This article contains spoilers for Avatar: The Way of Water.Avatar: The Way of Water is a beautifully immersive film, with deep imagery and a tremendous amount of world-building. In 2009, James Cameron made cinematic history with Avatar – a lavish production that revolutionized 3D technology and became the highest-grossing film of all time. Over a decade later, Avatar 2: The Way of Water returns to the planet Pandora, but this time Cameron moves to the rainforests of the sea – the coral reefs.
Avatar: The Way of Water‘s opening scenes show how the world of Pandora has changed, initially focusing on Jake and Neytiri’s family – before moving on to the return of the Sky People. This time they’re not just mining for unobtanium; their goal is to terraform the world, claiming it as their own. The unexpected resurrection of Colonel Quaritch in Na’vi form soon adds a personal dimension to the rekindled conflict, and Jake flees to the Metkayina tribe for safe harbor. Naturally, it doesn’t take long for things to go badly wrong, with the war against the Sky People finding its way to the sea as well.
Kiri’s Messianic Imagery Makes Avatar 2’s Release Date So Very Appropriate
Avatar: The Way of Water is a film about one generation bringing hope and redemption to the last. Jake, Neytiri, and Colonel Quaritch are locked in a cycle of violence, and it is up to the next generation to save them. The most intriguing of these new characters is Grace’s daughter Kiri. It is strongly implied that this is a miraculous conception, and that she is in fact Eywa’s child with clues to Kiri’s true nature throughout Avatar 2. This plays upon Christian Messianic imagery, presenting Kiri as a potential savior. It is likely Cameron’s sequels will develop this idea, using the theme of a Messiah with a “ministry of reconciliation.“
Avatar: The Way Of Water Reveals Banshees Are Bioluminescent
The opening scenes of Avatar: The Way of Water return to the familiar rainforests of Pandora, and there are shots of creatures from the first film. Jake and Neytiri reflect on their life together, and head off on a “date night” on banshees. This is the first time banshees have been shown flying at night, and attentive viewers will notice they share Pandora’s typical bioluminescence. Jake and Neytiri are probably used to this, but viewers may wonder why a predator wants to stand out in this way. There’s probably a good reason, though; all life in Pandora seems to be bioluminescent, and a predator would therefore be noticed as an absence of light if it did not share that property.
The Sky People Settlement In Avatar: The Way Of Water Is Called “Bridgehead City”
Avatar: The Way of Water portrays the humans as a force of destruction; their return is evocative of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. This time, they’ve come to stay, demonstrated by the fact they establish not a base but a city. A title card reveals the Sky People’s home is called “Bridgehead City,” an important term because – in military strategy – a bridgehead is a strong position secured inside enemy territory from which to advance or attack.
The Humans Refer To Pandora’s “Immune Response”
The Sky People have a better understanding of Pandora and the Na’vi, with their defeat in Avatar clearly seen as proof Grace’s hypothesis of a living planet was correct. They have chosen to return and wage war against an entire world, and there are several lines of dialogue suggesting Pandoran life continues to attack the Sky People; at one point this predation is referred to as an “immune response.” This explains why the Sky People burned away a vast area of land before establishing Bridgehead City. They don’t want the jungles of Pandora to be pressing against their city’s walls.
The Humans Consider The Na’vi An “Insurgency” In Avatar: The Way Of Water
The Sky People believe Pandora is already theirs, and refer to the Omaticaya as an “insurgency.” Jake’s knowledge of Sky People technology makes him a real strategic asset to the Omaticaya, because he leads them into the Na’vi’s sacred Hallelujah Mountains – where the flux vortex distorts sensors (as per the first film). Jake adopts tactics used by Native Americans centuries ago, raiding trains to steal weapons.
Why Spider Really Helps Colonel Quaritch In Avatar: The Way Of Water
Some viewers may initially be surprised at Spider’s decision to help Colonel Quadrich, seeing this as a betrayal. One scene with the banshees subtly hints at his true motive, though; Spider is a human who wishes he was a Na’vi, and he is getting to live vicariously through these humans he believes he is introducing to the ways of the Na’vi. He is horrified when he realizes the ends to which this knowledge, and these skills, will be used – and swiftly switches sides, helping crash a Sky Person hunting vessel.
Avatar: The Way Of Water Reveals Na’vi Tribes Have Evolved Differently
Avatar: The Way of Water reveals the Na’vi clans of Pandora have evolved to suit their own unique environments. The Metkayina, for example, have longer tails and thicker arms to help them swim, while the Omaticaya are thinner and with different muscle-structures, optimized for swinging and climbing. There are 15 different Na’vi clans, and presumably all of them have evolved in slightly different ways. Hopefully James Cameron’s sequels will explore some of the other tribes.
Avatar: The Way of Water offers some subtle criticisms of the Na’vi, though, showing hints of racial prejudice based on these physiological differences. Metkayina are particularly unimpressed with Jake’s children, whose five fingers signify human DNA rather than Na’vi. The Messianic subplot involving Kiri is important here, though, because it is interesting to note Eywa chose to sire a child through an avatar – presumably as a bridge between the Na’vi and the Sky People. The five fingers may hint at the deliberate birth of a new species of Na’vi, one optimized for using Sky People tools and technology.
Kiri Doesn’t Need To Hold Her Breath As Much As The Others
Kiri is the only one of Jake’s children who settles straight into this new environment, largely because she feels she can hear Eywa’s heartbeat in the ocean. She is able to spend a tremendous amount of time in the water, holding her breath for much longer than her brothers; in fact, in some scenes she has her mouth open underwater, perhaps meaning she can actually breathe beneath the waves. Her bond with Eywa is shown to be strong enough to control life through Eywa, a power that proves useful by the end of Avatar: The Way of Water.
Kiri’s “Epileptic Fit” Is In Reality A Baptism
Following the Messianic imagery, Kiri’s “epileptic fit” is best understood as a baptism. Cameron’s interpretation is a little different from the Messianic imagery here, of course; the Jewish traditions that influenced Christianity saw the water as a symbol of death (because the sea takes and does not give back, in their view), and so baptism is a symbol of death and resurrection. Cameron’s focus is on the baptism as a moment of intimacy and self-actualization. Kiri meets her mother, and is reassured she is loved; in the Bible, Jesus’ baptism was accompanied by a voice from heaven in which God declared him to be his beloved son.
Jake’s Use Of Human Technology Is What Gives Him Away In Avatar: The Way Of Water
Jake may have been embraced by the Na’vi, but he still defaults to Sky People ways. He trained the Omaticaya to steal human weapons, waging war against the Sky People with their own technology; he then chose to leave the tribe to protect his family, a course of action unlikely to ever occur to the Na’vi. Kiri’s coma prompts him to turn to Sky People science yet again, calling out doctors to help treat her. This mistake is what allows Colonel Quaritch to figure out where Jake is, because by now he understands no native Na’vi would ever think to call up a chopper.
Avatar: The Way Of Water’s Tulkun Hunt Shows How Spider Has Absorbed The Na’vi Teachings
The Sky People hunt the tulkun, killing the creatures for a single brain enzyme that apparently halts human ageing – and thus is being used to fund the whole expedition to Pandora. Spider may be Colonel Quaritch’s son, but he has been brought up as a Na’vi, and he is appalled at the waste. As seen in the first film, the Na’vi consider life sacred, and they do not waste a death – using all the meat of an animal for food, its hide to make clothes, and its bones for weapons and tools. Spider has absorbed this way of life, and simply can’t understand the waste as the tulkun corpse is left floating in the sea.
Spider Isn’t Truly Considered A Sully In Avatar: The Way Of Water
Avatar: The Way of Water sets up Neytiri as the one who doesn’t really accept Spider, culminating in a shocking moment where she threatens his life. But the film strongly suggests Jake and Neytiri’s “adopted” son isn’t really considered part of the family at all, notably in a scene where the family gather together and show no hint of concern for him. “Sullys stick together,” they declare, ignoring the fact Spider was last seen swimming into a sinking boat. The only one who appears to really care about Spider as a family member is Kiri, helping set her up as a bridge between the Na’vi and the Sky People.
Kiri Brings Light To The Darkness In Avatar: The Way Of Water
The end of Avatar: The Way of Water stresses Kiri’s Messianic role in a subtle way, as she guides bioluminescent fish to her family. The image of the Messiah as light and revelation is central to the Biblical story, and the New Testament envisioned Jesus as a guide rather than a power figure, so this seems very appropriate. The film avoids associating Kiri with acts of spectacle, such as the tulkun attack, instead giving her a much more subtle role in the third act.
Lo’ak’s Hair Connects Him To John Connor
James Cameron fans will not only be thrilled to see the director’s long-awaited movie, but there is also the added bonus of the filmmaker including a Terminator 2 Easter egg in Avatar 2. It was confirmed that Lo’ak’s hair is inspired by the same hairdo sported by John Connor (Edward Furlong) in that movie, specifically the hair his hangs down over his eye. The reason behind the shared look is that Cameron wanted to emulate John’s rebellious nature in Lo’ak, the most rebellious of Jake and Neytiri’s kids in Avatar: The Way of Water.