Avatar The Last Air Bender Review: A Fun Trip Down Memory Lane

Avatar The Last Airbender Gordon Comier

Water. Earth. Fire. Air. The four nations once lived in harmony, with the Avatar, master of all four elements, keeping peace between them. But everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked and wiped out the Air Nomads, the first step taken by the firebenders towards conquering the world. With the current incarnation of the Avatar yet to emerge, the world has lost hope.

But like a light in the darkness, hope springs forth when Aang (Gordon Cormier), a young Air Nomad — and the last of his kind — reawakens to take his rightful place as the next Avatar. Alongside his newfound friends Sokka (Ian Ousley) and Katara (Kiawentiio), siblings and members of the Southern Water Tribe, Aang embarks on a fantastical, action-packed quest to save the world and fight back against the fearsome onslaught of Fire Lord Ozai (Daniel Dae Kim). But with a driven Crown Prince Zuko (Dallas James Liu) determined to capture them, it won’t be an easy task. They’ll need the help of the many allies and colorful characters they meet along the way.

Avatar The Last Airbender Trailer:

Avatar The Last Airbender Video Review:

 

The Good:

The series shines brightest in its portrayal of characters, particularly those hailing from the Fire Nation. Daniel Dae Kim’s chilling performance as Fire Lord Ozai sends shivers down the spine, embodying the menace and authority of the character with precision. Likewise, Dallas Liu’s portrayal of Zuko impresses, capturing the essence of a character known for his complex journey and growth throughout the series. Special mention must be made of Paul Sun-Hyung Lee’s Uncle Iroh, a fan favorite whose portrayal exudes warmth, wisdom, and depth, resonating with both newcomers and longtime fans alike.

Avatar The Last Airbender

Visually, the series delivers, with stunning visuals that bring the fantastical world of Avatar to life. From the majestic Appa to the breathtaking landscapes of the elemental nations, the attention to detail and production value are evident, offering a feast for the eyes that complements the narrative.

Certain story beats and themes from the original series are effectively captured, offering nods to iconic moments and maintaining the essence of the source material. Moments like the encounter with the cabbage merchant evoke fond memories, while themes of sexism are handled with nuance, reflecting the complexities of the world of Avatar.

The Bad:

However, the series is not without its flaws. One notable issue lies in the writing, particularly in the repetitive nature of certain character arcs. Aang’s guilt-ridden dialogue, while understandable given the weight of his responsibility, becomes tiresome with its constant repetition, detracting from the emotional impact it seeks to convey.

Avatar: The Last Airbender. Elizabeth Yu as Azula in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024
Avatar: The Last Airbender. Elizabeth Yu as Azula in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024

Moreover, some performances fall short of expectations, with Azula’s character feeling miscast and lacking the menacing presence that defined her in the animated series. While the visuals impress, occasional pacing issues and rushed storytelling hinder the overall flow of the narrative, leaving certain moments feeling underdeveloped or lacking in impact.

The Verdict:

Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender is a mixed bag, offering moments of brilliance alongside notable shortcomings. While it succeeds in capturing the spirit of the original series through its portrayal of characters and visual spectacle, it struggles to fully escape the shadow cast by its predecessor. Despite its flaws, the series remains an enjoyable watch, offering fans a nostalgic trip down memory lane while introducing newcomers to the rich and vibrant world of Avatar. It may not reach the heights of its animated counterpart, but it serves as a worthy addition to the Avatar universe, inviting viewers to embark on a familiar yet distinct journey of adventure and discovery.

Netflix Avatar The Last Airbender

Director: Michael Goi, Jabbar Raisani, Roseanne Liang, Jet Wilkinson
Writer(s):  Albert Kim, Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Christine Boylan, Keely MacDonald, Gabriel Llanas, Emily Kim, Hunter Ries, Ubah Mohamed, Michael Dante DiMartino, Audrey Wong Kennedy
Stars: Gordon Cormier, Kiawentiio, Ian Ousley, Dallas Liu, Ken Leung, with Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Daniel Dae Kim
Avatar The Last Airbender is currently available on Netflix. Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more movie news and reviews!

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Avatar The Last Air Bender Review: A Fun Trip Down Memory Lane
  • Acting - 6/10
    6/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 8/10
    8/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 6/10
    6/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7/10
    7/10
  • Watchability - 8/10
    8/10
  • Rewatchability - 7/10
    7/10
Overall
7/10
7/10
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About Emmanuel "E-Man" Noisette

Emmanuel is a Rotten Tomatoes Approved, Chicago film critic who founded Eman's Movie Reviews. He's contributed to other outlets such as ScreenRant andThe Wrap, and has been featured on television such as MSNBC. Be sure to join the other fans on his Facebook Fan Page for even more movie opinions and fun. Feel free to contact him with any professional inquiries: [email protected]