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Is Netflix’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender” Worth the Watch?

By Orgesta Tolaj


26 February 2024

Avatar: The Last Airbender

© Netflix

After years of anticipation, Netflix’s adaptation of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” has finally been released. But the question on everyone’s mind is: is it any good? Fans of the original animated series have been eagerly awaiting this live-action version. With such high expectations for the live-action adaptation, there is a lot of pressure on Netflix to deliver a quality product that stays true to the beloved source material. So, how did Netflix do?

The Release of Netflix’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender”

The new live-action adaptation of “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” which debuted on Netflix on Feb. 22, is a remake of the beloved 2005 Nickelodeon animated series. This isn’t the first attempt at a live-action adaptation. In 2010, M. Night Shyamalan’s version faced criticism for casting white actors in Asian roles and received widespread negative reviews. It maintains a low 5% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Avatar: The Last Airbender
© Netflix

“Avatar: The Last Airbender” is set in a world divided into four nations. Each has people who can manipulate one of the four elements. The Avatar, capable of controlling all elements, is missing, allowing the Fire Nation to wage war on the others. Aang, a young Air Nomad, discovers he’s the next Avatar and, with newfound friends Katara and Sokka, embarks on a journey to master the elements and defeat the Fire Lord, accompanied by Prince Zuko who seeks to capture him.

Why Did the Release Become Controversial?

In 2020, “Avatar” fans were concerned when the original show creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino announced their departure from the live-action remake due to “creative differences.” According to Business Insider, Konietzko stated on Instagram that they would not be involved in the project moving forward. He expressed doubt in their ability to influence its direction meaningfully.

Avatar: The Last Airbender
© bryankonietzko / Instagram

Showrunner Albert Kim faced criticism from fans after stating that the live-action adaptation of “Avatar” shouldn’t solely appeal to children. In an interview with IGN, Kim emphasized the need for the series to have a mature and grounded tone to attract a wider audience. This would include fans of shows like “Game of Thrones.” However, fans expressed discontent, with many feeling that the original series, while suitable for children, addressed mature themes effectively and were concerned that the creators may not understand or respect the source material.

But, Is Netflix’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender” Worth the Watch?

Reactions to the newest iteration of “Avatar” are mixed, with a 60% average score and 77% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. However, critics have varied opinions. Aja Romano, writing for Vox, praised successor showrunner Albert Kim’s version for rejuvenating the franchise and elevating Netflix’s live-action project, despite some quibbles. Moreover, Aramide Tinubu, in Variety, acknowledged the series as an improvement over the previous film adaptation but noted that fans may still wish the original creators had been more involved.

Avatar: The Last Airbender
© Netflix

However, Kelly Lawler, of USA Today, criticized the first season as a regretful mess, suggesting that it missed opportunities to create something visually striking and engaging. Bryan Lowry, on the other hand, appreciated the series’ visuals and action but found fault with its dialogue and performances, making it a bit of a slog for older viewers. Joshua Yehl, from IGN, praised the show’s focus on character development and emotional depth, finding that it adds new layers to already powerful moments from the original series.

Will you be watching “Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender”?

You might also want to read: The Live-Action Naruto Movie Is Finally Becoming a Reality

Orgesta Tolaj

Your favorite introvert who is buzzing around the Hive like a busy bee!