViews
…As with most Cameron blockbusters, “The Way of Water” has a way of pulling you in, surrounding you with gorgeous, violent chaos and finishing with a quick rinse to get the remnants of its teeny-tiny plot out of your eyes by the final credits. …the time spent watching it just sort of drifts and floats by, pleasantly, even with all the bloodshed and carnage and cliffhangers. …
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
…His [Cameron’s] passion is infectious and his enthusiasm for environmental causes commendable, but the movie’s metaphysical and sociological aspirations sometimes come off as cringe-inducingly similar to those that might be expressed by a white lady running a healing-crystal shop in a seaside town. …
Dana Stevens, Slate
James Cameron’s ego turns ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ into endless torture… a one-hour story rattling around in a 192-minute bag. …The result is a self-important, larded, smothered movie that’s work to sit through. …
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
…The action in “The Way of Water” is ultimately overwhelming, betraying an uncomfortable truth about Cameron: He might preach environmentalism and balance, calling on Indigenous peoples for their gentle worldviews and material culture. But at heart, he’s just as aggressive and all-commanding as the bad guys he portrays with such oorah swagger. …
Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
…never sags. What better way for struggling cinemas to regain their footing than with a gargantuan film that so celebrates the glory of the big screen? …
Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post
…James Cameron’s decade-in-the-making “The Way of Water” has no plot, no stakes and atrocious dialogue. What happened to this great director? …“no thoughts, just vibes” blockbuster; audiences must let the computer-generated Avatar universe wash over them, as our heroes paddle past coral, cavort with plesiosaurs, and gossip with six-flippered whales. The problem is that said universe is unvaryingly garish, which makes watching the film feel like being waterboarded with turquoise cement. …[1/5]
Robbie Collin, The Telegraph [UK]
…The movie’s overt themes of familial love and loss, its impassioned indictments of military colonialism and climate destruction, are like a meaty hand grabbing your collar; it works because they work it. …
Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
…one of the most spectacular and unengaging films of the year, The Way of Water’s vision is as clear as mud. As Cameron has become more fascinated with the technology of storytelling, it seems he’s become less so by the actual storytelling. …
Christopher Machell, CineVue
…a soggy, twee, trillion-dollar screensaver… what do we find aside from the high-tech visual superstructure? The floatingly bland plot is like a children’s story without the humour; a YA story without the emotional wound; an action thriller without the hard edge of real excitement. …
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)
…In terms of narrative sophistication and even more so dialogue, this $350 million sequel is almost as basic as its predecessor, even feeble at times. But the expanded, bio-diverse world-building pulls you in, the visual spectacle keeps you mesmerized, the passion for environmental awareness is stirring and the warfare is as visceral and exciting as any multiplex audience could desire. …
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
…Many have observed that the first “Avatar,” despite its outsize box-office, didn’t leave much of a cultural footprint. The second is more of the same. It may be a visual buffet, but the pickings are merely eye candy. …
Kyle Smith, The Wall Street Journal
…“Avatar: The Way of Water” is both more extravagant and dorkier than “Avatar,” which was pretty dorky to begin with. …will shape the moviegoing experience—maybe not for the better …
Stephanie Zacharek, Time