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The Best Thing About “Spider-Man: No Way Home” Can Be Summed Up In 2 Words



spider-man no way home review

Willem Dafoe.

That’s about it you guys. That’s literally the only thing I enjoyed out of the entire “Spider-Man: No Way Home” movie, so I’m not even sure why I’m still writing this review.

What else is there to say? Willem was great, everything else sucked, the end.

It is what it is.

I watched “Spider-Man: No Way Home” last night, to prep for the new Doctor Strange (in the Multiverse of Madness) movie releasing this week, and by the time I was done, I just KNEW folks weren’t going to want my review. But I mean … someone asked, so here it is.


“Spider-Man: No Way Home” Full Review

spider-man no way home review

Where do I even begin?!

The new Spider-Man film is set in … whatever year it’s set in … just know that Peter, MJ, and Ned, are set to go to college and they’re all set on going to MIT. Of course there’s one big thing in their way … and that’s Peter’s “new” fame?

Apparently this is the universe I belong in, because everyone thinks Spider-Man sucks.

Which sucks for Peter, who just “wants to be a real boy”, aka no longer the famous web slinging superhero who hangs out with the Avengers occasionally, and fights crime as the friendly neighborhood hero should.

Not that I blame the kid!

I mean, it’s been a lot, the past few years. Kid deserves a break!

But did he really need to ask Strange to cast a hardcore spell, just so he could get a break?

Ehh … it’s giving white privilege, and Wanda’s gon’ off the ledge again (but in tiny teen boy body form) vibes!

Boy oh boy, what these wypipo will do just to have things their way!


But again … I get it, if I had a magical, powerful, sorcerer at my fingertips, I too would ask for a few crazy things! So who am I to judge??

However … I AM judging the oh so powerful magician who manages to botch one of his magic tricks, all because the little pesky spider kid kept asking daddy for more!

More, more, more!

Jeezus! When do you people say NO?! Again, the privilege! At no point did Strange think to say, “hey buddy, pick one, I can’t change this spell again”, and mean it?

Just keep bending to his will whenever he asks, eh? Now the whole world is a god damn mess because daddy couldn’t just say no. Cool!


But even if I did believe the big bad sorcerer could mess up such an important spell … due to a lack of (clearly needed) parenting skills, not having self control, and having no practice at all with using the greatest spell of all.

The word “no”.

The first act of this movie is quite boring.

Even when the fight scenes came, I wasn’t moved. I could care less for these villains, outside of the nostalgia, and faintly remembering them from my childhood.

The only one I really cared about, again, is Willem Dafoe, as the Green Goblin.

There’s just something about him as this character that I’ve ALWAYS loved.


Similar to the Joker. Again, it could just be the nostalgia for me, since I loved him as a kid.

Anywho … here’s a full list of things I didn’t care for in (and about) the “Spider-Man: No Way Home” movie.

  • The cheeky music (and that ONE random Christmas son). I usually love cheeky music, but it just didn’t work for me in this film.
  • The childish, relaxed, cheesy feel of the film. Almost as if this was never to be taken seriously. Which, if that was the case, congrats, you won!
  • The lack of emotions I felt while watching this! Was I supposed to cry? Laugh? Feel? Anything at all? Hope not, because I didn’t feel much of anything.
  • How long this film felt and actually was. Why was this shit 2 and a half hours long? WHAT FOR?! It dragged on and on, and almost felt as long as Little Women!
  • All of the villains in one spot … just chilling calmly, like they could just use the break to regroup or rest. It was weird. Maybe I’m just used to seeing villains running amuck, scaring people, and doing the devil’s dirty work, that seeing them on a minor “vacation”, unmoved, and uninterested to escape, bothered the crap outta me? Who TF knows at this point!
  • How predictable this film was.
  • The basic ass convo the Spider-Group had, as if all was right in the world. Like that dialogue was just bore-central. YAWN!
  • Max reminding me of Raising Dion’s lightening character, and Jamie failing to interest me as a superhuman, again, just like in Project Power.
  • Remembering how long the powerful sorcerer took to learn to open a portal, to then see a kid, who’s rumored to have magic in his family, but no actual powers, open portals with ease?
  • The amount of times I silently begged for this movie to end so I could go TF to sleep!

Look, the story just didn’t work for me.

I get that it was supposed to be this holiday, light-hearted, film about a superhuman kid who just wanted to go to college with his friends, instead of fight crime for the rest of his life, but it bored the hell outta me.

And like … how does a dead person shed a tear? How sway? WTF was THAT!?

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” basically reminded me that I really don’t give a damn about Spider-Man at all!

I try, but I don’t.

I’ve never been a fan of the “OG” superheroes. Spider-Man, Superman, Batman, all the men … they don’t interest me in the least bit!

The only Spider-Man I care about … is the Black one, ironically.

And not even because Miles Morales is Black. Okay technically he’s afro-latino.


But that’s not why, and it’s not because he’s from my hometown (Brooklyn) either.

I just relate to that story, and film, a whole lot more, than this one.

But just because I didn’t like this story, doesn’t mean it’s completely trash, ’cause it’s not.

I do kind of like how Peter Parker is in this rebellious teenage stage, where he doesn’t JUST listen to his elders.

Even if they are his heroes.

He now thinks for himself, and tries to do what HE thinks is right.


‘Cause at some point all of our kids grow up, and learn that they can no longer just follow us blindly. So that’s a cool sentiment.

Oh, and even though the Spider-Group chat got on my last nerves, I did like that little Spider had people he could actually talk too!

People who could REALLY understand what he was going through, empathize with him, and guide him, so he wouldn’t make the same mistakes they did.

I’ll always love a mentor storyline woven in.

I’m a sucker for struggling kids, getting the help they need, by people who care and understand.

But the thing is … I need to feel something more than once or twice, to really enjoy a film.

I need to be completely enraptured into a film! Suck me all the way into the story, and make me really feel, and believe it.


“Spider-Man: No Way Home” doesn’t do that.

Not for me at least.

The only true moment I really felt something, was while they were talking about death.

That, and when Peter lost control of his anger! THAT I felt. But that was it.

Still, the worst part of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” …

Was never feeling like anyone was in any real kind of danger!


I never believed for one second that someone was gonna get hurt. Which is insane, for a film, that had how many villains in it?

Absolutely, positively, in freaking sane!

Even when the MIT lady was screaming for help, I didn’t believe anything would actually happen to her. Spidey would swoop in and save the day, no matter what.

And I think that’s what hurt the most here.

“Spider-Man: No Way Home” was just a very low stakes, light-hearted, kid film, with no real pressing conflict. Outside of Green Goblin, there wasn’t much to love.


Shaye is an Entertainment Writer from Brooklyn, NY and a big fan of anything and everything superpowers related (especially if kids/teens are involved), cooking + baking shows (like MasterChef Junior and Cupcake Wars), teen dramas, sitcoms, comedies, and legal dramas. When she's not binging the latest series on Netflix or writing, you can find her spilling her thoughts on the Brown Side of Disney Chat or creating YouTube videos with her daughter for their new family site, Popcorn and Tater Tots.

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In Theaters

Issa Hard Knock Life: “Creed 3” Hits Us With Major Lessons About Survival, Overcoming The Past, And Forgiving Ourselves 



Let’s just kick it straight to the point here — I haven’t seen “Creed 1” or 2, but when they announced Jonathan Majors would be getting into the ring with Michael B. Handsome, I mean Jordan, I knew I needed to see “Creed 3”! So when I got the invite to screen the latest film in the “Creed” franchise, I immediately said yes. I mean, Jonathan has been on a roll lately, and was great in “Ant-Man 3“. And Michael has always been doing the damn thing! So there was no way I was passing up watching both men on screen in IMAX. Let’s be real now.

And now that I’ve literally seen the sweat drippin’ all over their bodies … I don’t think I need to see anything else this year. Kidding, there’s a lot of other movies I’m excited for this year. Like Magazine Dreams … which of course stars our fave Jonathan again.

But if the half naked dancers in “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” excited you … brace yourselves.

“Creed 3” Full Review

creed 3 review

While Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut may not possess the sexiest storyline of the year …

Considering it features two friends who grew up together in a foster home under terrible conditions who both make a bad decision of their own one night that leaves one of them running for their very life and the other flying pass GO and going straight to jail. (Do not collect $200.) It does feature two of the sexiest Black actors in the game right now.

And I mean … what more can you ask for?! That’s about as good as it gets! Right? Wrong.

Creed 3 is the story of most men from the hood forced to learn how to survive on their own …

With little to no guidance in the hard knock streets of a big city that doesn’t seem to care about its own. It’s the story of men who make one bad decision after another as a kid with no one else to depend on that ends up costing them their life in some way or the other. The story of men who grow up together but grow distant as one moves out, grows up, and becomes better … while the other remains stagnant and stuck in the past.


And honestly, it’s the story of men who could have resolved all their god damn childhood trauma with therapy and time, or at least by talking to their wives, but chose to ignore communicating with one another and literally threw hands instead. Men! Am I right?

(l-r.) Michael B. Jordan stars as Adonis Creed, Mila Kent as Amara and Tessa Thompson as Bianca in CREED III | Photo credit: Eli Ade © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

But despite it all … “Creed 3” was a pleasure to watch!

Because while it is a story of men who clearly grew up in survival mode, had to overcome their past, and learn how to forgive themselves (not just others) … it’s highly entertaining and ends not just with a physical win in the ring, but also with a win deep within.

Even though one of our favorites had to walk away from the battle field without the championship belt … emotionally and mentally, there were no losers here and I love how positively “Creed 3” ended.

And even while screaming positive mental health messages to our Black men (like the simple “walk away, even if they hit you first, because sometimes it’s just not worth it” — lesson that I’ve tried so hard to teach many of my own students) Michael B. Jordan’s first film as a director somehow manages to still be an invigorating and powerfully entertaining film.

I mean … I walked into the boxing ring angry and pissed off myself (due to something that happened right before the movie, that I’ll refrain from rehashing at the momento), and for the first 5 to 10 minutes I was convinced that I would be too angry to enjoy the movie, or my popcorn. But “Creed 3” was so dang good it changed my whole mood! Jonathan and Michael’s cute banter and brother like friendship, which was clear from the moment they were on screen together, forced me to be happy! I actually left the movie smiling and in a great mood.

And if we’re being honest … the production of this film was seriously top notch!

I don’t think I remember anything from the story other than being happy every time Michael and Jonathan were on screen! But those fighting scenes? I remember those!


They were insane!

And those sound effects? Incredible! Watching this film in IMAX is definitely the right move, if you can cough up the extra cash to do so!

Plus the cinematography is phenomenal and I’m still tryna figure out how they recorded someone literally knocking the sweat off of homeboy … so you could see all the water droplets go flying! Not to mention the creativity of those side by side shots?!

I mean give them folks 5 stars and a raise because they did that! I loved it!

(l-r.) Mila Kent stars as Amara, Tessa Thompson as Bianca and Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed in CREED III | Photo credit: Eli Ade © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t some happy go lucky film.

Sure it’s entertaining, and exciting to watch, but it’s definitely violent! Brooklyn me had my hands balled in a fist the entire film because every time someone got hit hard I took it personally and wanted to hit back. But the film was still amazing, and even catered to us “just here for Jonathan Majors, don’t mind me” folks.

So yes — if you’re not familiar with “Creed 1” or 2 , it’s okay to watch “Creed 3” first.

They definitely walked us newbies all the way to the back of the bus and held our hands through it because I didn’t feel lost at all while watching 3.


I’m sure I’ll have more of a personal and emotional connection to the characters outside of “I wanna see Jonathan and Michael on screen” once I do watch 1 & 2 (because I do plan on watching the full trilogy, especially now that they’re streaming on HBO Max). But even without knowing who these characters really are, I had a really great time watching this. So you can totally watch it without seeing the first two.

Watching “Creed 3” first definitely made me wanna watch the first two even more though. So I’ll go back and watch them before I see this again.

Jonathan Majors stars as Damian Anderson in director Michael B. Jordan’s CREED III | Photo credit: Eli Ade © 2023 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

Because I am definitely watching “Creed 3” again!

Although the music was used sparingly … or should I say sparringlyget it? Which felt a tad different than what I’m usually used to in films that I love. (Music tends to always drive my emotions, and usually is one of the biggest factors on whether I become emotionally connected to a story.) They did use the music in this very intentionally. Like for intro music when the boxers came out which felt, right. So I can’t really complain about it.

And you know I don’t have to talk about their acting because the boys have both proven time and time again (*cough* “Black Panther”, “Lovecraft Country” … just to name a few) that they’re both superb regardless of who you put them next to. I’d love to see them team up or even battle it out again in a Marvel film. However, I just really love them on screen together — whether they’re just being playful, or screaming at each other with full force. Doesn’t matter. Just put them together in another film, and I’m sold!

However, the women in the film — specifically, Mila Davis-Kent and Tessa Thompson really held their own, and kept those boys inline. And I really hope they do a Creed 4 so little Mila, who played Amara Creed, can keep the family boxing tradition of winning championships alive. With Disney Plus releasing their new “Echo” Marvel series soon, and Netflix casting a deaf female player in their social media competition reality series “The Circle“, ASL baddies are finally getting their shine and I want more films with badass women who sign!

So yeah … I look forward to what hopefully lies ahead.

And until then, I’m just gonna keep rewatching “Creed 3” because the front row of my IMAX theater did not do this film justice and I totally need a redo! Plus, who doesn’t like seeing foine men sweat? It’s too cold for the men to be running around on the basketball court right about now, so I might as well get my fix right here in theaters.



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In Theaters

There’s More To Love About “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” Than Just Jonathan Majors



ant-man and the wasp quantumania review

If you’re a “casual” Marvel fan, like moi, who doesn’t take the Marvel films too seriously, then chances are you probably weren’t even excited to see “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” for its plot in the first place! While the “Ant-Man” films are some of my faves, because ants doing things I never thought they could do, thoroughly entertains me, I wasn’t DYING to see the latest “Ant-Man” film because Paul Rudd is now an “Avenger”. (Can we really even call him that? Ugh. He feels more like one of the Avenger’s silly little sidekicks, who hangs around for the snacks and accidentally gets caught up in all the drama.)

Honestly, I was just down for the ride because we stan a Black king … I mean Kang … I’m here to see Kang, aka Jonathan Majors!

After watching him in the final episodes of the Loki series, I knew I wanted more Kang in my life! The villain portrayed by Mr. Majors, is just too intriguing for me to ignore. And even though I entered the IMAX theater, for Jonathan Majors … I left pleasantly surprised at how much more there was to love about the “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” movie!

That doesn’t mean the movie is perfect.

With a runtime of 2 hours and 3 minutes, that feels quite short compared to a few recent releases, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” has its pros and its cons. Like most Marvel films, if not all. But I definitely enjoyed watching it. Which I can’t say the same for the last few films I’ve seen *cough* Spider-Man *cough*.


Anywho, here’s everything this casual Marvel fan loved (and hated) about the latest installment of the “Ant-Man” franchise.

An “Ant-Man And The Wasp Quantumania” Review For Casual Marvel Fans

Spoiler Alert – If you haven’t seen “Ant-Man And The Wasp Quantumania”, this review will spoil a few things, so I can explain what was loved and hated. But it won’t spoil or include major plot lines! So you can totally read this. Unless you loathe all kinds of spoilers. In that case, bookmark this joint and wait until you’ve seen the movie.

ant-man and the wasp quantumania review
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. © 2022 MARVEL.

There’s a lot to love about “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”.

Like it’s humor, and the silly moments (and characters), that we’ll find throughout the Quantum realm.

Fom the moment “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” begins, it’s apparent that this one isn’t for the “Marvel bros” who like their films to start off kicking ass. No this one’s for us little guys, the ones who recently enjoyed “Thor: Love and Thunder”, and thought “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was a snooze fest. Sorry, not sorry.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is for those of us who like it when cute characters talk. Seriously! And if the name William Jackson Harper means anything to you … yes you my fellow “The Good Place” fans … then having him in this film immediately alerts you to what’s to come. (Now I don’t always think his humor is great, but it works in this.)

William Jackson Harper as Quaz in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

Plus Scott’s arc as a character is kind of amusing.

On one end we have this guy who’s finally learning to get his shit together so he can be there for his daughter. But then on the other end — everyone just sees him as a thief still. Like no matter how much he tries to “get out” he’s somehow always sucked back in. And that’s sort of the reality of ex-cons right? Redemption is hard AF when you’re in and out of prison.

I also really loved the world building and the visual effects.

Although, some of it isn’t that great, and you can pretty much tell it’s fake. But it’s still a pretty freaking cool world to be in — the Quantum Realm, that is.

And the costumes are everything!

But I guess, that’s just the standard we’ve come to expect in a Marvel film, right?

ant-man and the wasp quantumania review
MIchelle Pfieffer as Janet van Dyne in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

Hell, even M.O.D.O.K was cute to me.

Although I’ve seen folks say they hated it. I didn’t. And that really just boils down to the fact that, this film is supposed to be wacky, its what we’ve come to expect from Ant-Man and Thor. It’s what us “casual fans” have grown to love.

Yet, there’s one thing in particular about the “Ant-Man” franchise that continues to amaze me.

And that’s the way they continuously weave the ants in. It’s impressive to me. And if that just makes me easy to please, then so be it. However, by movie 2 I figured they’d drop the whole ant “act” and move on to something a little less ridiculous, but they didn’t.

Throughout every movie, they stick to their core message — that these ants can do just about anything — and I really love that.

I mean have y’all seen the “Fantastic Beasts” movies? Must I remind you that the magical creatures are literally in every title, yet are practically non existent in the films themselves? It’s insane. So I love that Marvel doesn’t lose sight of what makes Ant-Man … ant man.

Of course “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” isn’t perfect.

(L-R): Michael Douglas/Hank Pym, Michelle Pfeiffer as Janet Van Dyne, and Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

It’s giving … “where have I seen this before” …

Because the film does unfortunately feel like it borrows it’s greatness from a few other films that I love — including “Dune”, “Star Wars”, “Alice Through The Looking Glass”, “The Mitchells Vs The Machines”, and even Disney’s latest film “Strange World”. Which dulls its creativity a notch, since it feels like we’re just mushing multiple movies together at this point.

But that doesn’t mean it’s still not entertaining, because it is.

Also, what’s up with this villain? And the freaking ending!?

Am I supposed to hate him? Root for him? Because even after watching two hours of The Conquerer … I’m still not convinced I should hate Kang. Part of me is still like “ehhhh there’s gotta be something they’re not telling us about this guy, yes we know he destroyed worlds, but why did he do that? Can someone tell me WHY I’m supposed to hate him?”

ant-man and the wasp quantumania review
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

Then the Black nerd in me kicks in and I just refuse to keep overlooking how Marvel movies continue to portray Black super-humans as less than. Like great … yes Kang’s played by Jonathan Majors, but now we get to see the big Black guy destroy things. Perfect. (They don’t already have us in enough of those roles huh mate.)

And then the ending which I won’t even mention because it’s so trash … is another blatant slap in the face for a Black character of this multitude. I know it’s supposed to be goofy and what not, but I’m a tad disappointed in that outcome.

I also really hate how Marvel portrays mothers.

Why do we keep creating this narrative that mothers are bad for wanting to be with their kids? Yet when men do whatever they want … it’s because he’s doing it for his kids!? WTF! Did we not already go through this in “WandaVision” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness“? Can we please stop. It’s so harmful! But ya know … when men write stories, I guess they write what they know or whatever.

(L-R): Kathryn Newton as Cassandra “Cassie” Lang and Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: QUANTUMANIA. Photo by Jay Maidment. © 2022 MARVEL.

Also, ya think we could have gotten a little bit more action, and a little less close up shots of Jonathan?

I’m not saying having sir in the movie is a bad thing, but I mean, come on, it’s an Ant-Man film! Focus here! They could have definitely given us a few more action scenes with my good friend Paul. I did not need to be distracted by Jonathan Majors full lips on the big screen! It’s almost as if they wanted us to be fully invested in this Kang character so we can forget all about the little guy. Even though they literally said to “look out for the little guy”!

Either way Peyton Reed did a great job directing this and I’d definitely be down to see Ant-Man 4.

But maybe they’ll just dive into Kang instead?

That’s where we’re headed so it’ll be nice if he gets his own film. Especially since, like others are saying, that this definitely feels like a Kang story more than an Ant-Man story. Similar to how the “Doctor Strange” sequel was all about the Scarlet Witch. So maybe since they can’t seem to write films for the actual main characters and let the supporting actors … support, maybe Doctor Strange 3 can be all about Kang again.

Who knows. Either way, I’m down! Where Jonathan goes, we follow.


I mean … Ant-Man, follow the ants!


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In Theaters

“Avatar: The Way Of Water” Left Me Angry, For A Multitude Of Reasons



As a Black woman. As a Black mother! As someone who loves both kids and movies. James Cameron’s new “Avatar: The Way of Water” film left me … for a lack of a better word in this review, distressed.

After putting it off for days, I finally convinced myself to attend an advanced screening of “Avatar: The Way of Water” last night.

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to see it. I was convinced I needed to see it, after watching the trailer in theaters. It looked beautiful. (And we all know I absolutely loved the Top Gun sequel, so I was all the more hopeful that this one would be just as great, if not better.)

But as my screening date approached, and my ‘end of year’ energy and patience for anything outside of laying in bed dwindled — I hesitated. Something inside told me it wasn’t worth the extra hassle.

Yet my “dreams” of becoming a “better film critic” wouldn’t allow me to pass up on another opportunity to see a film my peers seemed to rave about. Welp, that’s the last time I let y’all bully me into watching a movie.


“Avatar: The Way of Water” Review

About the sequel …

If you’re unfamiliar with the world of Pandora, or just Avatar’s sequel itself … the film is meant to be about the famous ‘Jake Sully’ (Sam Worthington) — who was once a paralyzed former marine who visited the ‘alien world’ and fell in love with a Na’vi woman (Zoe Saldaña).

Now a married Avatar, a human/Na’vi hybrid, and the leader of “his people”, Jake is also a father of four who must do whatever it takes to save his family. Even if that means leaving those that he loves behind.

But what we actually get, is a story of mixed messages, unnecessary violence, a touch of white colonialism, and a whole lot of nothing.

If this movie was written to purposely anger me and remind me why (most) white people disgust me … it succeeded.

avatar monkey boy
(L-R): Jack Champion as Spider and Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

While it may be beautiful to watch on screen, the story of “Avatar: The Way of Water” is basically a mashup of Disney’s “Pocahontas” and “Tarzan” on steroids. Especially since they insist on calling one of the kids ‘monkey boy’ and the people ‘indigenous’.

Outside of its impeccable world creation, a few heartfelt moments and it’s “Free Willy” similarities, the story doesn’t do much for me. And instead of ending on a positive note, it ends with a wonderful display of frail male ego, completely throwing aside its core theme. 

avatar free willy scene
A Tulkun in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

It’s triggers …

The film starts out, and continues throughout, with a shocking amount of violence towards kids, that is extremely triggering for anyone that identifies as a Black mother. And this is one of the many tells that this movie wasn’t made for “us”. But it’s this continuous display of white supremacy in a “cultural” village, that forces me to wonder why white men are so insistent on being seen as the almighty, and all powerful.

Who hurt you?! It surely wasn’t the Native Americans or Africans you enslaved, and now use in every story you tell to remind those of how “powerful” you are. It surely wasn’t the immigrants and children you left for dead at the border, because “they don’t belong here”. As if you yourself came to this land here by invitation.

avatar the way of water review
Quaritch (Stephen Lang) in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

So excuse me if my trauma as a Black person, as a Black woman, and as a Black mother who was born right here in the good ol’ USA … is triggered when your story has purposely woven in the worst parts of my history, of our history, so nonchalantly.

Excuse me, if I can only see the Na’vi people as Native Americans in blue paint, who were forced out of their homes so you could take over, and disrespect their land, animals, and culture.

Excuse me, if I can only see the Na’vi children being pushed to the ground, as little Black girls and boys, who have guns pushed in their faces, to remind them that you think Black children are worthless and beneath you. Maybe police brutality wasn’t a thing when you sat down to write this script, forgive me … the pandemic wiped out two years, and now all time is frazzled.

avatar the way of water review
Tuk (Trinity Bliss) in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Finally when the blatant triggers stop angering you for a moment, and we’re given a lovable heartwarming scene of child innocence, as they learn a new culture, make new friends and love interests, in a land that feels unlike their own, we’re slapped on the other cheek with cowardly displays of the frail male ego.

Not only is Jake Sully portrayed as a father who is unable to protect his family, or community. They add insult to injury by making him a coward as well. And considering he’s now the leader of the Na’vi Forest villagers, people who share one too many similarities with Native Americans for us to see them as ‘white’, this storytelling leaves me completely disgusted.

avatar sully family
(L-R): Tsireya (Bailey Bass), Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), and Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Of course you would create a story about a fake culture, fake community, and then make them the less-thans in their own world! Why would you create a story about a culture of your own that shows others how truly wonderful being different can be?

Time after time again, we get stories about women who are stronger than their male counterparts, braver, and wiser — disguised as stories that are meant to uplift women, and show them that they too can be strong. But as a Black woman, I’m all too familiar with the fact that I can be strong. Where are the stories of men who protect us, and listen to us?

Why does it take death, for men to be capable of hearing anything other than their own voices? Why do men still write narratives, where they put women through the worst, and then ask her to be his all, while she’s in pain and mourning, because he “needs” her? Why can’t you envision a world where you’re not monsters?! Is that too much to ask for?

na'vi people in avatar
(L-R): Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

And when that’s all said and done, after the violence towards children, the cowardly non-courageous father, and shell of a man who “leaves to protect”, instead of staying to fight for what’s rightfully theirs. Immediately throwing me back to the helpless father in “Till” who stood by and watched Emmett get taken, to “protect his family”. As if this isn’t emotionally exhausting enough, here comes the poachers and the disrespect for animals. And while I was excited to see them use sign language underwater, it’s all a bit too much.

How many times do white people need to “borrow” from other cultures to “create their own”, instead of just learning and respecting others? How many times will they retell the stories of our past that haunt so many of us still to this very day, for “entertainment”?

The stories described above are woven into “Avatar: The Way of Water” and are everything I hate about this movie.

What I wanted instead …

Had they given us just a story about the Metkayina village, its people, and how hard it was for the Na’vi to adapt, due to nature taking its course and removing them from their home, with the complexities of parenthood, I would have given this 5 stars easily.

There’s a lot to love about Pandora! Its world creation is seriously one of the best, and easily one of the most believable sci fi flicks of our time. Plus, its sea creators are absolutely adorable. It’s only a shame that its story doesn’t match up. I really and truly had hoped that this movie would make me feel the way the Avatar Flight of Passage ride at Walt Disney World did.

Had it not been for its stunning cinematography, “Avatar: The Way of Water” would be an easy cast away, just like this year’s “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore“. Which I almost forgot about.

avatar the way of water review
(L-R): Ronal (Kate Winslet), Tonowari (Cliff Curtis), and the Metkayina clan in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Should you still watch “Avatar: The Way of Water” in theaters?

So if you’re wondering if you should bother seeing the newest Avatar film in theaters, I’d wait and watch it on your big screen at home … for free, when it’s finally streaming. That way if you’re as angered as I was, you can pause and grab popcorn, or discard it altogether, and watch something else — like “The Woman King“, “Everything Everywhere All At Once, RRR” or even “Turning Red” for what may be your millionth watch by now. Hell even “The Bad Guys” was a shocker this year.

If you’re wondering if you should let your kids watch this, please be alarmed that its PG-13 rating, is definitely for older kids. Normally my 10 year old can get away with watching PG 13 films, since most are on the milder side, but this one does have a ton of potty mouth kids who cuss too damn much, and as I said before, there’s definitely a lot of violence. Similar to the amount of violence in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” I suppose?

If you already bought your tickets to see it in theaters — may the force be with you. I hope you enjoy it despite me announcing, what I feel like, are its flaws, because it is a good movie outside my rage. It’s just not a GREAT movie, like I was led to believe, and for the reasons above.

And if you’re planning to see this in 3D, and you wear thick, big glasses like moi — good luck, because I struggled. And a film should not be so damn difficult to watch, when you have four eyes to begin with. Whew lawd. Glasses folks — just watch it in IMAX, if available, or standard instead. I spent half the movie pushing the 3D glasses upward, up off the bridge of my nose so I could breathe properly. It was a big distraction.

avatar the way of water review
(L-R): Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) and a Tulkun in 20th Century Studios’ AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

One last thing …

That end credits song wasn’t it. The Weekend wasn’t needed there, just like Jake’s whitewashed dreads needed a re-twist, bad. But alas, when one has to choose between family, their pride, and common sense, one doesn’t have much room left to think about their hairstyles on camera. Either way, they both could have easily been removed from this film, and no one would bat an ungrateful eye.


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