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Avatar: The Last Airbender (2024) | Series Review

Condensing a 20-episode season into 8-episodes is a near impossible task, yet, the new live-action of Avatar: The Last Airbender from Netflix takes on the challenge. Does it live up to animated series, which so many people love, or does it miss the mark many live-action adaptions seem to do?

After watching the first two episodes I was on board even though I didn’t agree with some of the changes they made, like taking away the child-like wonder of Aang, Sokka’s chauvinism, and some of the story elements that made me want to continue watching. 

I don’t mind so much the change to Aang, but I feel as though they cut a large part of Sokka’s character growth to avoid hurting some feelings. He grew up thinking he was better than any woman and as the series progressed he learned the opposite is true. Often pitted with strong women who taught him to grow. Handled correctly it would have been a fantastic way to show great levels of growth.

The casting of the main casting is near perfect. Aang (Gordon Cormier), Katara (Kiawentiio), Zuko (​​Dallas Liu), Sakka (Ian Ousley), Iroh (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), and Azula (Elizabeth Yu) to name a few. Some of the secondary characters weren’t quite able to capture the essence of their counterparts, especially Bumi (king of Omashu). The Kioshi warriors, however, were spot on.

Avatar: The Last Airbender. Maria Zhang as Suki in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

There were a few oooh moments throughout those first two episodes. As the series progressed they lost me with some of the decisions they made to still keep some of the key elements from the animated version. They just didn’t work the same way as they felt rushed. To keep this review spoiler-free I will avoid discussing my biggest complaint in detail, but the Omashu episode in particular was so different it lost the impact of the animated episode delivered.

After a few rough episodes, the series found its footing again. Even though they condensed some of the story elements it still worked. If a second season is greenlite I hope they inject some of the joy and goofiness back into the characters instead of keeping them a little too serious and more mature than they should be at the start of this journey. 

Avatar: The Last Airbender. Daniel Dae Kim as Ozai in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Robert Falconer/Netflix © 2023

For me, the live-action version was a little disappointing but still enjoyable even with all the changes. I’m not sure if I’ll revisit it as often as I have the animated series, but am looking forward to seeing more. Let’s hope a second season is on the horizon.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender (2024) | Series Review


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About The Author

Since seeing Star Wars on TV as a child Shane has been hooked on movies. In 2001 he decided to start up his own webpage dedicated to his new love DVD. Now, over 20-years later he continues to FEED YOUR HUNGER with the latest Theatrical, Blu-ray and DVD reviews.

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