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18 Major Things The 'Last Airbender' Movie Got Wrong

Updated June 4, 2020 98.4k votes 9.4k voters 419.9k views18 items

List RulesVote up the biggest mistakes made adapting Avatar: The Last Airbender

Never has there been a more reviled cartoon adaptation than the live-action version of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The film takes a great Nickeloden cartoon, drags it through the mud, then stomps on Aang's head for good measure. There are many, many reasons the movie is bad, but the focus here is on how specific elements of the Avatar show were mishandled in the movie.

Overall, there are about a million ways The Last Airbender movie screwed up Avatar, and now many of them are compiled in one handy list. Obviously, the film became a big example of Hollywood's tendency to whitewash casting, since the good guys are turned into Caucasians.

This list isn't about that, though. This is about all the other things that annoyed Avatar fans. So check out this list to relive the worst things about The Last Airbender movie, and learn what exactly M. Night Shyamalan and his team of filmmakers got wrong about the classic cartoon. Short Answer? Everything.

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  • 1

    Earthbenders Apparently Don't Know How To Earthbend

    Six guys. That's how many earthbenders it takes to slowly raise a small rock and move it a few feet forward. Three guys could have done more damage picking it up by hand and bashing a Fire Nation soldier in the face. In the cartoon, fans are blessed with awesome earthbenders like Bumi and Toph.

    In the movie, they're stuck with these guys. If this was the kind of opposition they were up against, maybe it isn't so surprising that the inept Fire Nation soldiers took over the world in the first place.

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  • The Movie Forgets Sokka Is Sup is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 18 Major Things The 'Last Airbender' Movie Got Wrong
    Photo: Avatar: The Last Airbender / Nickelodeon

    If you're a casual moviegoer, you would be forgiven for not remembering that Sokka was a character in The Last Airbender movie. A plank of wood could have played his part and everything would have unfolded the exact same way. This especially hurts knowing that Sokka is arguably the best character in the original series.

    He is always funny, but his character also gets one of the better arcs, transforming from a cocky, inept buffoon to a brilliant, hilarious buffoon. The movie barely gives him any lines - or anything else to do, really - and worst of all, he tells maybe two (unfunny) jokes throughout the entire movie.

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  • 3

    The Movie Puts An Earthbender Prison On A Bunch Of Earth

    The clear point of this movie is to show that the world has lost all hope and only the Avatar can restore it. There's nothing wrong with that, except for some truly boneheaded story choices. Like when Team Avatar stumbles across an earthbending prison right in the heart of earth kingdom village. That's right, earthbenders are being held captive, while surrounded by the one thing that makes them all-powerful. For some reason, it takes one small kid standing up and saying, "Hey, guys, maybe you should stand up for yourselves," for them to do anything.

    In the cartoon, the prison is on a big metal boat in the middle of the ocean, which makes 100% more sense.

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  • 4

    The Movie Just Glosses Over Katara's Training As A Waterbender

    The first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender is just as much about Katara's quest to become a great waterbender as it is about Aang's journey. Near the end, it gets harder for her. When they get to the Northern Water Tribe in the series, waterbending Master Pakku immediately agrees to train Aang, but dismisses Katara. She's a girl and supposedly isn't tough enough to fight. But in a badass Katara moment, she proves herself worthy of training and starts on her way to waterbending mastery.

    That differs immensely from the movie, as Katara's training is never a factor - or mentioned at all, for that matter. The film version exists pretty much purely to support Aang's narrative.

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