Netflix's Avatar Can Show Both Sides Of Bending (That The Movie Didn't)

Netflix’s reboot of Avatar: The Last Airbender can show the full picture of element bending that The Last Airbender movie failed to. The upcoming Avatar reboot series, first announced in 2018, will be the second time Nickelodeon’s popular anime-inspired series has been adapted to live-action. The first, 2010’s The Last Airbender, is one that isn’t looked back on fondly by many Avatar viewers, to put it gently.

The ability to “bend” the elements of water, earth, fire, and air is at the center of Avatar and its follow-up series, The Legend of Korra, and one that The Last Airbender completely failed to capture in its action scenes. However, element bending is only one half of the equation, with Avatar also showing different applications of the elements. This is the internal side of bending that Netflix’s Avatar can dive into, with numerous specific examples seen on the animated show.


RELATED: Netflix's Last Airbender Can Improve Aang By Making Him More Like Korra

One of the most well-known additional aspects of bending was in the application of Waterbending for healing. This was a skill that Katara, as a very adept Waterbender, would take on, with The Legend of Korra showing her decades later as a respected healer in her advanced years. Aang’s origins as a monk of the Southern Air Temple also show the deeper, spirutual levels of Airbending.

With Airbenders known to be passive and peaceful, meditation is a key aspect of Aang’s training as an Air Nomad and young monk, and another area where the Netflix take on Avatar can explore the depth of the elements. Additionally, fire was an element misunderstood by even many in the Fire Nation, with Aang and Zuko coming to learn that balance, rather than rage, was the true essence of fire.

The Last Airbender had no shortage of horrible issues, and one of the worst was its bending-based action scenes, which were infamously flat and a terrible adaptation of those of the show. While a massive failing on its own, it also shortchanged the elements in another way by not utilizing the more internal and esoteric aspects relating to them. This might have been one of the many terrible side effects of The Last Airbender’s extremely compacted 103-minute story. With 8-episodes to work with, Netflix’s Avatar doesn’t have the same problem.

Avatar turned the idea of bending the elements into legitimate martial arts, but as anyone whose studied martial arts can attest, there are levels that go much deeper than simply fighting. Netflix's Avatar has to get bending right anyway, and can very much make up for the utter disappointment of The Last Airbender’s element bending martial arts sequences. What could make the reboot even better for the Avatar: The Last Airbender audience lies in making use of the internal aspects of bending, as well.

NEXT: Avatar Theory: Kyoshi Is Aang's Mentor In Netflix's Last Airbender Reboot

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About The Author Brad Curran (881 Articles Published)

Growing up, Brad developed an innate love of movies and storytelling, and was instantly enamored with the world of adventure while following the exploits of Indiana Jones, Japanese kaiju, and superheroes. Today, Brad channels his thoughts on all manner of movies, from comic book films, sci-fi thrillers, comedies, and everything in between through his writings on Screen Rant. Brad also offers philosophical musings on martial arts and the filmographies of everyone from Jackie Chan to Donnie Yen on Kung Fu Kingdom, where he's also had the privilege of interviewing many of the world's great stunt professionals, and hearing plenty of gripping stories on injuries incurred in their line of work and the intricacies of designing the acts of death defiance he first thrilled to as a youngster. When he's not writing, Brad enjoys going on a ride with the latest action hit or Netflix original, though he's also known to just pop in "The Room" from time to time. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradCurran.

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