Movie Recap: The Last Airbender

credit: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender is an American franchise of almost two decades at the time of writing. Throughout its course since 2005, it has produced a lot of works such as movies, comic books, and animated series, and even inspired some game makers to create spin-off games based on it.

The franchise revolved around the premise of some Asiatic races who could control elements by the power of their mind. This process of manipulation is called “bending,” and most human characters associated with a certain element could “bend” elements to a certain degree.

There are four elements in the Avatar universe: water, earth, air, and fire. And only the eponymic “Avatar” could prowess mastery in bending all of the four elements. Thus, the “Avatar” could restore the balance of elements as he could use each element to repel overpowering ones and to boost underpowered ones.

This would be the premise for the movie we will talk about today, The Last Airbender of 2010. It was based on the original franchise, but the “Avatar” word in the title had to be dropped because of a hit movie with blue people (not The Smurfs) released the year prior. Below, we will have a quick recap of the movie in an easy-to-understand and short way.

The Avatar

Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. It had been more than a century since the Fire Nation attacked the other three elemental nations in an attempt to control them all.

The viewers were introduced to two members of the Southern Water Tribe – Sokka, and his sister, Katara. While living their days as usual, they stumbled upon a unique iceberg, and through their powers, they broke the iceberg, which released Aang and his flying pet bison Appa.

credit: The Last Airbender

The struggle for Aang

Freeing Aang out of the iceberg, however, sent out a beam of light into space, which sent out a sign to a Fire Nation prince who happened to be nearby that the Avatar was released there. This prince’s name was Zuko. He had gone deep down in honor in the Fire nation ranks, and he wanted to restore his honor and dignity. To do this, he ought to keep the Avatar and take it to the Fire Nation for their benefit.

Zuko’s ship landed in the Southern Water Tribe and wreaked havoc in the village. To avoid further destruction, the Avatar just turned himself in. The Avatar is important for the reasons described earlier.

Aboard Zuko’s ship, he was captured, but he managed to escape and rejoin Sokka and Katara thanks to his airbending powers. To master all elements, Aang had to train. The three went first to Aang’s home village, where they found out that it was destroyed by the Fire Nation and had everyone in it killed. The agony made Aang enter the “Avatar state.”

credit: The Last Airbender

The battle with the Fire Nation

Then they went to an Earth Nation village but were captured by some Fire Nation members. They escaped. While distancing themselves from that village, the waterbenders admitted that they were not skilled enough to teach him waterbending. But they went to the Northern Water Tribe to train in the ways of the masters.

During the training, the Fire Nation commander Zhao started an attack on the Water village. Zuko also continued his hunt for the Avatar for himself. Zuko and Katara battled, but the latter lost, which forced Aang to reenter the Avatar state. There, the Dragon Spirit told him to use the ocean to manifest the power of the water.

He went back to his senses and battled with Zuko until the latter was frozen by Katara. Zuko’s uncle, Iroh, together with Zhao, reached a sacred temple where the Moon Spirit resided in the form of a koi fish. Iroh killed the fish despite Zhao’s protests, making the waterbenders lose their power. The murder made Zhao enraged and revealed his full mastery of firebending.

Princess Yue sacrificed her life by jumping into the water to revive the Moon Spirit, which restored the waterbenders powers, giving them the power to fight again. Meanwhile, Aang did as the Dragon Spirit told him to and used the ocean as an enormous wall to drive the fire nation away.

The Fire Lord Ozai learned of the tragedy from his men. He tasked his daughter, Princess Azula, to make sure that the Avatar would not learn how to bend earth and fire as he would become too dangerous.

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