Film Theory: END the Avatar Cycle! (Avatar the Last Airbender)

Film Theory: END the Avatar Cycle! (Avatar the Last Airbender)

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Water. Earth. Fire. Air. The Avatar, master of all four elements, is tasked with keeping peace between the four nations. We all know that! But have the Avatars actually done a good job at keeping the peace, Loyal Theorists? Between Aang, Korra, and Roku, I DON’T think so! So that begs the question: should there even be an Avatar?!

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Writers: Matthew Patrick, Yosi Berman, Artie Ghosh, and Forrest Lee
Editors: Jerika (NekoOnigiri), Brandon_n_motion, and Koen Verhagen
Assistant Editor: Caitie Turner (Caiterpillart)
Sound Editor: Yosi Berman

#AvatarTheLastAirbender #Avatar #LegendofKorra #Aang #Korra #Waterbending #Firebending #Earthbending #Airbending #Nickelodeon #Theory #FilmTheory #Matpat #Trailer

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40 Responses

  1. Tariq Veal says:

    We need the 4th channel this year to unlock MatPats full potential

  2. Legend Master says:

    As you touched on with Kyoshi a really important factor with Avatars is how theyre raised too. For example, Korra’s biggest flaw throughout her series is her stubbornness and pride. This can easily be traced back to the fact that she discovered the fact that she was the avatar way too young and was subsequently isolated a lot her life while she was trained. As a result while growing up she built her whole identity around being the Avatar and how great/important she is.

    • Sspectre says:

      @Zuriel SchubertI completely agree with you. Korra had to deal with so much and most of it she did it alone in a way no other avatar before her was.

      She never had a clear road to follow and forced to make many impossible decisions. How would she have known that leaving open the spirit portal would create the world’s deadliest air bender?

      How would she have known that Kuvira would become a militant dictator while she recovered from almost dying due to mercury poisoning?

      All this while being a teenager and young adult in season 4, for someone who wasn’t allowed to have a childhood and have friends until she ran away.

    • Zuriel Schubert says:

      @Craig Yeah because he’s a monk. Not just any monk, a prodigy and he trained under a wise and lighthearted Monk Gyatso. He’s wise because that’s the culture and tradition of being an Air Nomad.

      Korra is the closest thing we had to a modern Avatar. And what makes it worst is by giving her everything she needs to become a good avatar physically. The first friends she made in her entire life was with Kai and Bolin. She was trained in her homelands as she is under the wings of the greatest benders at their time. So she doesn’t explore much.

    • Craig Yeah says:

      @Zuriel Schubert No doubt almost all Korra’s failures are a result of her being way too young for the job. It does not help that she is only one human even more so than some other Avatar. She was unable to contact her past lives for much needed advice for quite some time. Shortly after gaining this ability, she lost it.
      Now Aang was young too, younger, and it’s worth noting that if he wasn’t then maybe the whole 100 years lost thing wasn’t necessary, but he was at least mature for his age and able to contact past Avatars for advice.

    • Wasi says:

      To be fair, she grew up in an isolated village learning about how Aang and his predecessors saved the world. About how the Avatar is the key to everything. Aang *wanted* Korra to be fed this information.

      Then when Korra enters the real world, the world has already moved on. The Avatar isn’t really needed as much because technology has compensated for a lot of what the Avatar does.

      Korra talks about how she’s the Avatar a lot because she’s compensating for her role being lost.

    • Zuriel Schubert says:

      Indeed, and that makes her unfit to deal with the problems she was facing during the entirety of LoK. How are you supposed to solve the Equalists problems? How does she even know that converging the spirits to human worlds would bring this much chaos? How would she handle with the fact that the existence of avatars, and subsequently her entire identity is the reason why the world is imbalanced and how was she supposed to handle Kuvira when she can’t even handle her internal demons?

      Avatars are humans too. Even with the power of a god. They cannot solve everything.
      Which is why I find LOK to be brilliant and albeit not on par. Is close to AtLA. And before people say AtLA is superior to LOK. Keep in mind that AtLA is so good that comparing it to the likes of Breaking Bad is blasphemy. Because AtLA is THAT GOOD.

  3. maugos says:

    Right, it’s the whole “chosen one” issue. The idea that only one person can fix everything despite how unrealistic that is. As you also pointed out it’s why Aang is one of the most successful ones due to him realizing how important his relationships were. Not just with his close friends and colleagues, but with EVERYONE he helps along the way. This kind of thing can be applied to so many other characters throughout fiction. It’s why it makes sense that Batman recruits other people to help him or why Harry Potter’s trust in his friends helps him out so much. No matter how much power you wield, you are but one person and will need help even if just occasionally.

    • Morgan Beck says:

      If you have to say “As you pointed out…”, then it really doesn’t need to be said. While the point is evident, and I do agree with it, it’s already been said.

    • Bobby Pilster says:

      Also that “Chosen One” mindset the people of the World of Avatar have can be pretty detrimental. One of the reasons that the world is disarray in Kyoshi’s era was due to the fact that it took so long find the next Avatar that some people lost hope and some people thought “this is my time to take control”

    • Seargent Slaughter says: Finally it’s here🤠

    • Adam Morin says:

      @TheJadedJames honestly being an avatar reminds me of how link and zelda is forever destined to be bounded to the triforce and demise. So yeah i can say they are consider “chosen” ones in a way.

      With the avatar needing to so many things to keep the balance while cleaning up the mess the last avatar left is honestly stressful. What is interesting though is how can Aang and Korea do so much with the friends they have but even with the friendship the other avatars had stuff still got messy

    • TheJadedJames says:

      The other thing is … can we really say the Avatar is a chosen one after knowing the origins of Avatar Wan? Wan was not selected to have his power or position. Wan broke the world by stealing freeing Vaatu and what we call the Avatar is the entirely accidental union of Wan/Raava on an eternal quest to redeem Wan’s mistake

  4. Blackoutdmc says:

    Regarding Korra’s failure to secure republic city against Amon, Zaheer’s assassinating political figures, Kuvira’s rise to power, all of these were completely unforeseen circumstances that she had little direct control over. And while yes, all of these things happened on her watch, each time she tries her best to correct the mistake. More importantly, these were people acting on their own accord. As the Avatar, she alone cannot be responsible for the actions others take. The Equalist, Triple Threat Triad, Zaheer and friends, they were all going to do their own thing with or without Korra’s intervention. The Avatar’s existence isn’t the problem, people are.

    Oh but that L she took from Unalaq and erasing the avatar cycle is all her though.

    • Michael 1 says:

      You were doing so well until you said she erased the Avatar cycle. Unalaq performed some dark spirit fuckery that literally nobody could’ve seen coming,that’s not her fault.

      By that logic Aang killed himself in the Avatar State,nearly ending the Avatar as a concept.

    • Umbrasoul says:

      @An Introvert On YouTube man, ya’ll talk as if Korra herself erased the cycle. she had no idea he uncle was Red Lotus and she trusted him. Along with going through so much with the stress of her responsibility her failed relationship, theres alot she couldn’t control.

    • Xenophacilus says:

      @An Introvert On YouTube Don’t worry, the next Avatar will still be able to speak with Korra….
      *OK WORRY*

    • madnessman 15 says:

      @An Introvert On YouTube ghe next avatar could potentially speak to any of the past avatars if he/she found any of them in the spirit world

    • An Introvert On YouTube says:

      *or connect with any previous avatars

  5. Sue D Lamb says:

    Nickelodeon isn’t normally known for having strong storylines like this but this one became a cultural phenomenon & symbol for hope and peace in the world. A true classic!

  6. P says:

    I think the ‘failures’ of avatars is a philosophical point about human life. Each generation tries its best, and accomplishes so much, but the butterfly effects of their failures will have to be dealt with by their descendants.

    • Вандерер says:

      @Roshay Redd I thought that avatar is supposed to subconciously draw wisdom from hundreds of his predecessors. Not to repeat their mistakes from life to life. But reality presented in the series shows otherwise.

    • alemanthony says:

      *successors not descendants

    • dont question my sanity says:

      Couldn’t agree

    • Bryson Barnett says:

      @Toosoo I mean Aang dealt with all of those issues to some degree. I think you’re right that it’s never going to be a 1:1, but it seems accurate enough for their biggest achievements if that makes sense.

    • Toosoo says:

      @Bryson Barnett well korra and kyoshi had to deal with political strife and domestic issues, so its not a perfect 1:1 , but its till interesting that it kinda lines up like that in a weird way.

  7. Doco56 says:

    In defense of Kyoshi…her trauma is more prominent than stated: for 16 years the avatar was thought to be someone else, Yun, who she was a handmaid to. His main master Jianzhu was power hungry and on figuring out Kyoshi was the Avatar sent Yun into the hands of an evil spirit which in turn caused Yun to be a villain, Jianzhu also killed Kyoshi’s adoptive father. Yun killed Jianzhu in a teahouse while he was speaking to Kyoshi, and then Kyoshi was forced to end his life later on. Also, she has difficulty doing specific bending skills a) because her power was naturally more huge with little finesse and b) because her hands are scarred from being zapped by the only lightning bender at the time. Furthermore, she lived for 230 odd years…we’ve seen so little of those years. At the point she confronted Chin, she had likely said goodbye to Rangi, her first girlfriend, then later on her child and that child’s father. I can’t imagine how jaded you must be after all that 😅

  8. Thuto Tlholoe says:

    The themed intros get better everytime, the attention to detail is really satisfying for those of us who watched the whole series… multiple times

  9. narwaler says:

    In Kora’s defense, if I remember correctly she knew that the sharing of the worlds would be destabilizing, but believed that in time it would be more beneficial than keeping them separate

  10. Bobby Pilster says:

    I like how Matpat pointed out Aang’s trust in friends as a key factor to being successful in his Avatar duties because it was a lack a trust that screwed over a previous Avatar. I mean MatPat talked a lot about how Kururk was too busy dealing with angry spirits to handle the affairs of the material world, but he failed to mention that Kuruk never told anyone what he was doing. To the rest of the world, even his closest friends, Kururk was just an super-powered party boy just doing the bare minimum of his Avatar duty with no idea that he been protecting the world from angry Lovecraftian entities. If he trusted his friends and fill them in on his turmoils, Kuruk may had been not only be able to figure out a better with dealing with the Dark Spirits (beside just killing them), but could have been able to make time to deal with the problems of the material world; and maybe his friends would in turn be better prepared to handle things forwards after Kuruk’s death.

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