‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ Series Early Reviews Are Mixed

All seem to agree the series is better than the original movie with some glowing reviews but there are concerns among some...

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Avatar The Last Airbender Early Reactions Are In

Avatar: The Last Airbender – Cr. Robert Falconer/Netflix © 2024

The biggest Netflix premiere of 2024 is just a week away with Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is perhaps the most anticipated show launch since One Piece. Based on the legendary and beloved Nickelodeon series, the series brings the cartoon to live-action. 

Yesterday at 9 PM PT, the social embargo lifted for the first couple of episodes, with the full series review embargo not lifting until the release day on February 22nd.

We’ll go across the spectrum of early reactions, beginning with the absolute best first reviews and then dive into some of the lesser-kind reviews.

We’ll start with the fan account The Avatarist, who, perhaps unsurprisingly, was the most praised, saying:

“Netflix’s avatar is peak cinema. 10/10 first episode. I will say this. It’s not a 1:1 adaptation (which is good) the show is completely faithful in spirit of the original. It looks like avatar, it feels like avatar. It. Is. Avatar.

Moving over to journalists and critics, we’ll begin with Mike Thomas, who serves as resource editor at Collider. He was more on the positive side than most when he said:

“The first episode of Netflix’s #AvatarTheLastAirbender is fantastic! From the opening scene, you realize that this is far better than the 2010 film.

The fights are great, but the standouts are the actors. These kids FEEL like Team Avatar. A fun new take on a timeless classic.”

Caleb Williams (also known for his website Knight Edge Media, who broke several exclusive stories about the development of Avatar) had an expletive-laden early review saying:

“Netflix’s #AvatarTheLastAirbender is EVERYTHING you hope…the show literally shits all over the movie in the very first 30 seconds!

While I do have some minor issues with the writing/constant exposition…Ian Ousley is just a fucking S.T.A.R.”

CBR’s Ryden has a mostly positive take on the first two episodes saying:

“As a huge #AvatarTheLastAirbender fan, I was satisfied with the first two episodes of the #AvatarNetflix series. I’m cool with the changes and thought the bending was well done! Some of the acting was a little stiff and I wish it was more cinematic, but it’s a solid start!””

Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender. Gordon Cormier as Aang in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Robert Falconer/Netflix © 2023

David Opie, a freelance journalist with bylines in DigitalSpy, among other places, suggests there are issues with the series, but ultimately, the series is decent, saying:

“#AvatarTheLastAirbender eps 1 + 2 are pretty decent so far and I say that as an obsessive fan. There are definitely issues, but it’s better than the controversies would have you think. If you’re open to it, you’ll have fun, but if you’ve already made up your mind, you’ll hate it.”

Dexerto’s Jasmine Valentine also pointed out some flaws in the first two episodes, saying:

“I’m really sorry but I didn’t enjoy AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER much at all. Looks beautiful but isn’t a patch on the original cartoon, even if it is just “inspired by.” Slightly nervous to share my full review next week now hahaha”

Christopher Angelo Gallardo for CoveredGeekly criticized the look of the series and stated that it’s “off to a bad start,” saying:

“I’ve watched the first episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and it’s off to a bad start.

The life and colour that was once there is now non-existent in this live-action adaptation.

Mischaracterisation is present and VFX looks unfinished when not focused on the bending.”

Rafael Motamayor, who writes at IGN, was perhaps the most negative with regard to the series when specifically talking about the first episode. He wrote in a Tweet:

“I am finally allowed to say that the first episode of #AvatarTheLastAirbender is a huge letdown. Sure, the bending looks great and generally the visuals are solid, but this is a mixed bag of an adaptation. Too much exposition, poor writing & horrible pacing. Dallas Liu rules, tho”

All episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender land on Netflix globally next Thursday (February 22nd, 2024) at 12:00 am PT.

Written by

Founder of What's on Netflix, Kasey has been tracking the comings and goings of the Netflix library for over a decade. Covering everything from new movies, series and games from around the world, Kasey is in charge of covering breaking news, covering all the new additions now available on Netflix and what's coming next.

 Poster Rating: TV-14
Language: English
Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Cast: Gordon Cormier, Kiawentiio, Ian Ousley
Season Additions:
  • - Season 1 was added to Netflix on February 22nd, 2024
  • - 3 Seasons was added to Netflix on May 15th, 2020