Avatar The Last Airbender: Netflix’s Latest Victim

Avatar The Last Airbender: Netflix’s Latest Victim

By: Kemar Noel

This review may contain spoilers for the Live Action Adaptation of Avatar the Last Airbender.

Netflix has had its hand in a lot of live-action adaptations, “Death Note”, “Cowboy Bebop”, “One Piece”, and more. With its impressive roster of both successes and failures, you’d think this company would be able to nail exactly what would be necessary for any show to succeed but this isn’t the case. Netflix’s recent project “Avatar the Last Airbender’s” live-action adaptation was far from perfect and didn’t live up to the hype.

“Avatar the Last Airbender” was a show that aired back in the early 2000s about a boy named Aang the Avatar and his friends who have to travel across the world so Aang can learn the four elements to beat the fire lord and save the world. The fire nation committed mass genocide against the air nation and tried its best to cripple every other nation to remain in power. The avatar Aang who was asleep for a hundred years returned to this war-torn world and must try and fix it at the age of 12.

There are some things that this show does well and that is more of a hands-on introduction to the darker aspects of Avatar. In this show, the audience is shown how brutal the fire nation can be, something the animated show alluded to but never explicitly shown us. The color pallet and special effects used in this show are pretty good and saved the show in the visual category. The actors for the most part are pretty good and have a lot of potential if there is a continuation after this first season.

There is so much to love about this series, and for the most part the live-action follows the source material enough to where it can be seen as an adaptation but there are a lot of unwelcome changes that do nothing but harm the overall series.

Changes to characters like Katara and Aang are the main problem that the audience has with the show because they are completely stripped of their character. Aang isn’t as carefree and happy as he was in the animated series and the comics; he is down to earth and more serious. The lack of Aang’s desire for fun and adventure takes away from his character and makes his more serious moments lack the impact they would have had if his character remained the same. Another major problem with the show is the fact that Aang doesn’t bend a single drop of water in the first season which is called “Book 1: Water.” 

Katara is stripped of all her anger and passion which makes her character feel out of place in this show. Katara feels more like a side character who has yet to be explored in this show which leaves a bad taste in the mouths of the viewers

The pacing was also very noticeably off in this show; the rush job makes everything else fold under due to constant exposition dumps and complete disregard for character building. Even without watching the original source material, it is quite noticeably condensed. There are always going to be complaints when adapting a show with such high praise as Avatar, but when the source material seems to be completely disregarded in the character-building aspects.

“Avatar’s” original series is a truly timeless piece of art and entertainment, and it deserves all its praises so to see another adaptation fall short of what the source material had to offer is very disappointing, to say the least. 

Taking into account that Netflix’s team disagreed with original creators due to creative differences, it is not too far off to say that Netflix may be trying to make changes to craft “Avatar” in their vision. The problem is that their vision is to improve on something that didn’t need any improvement narratively. This adaptation, while it has many upsides, has too many downsides, and it earns itself a solid 5/10.

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