Avatar is one of those movies it’s easy to have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, it’s visually stunning. A lot of effort went into its making, and that shows. Avatar takes us to another world that seems nothing short of magical compared to our own. Hell, it’s even got dragons and floating mountains. On the other hand, though, the story sucks. The characters are underdeveloped, the overall message is both racist and ableist, and despite giving us an expansive world with its own peoples and cultures, the movie never adequately explores its own characters.
All too often, Avatar got caught up in its own message—environmentalism, which is not a bad message to have—but the movie never found a good balance between telling a story and preaching a lesson. None of that is more apparent than its take on religion.