To cut a long story short, twelve years after the events of Avatar, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), now permanently in his part-Na’vi Avatar body, his Na’vi wife Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), and their passel of kids, both blood and adopted, leave their home Omaticaya clan after the humans return in force, taking up with the semi-amphibious Metkayina Na’vi who live on the reefs of Pandora’s oceans. But the human military follows, and Jake, once again, finds himself fighting his birth people for the freedom of his adopted species — and, like before, fighting the formerly deceased Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), whose recorded memories have been implanted into an Avatar body.
That, in the shell of a nut, is the plot of Avatar: The Way of Water, James Cameron’s long-awaited sequel to the 2009 record-smasher, Avatar. Not just long-awaited, but long; The Way of Water clocks in 192 minutes, and if you think there’s a lot of story packed into that marathon running time, you’d be mistaken. There’s a lot of time spent just sort of marveling at the incredible alien environments Cameron and his team have cooked up for us and a lot of little details and bits of business that really sing. I admire The Way of Water on a granular level, even if I think at the macro, it doesn’t have much going on.