Let’s blow this thing and go home: Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) and Top Gun Maverick (2022)

I can’t really claim to have been particularly invested in either Avatar: The Way of Water or Top Gun Maverick. I watched Tom Cruise’s 1980s navy erotica as a teenager, off of a VHS copy, and I remember very little, other than snippets of Goose’s death. Meanwhile, I enjoyed watching the piece of Na’vi erotica that was the original Avatar when it came out, but it proved utterly forgettable, and when we recently rewatched it, I found its spectacle tacky and its white-saviour narrative too trite and bland even to be particularly offensive. When the reviews of the two decade(s)-late sequels started to come in, I was surprised to find almost universal praise for Maverick and some surprisingly positive takes on James Cameron’s return to Pandora, even if a lot of the reviews weren’t exactly enthusiastic – including some very complimentary reviews from critics who aren’t exactly fans of big CGI blockbusters.

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