Avatar: The Way of Water pours all manner of visual majesty onto the big screen. James Cameron's typically ambitious vision builds on the mythology of the first Avatar movie from 2009 while alluding to the sequels coming down the pipe in the next few years.
Here are the questions we're left with following The Way of Water's release at Cineworld.
WARNING: AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER SPOILERS AHEAD
1. Quaritch's bond with Spider
At the end of Avatar: The Way of Water, the hissable Quaritch (Stephen Lang), now locked in his Avatar 'recombitant' body, is rescued by his human child Spider (Jack Champion). Gravely injured but not fatally, Quaritch leaves on an ikran to no doubt fight another day.
The fractious bond between the non-human Quaritch and his progeny is one of the most intriguing elements in the Avatar sequel. No doubt this will become increasingly personal in the third movie, especially once Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) realise that Spider let their nemesis go.
2. General Ardmore's operations on Pandora
Edie Falco's hard-nosed Ardmore is introduced as the new commander of the RDA operation on Pandora. However, she's not here to mine unobtanium. Rather, she wants to pulverise the Na'vi into the Earth to complete the company's long-delayed colonial objectives.
Ardmore barely appears in The Way of Water, so we imagine that she'll play a bigger part in the third movie. Will Quaritch turn tail, return to her base and form a dangerous new alliance to destroy the Na'vi once and for all? It's highly likely.
3. Neytiri's grief over Neyteyam's death
There's no victory without sacrifice. Jake and Neytiri may succeed in defeating Quaritch's forces. However, it comes at the cost of their eldest son, Neyteyam (Jamie Flatters), who dies in the final battle.
This propels Neytiri into increasingly savage action during the final battle again Quaritch and his men. She even threatens to kill his son Spider at one point, a reflection of the long-simmering suspicion she's held towards the human child.
Both Neytiri's hostility towards Spider and the ongoing emotional fallout from the damage to her family will surely play a big role in future Avatar movies.
4. Lo'ak's bond with the Tulkun
The underwater mammals known as the Tulkun play a significant role in The Way of Water. The Metkayina tribe bond with them, human beings hunt them for the precious oil secreted from their cranium (the new unobtanium) and the outcast animal known as Payakan bonds with Jake and Neytiri's youngest son, Lo'ak (Britain Dalton).
We don't imagine this is the last we'll see of the Tulkun. At the end of The Way of Water, Payakan helps save the various human and Na'vi characters and his connection with Lo'ak is cemented, no doubt setting up a reprisal of the theme later in the Avatar series.
5. Kiri's emergent abilities
In The Way of Water, we learn that Jake and Kiri's adopted daughter Kiri was born of the avatar of the late Dr. Grace Augustine. The latter's actor, Sigourney Weaver, returns to the world of Avatar to play Kiri, albeit in a CGI teenage Na'vi body.
As The Way of Water proceeds, Kiri is shown to struggle with her profound connection to Eywa, Pandora's divine deity. Kiri connects to the underwater equivalent of The Tree of Souls seen in the first movie, fully coming to terms with her past.
In the film's final battle, Kiri is shown to manipulate the underwater elements to help defeat Quaritch's forces. This is surely just a teaser of the awesome powers she's set to unleash in Avatar 3 and beyond.
6. Neytiri's family left behind in the floating mountains
Once Jake, Neytiri and their family flee to the reefs to seek sanctuary with the Metkayina clan, we don't see their home tribe again for the rest of the movie. This includes Neytiri's mother, spiritual leader Mo'at (C.C.H. Pounder).
Presumably, the group has continued to fend off the remnant RDA forces from their stronghold in the floating, radar-scrambling 'Hallelujah' mountains. The sequels are set to fill in these storytelling gaps, no doubt.
7. Ronal and Tonowari's bond with Jake and Neytiri
Once The Way of Water draws to a close, a bond of trust has been formed between Jake, Neytiri and the aquatic Metkayina tribe. Initially, the tribe's spiritual leader Ronal (Kate Winslet) was hostile towards Jake and Neytiri's arrival, even if her husband, Tonowari (Cliff Curtis), showed a degree more openness.
Regardless, having demonstrated the vulnerability of the sacred Tulkun, and having led the Metkayina into battle against Quaritch, Jake and his kin earn the respect of their Metkayina brethren. Will we see them again later in the series?
8. The 'recombitants' program
As mentioned, Quaritch is now a 'recombitant', an Avatar body effectively 'downloaded' with human memories. Quaritch is shown to struggle with this dual identity throughout the events of the movie.
Beyond that, however, we're wondering if the idea of the Avatar/human hybrid could be used to restore yet more old enemies, and introduce new ones, as the franchise proceeds.
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