REVIEW: Avatar - The Last Airbender
Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the best television shows ever created.
End of post.
Almost had you fooled, didn’t I?
The thing is, those are my true thoughts.
Synopsizing feels like a joke.
Picking the show apart by character or #bestmoments does it (and you) a disservice.
Nevertheless, analysis is what I do here, and I will try my hardest to communicate my appreciation for this mammoth of a beauty in 500 words.
This is my fourth re-watch of the 2003 series, but as always, I felt every single second like it was my first. Each tear as my favorite characters struggled. Each smile as they grew. Everything. The whole gamut of emotions. A spectrum of life so seldom tackled by humanity, but done here in a way that entertains and reflects on our better nature.
The structure is awesome in the classical sense of the word; layered more finely than a French baked croissant but twice as snappy and satisfying. It develops at the perfect pace, with rich subtext and sympathetic motivations. It never forgets to revel in the fun of storytelling, be that in the form of astounding with spectacle, or slowing down with humor and slices of life.
It always assumes the very best of its audience. Foreshadowing is used sparingly and never wipes your nose in the events to come. Time jumps are a given but don’t screw with flow or make you guess what happened earlier. There is always more than one thing going on in a frame and what doesn’t have to be shown, isn’t. It owns what it is every step of the way and hopes you’re on board for the ride of a lifetime.
The characters are skyscrapers of glass; mirrors to each other but large entities in themselves. You can find shared qualities across the group but each has their own specific design and outlook; complementary and yet antithetical. You can appreciate them from afar but the closer you get the more intricate and special they become. Delicately performed. Masterfully written. Supreme in style.
Villainy is treated as such, but is not one dimensional, or irredeemable. Rather, the antagonists are just like protagonists. They have complicated but relatable backgrounds. They have moments of strength and moments of weakness. They discover, love, and change. Not always for the better, but always in a way that comes across as authentic.
Visually it's an innovator. Simple but effective. Fluid when it needs to be. Colorful while maintaining a sense of order and poise. There’s combination of influences to the art direction that becomes an entirely new approach. Iconic. Electric. Gorgeous.
Choices contain weight that feels real. Actions make sense given their nuanced context. End results don’t cheat in any way shape or form.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is this remarkable piece of media that envelops you over the course of 22ish hours and leaves you all the better for it.
It is one of the best televisions shows ever created.
End of post. (For real this time)