Avatar: The Way of Water has been a long time in the making. James Cameron confirmed that he planned on making sequels to his 2009 blockbuster before it even came out, and he’s finally made good on his promise.

The film has been dazzling moviegoers since its December 16 release, with many critics praising the CGI and the expansion upon themes that were previously hinted at in the original. Some have balked at the length of the film, which is over three hours, but overall, The Way of Water looks to be a resounding success.

For those who haven’t seen it, there are a few different ways to watch it. Here’s a brief rundown of those different ways so you can determine which one suits you best.

Why watch Avatar: The Way of Water?

In a landscape dominated by superhero movies and adapted properties, it’s nice to see a filmmaker dig in and focus on a story that they created from scratch. Avatar: The Way of Water may be a sequel, but it’s one that Cameron has been masterminding for the last two decades, and it doesn’t derive its appeal from the fact that it’s in a shared universe with other blockbusters.

Furthermore, The Way of Water is a staggering visual experience. Cameron has spent years developing the technology that allows him to depict the main characters, and the hard work is evident on the screen. The film is packed with lush imagery and action sequences that boggle the mind, especially if you see it in IMAX. If this improvement between the first film and this one is anything to go by, then Avatar 3 is going to be unbelievable.

What Is Avatar: The Way of Water about?

Avatar: The Way of Water opens with a montage that shows what has happened in the decade plus since the first film. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) has settled into his new life as a Na’vi, and started a family with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). Things get complicated when the Na’vi fall under attack from the humans once more, and are forced to seek refuge with the Metkayina clan of Pandora.

The film expands on the lore of the original, and provides a slew of new, personal dilemmas for the main characters to overcome. Jake underwent a major transformation in Avatar, but here, there’s an emphasis on the internal, and the lengths he’s willing to go to protect his family (adopted or otherwise).

There are lots of returning faces in The Way of Water, but we won’t spoil who they are in case you’ve managed to avoid plot summaries thus far. What we will say is they are cleverly incorporated into the narrative, and their presence suggests a much more ambitious character arc for them than the original hinted at.

Where to stream Avatar: The Way of Water

The emphasis on the visual spectacle of Avatar: The Way of Water has not been an accident, and it’s for this reason that the film is not currently available to watch on official streaming platforms like Hulu, Peacock or Netflix. Cameron’s insistence on providing a “cinematic experience” has resulted in a fairly limited streaming rollout.

The film’s streaming schedule has not yet been announced, which makes sense given how well it’s performed at the box office. It’s likely that the studio will want to keep the film in theaters as long as it keeps pulling in sizable numbers. 

Once things cool down, however, The Way of Water will be released to streaming platforms. The most likely candidates are Disney Plus, given that the original Avatar is in their library, and Amazon Prime, where you’ll be able to rent the film in 2023.

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