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Avatar: The Way of Water is a gorgeous rehash of all the first film’s triumphs and failures.


James Cameron’s first Avatar was a phenomenon that fundamentally altered the landscape of the entertainment industry with its record-breaking box office success and briefly convinced a generation of theatergoers that 3D movies were great, actually. The original Avatar’s story was little more than a white savior narrative cosplaying as a sci-fi epic. But the movie’s breathtaking visuals and astonishing level of rich detail made the prospect of returning to the alien world of Pandora for multiple sequels an interesting — if a bit dubious — one.