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The Last Airbender (2010)


Average Rating: 2.8/10
Reviews Counted: 183
Fresh: 11
Rotten: 172

Critics Consensus: The Last Airbender squanders its popular source material with incomprehensible plotting, horrible acting, and detached joyless direction.

Average Rating: 2.8/10
Reviews Counted: 39
Fresh: 2
Rotten: 37

Critics Consensus: The Last Airbender squanders its popular source material with incomprehensible plotting, horrible acting, and detached joyless direction.


Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 320,098


Movie Info

Suspense auteur M. Night Shyamalan takes a break from crafting original screenplays to tell this tale of a 12-year-old boy (Noah Ringer) who provides the last hope for restoring harmony to a land consumed by chaos. In a world balanced on the four nations of Water, Earth, Fire, and Air, people known as the Waterbenders, Earthbenders, Firebenders, and Airbenders have mastered their native elements. Though the masters can each manipulate their native elements, the only one with the power to … More

PG (for fantasy action violence)
Action & Adventure , Kids & Family , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
M. Night Shyamalan
In Theaters:
Nov 16, 2010
Box Office:
Paramount Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The Last Airbender

All Critics (183) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (172) | DVD (5)

One is bored and stupefied by what seems like an eternity of vacuous spectacle, cod-Buddhist tosh and clunking dialogue.

Full Review… | August 12, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

[T]he film works so hard to explain its plot developments that it scarcely has any time left over to dramatize them. Exposition has not merely vanquished mimesis, it has burned its homes to the ground and sown salt in its fields.

Full Review… | July 2, 2010
The Atlantic
Top Critic

Stilted dialogue, wooden acting, glacial pacing, cheesy special effects, tacky-looking sets, ugly costumes, poorly staged and edited action sequences, all shown in murky, cut-rate 3-D.

Full Review… | July 2, 2010
New York Post
Top Critic

A dull, boring, poorly acted, limply written and thoroughly unappealing fantasy, featuring bland characters locked in a struggle of no interest.

Full Review… | July 1, 2010
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

M. Night Shyamalan's big-screen live-action version of the popular Nickelodeon animated TV series constitutes a form of Chinese water torture in which tin-ear line-readings take the place of drips.

Full Review… | July 1, 2010
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

Please, Hollywood, if there's to be another Airbender movie, hand the job to some efficient hack, and not to a once mesmerizing artist who's lost his way.

Full Review… | July 1, 2010
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

There isn't a single convincing performance in the picture, and the badness of the acting is, bizarrely, pretty much in direct proportion to a character's importance.

Full Review… | July 18, 2014
Austin American-Statesman

The Last Airbender is not just a flop, it's a big-budget flop, and it's a throwback to that grand old genre, the movie that's so bad that it's bad.

Full Review… | July 18, 2014

[A] breathtakingly clueless, misconceived, stupid, humourless, unexciting, dim, dumb farrago, the worst film I've seen in years.

Full Review… | July 18, 2014

A quite breathtakingly inept hodge-podge of vapid spirituality, playground chopsocky and visual effects that take 3D to an entirely new level: Zero-D.

Full Review… | July 18, 2014
Daily Telegraph

Would it be more accurate to call this The Last Shyamalan Movie?

Full Review… | July 18, 2014
IGN Movies

Nothing here is helped by M. Night Shyamalan's bizarre casting choices.

Full Review… | July 18, 2014
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Writer/director M Night Shyamalan's once glorious reputation is tarnished further by this tediously juvenile fantasy adventure.

Full Review… | July 18, 2014
Radio Times

There's no third-act twist because we never get out of the first act.

Full Review… | June 14, 2013
TV Guide's Movie Guide

[Shyamalan] works so much better with stories that are slower in development, where the atmosphere and tone drive the film, and where you're never quite sure what's going on (though not in the sense where you're completely confused, like this film).

Full Review… | September 25, 2012

This is a kid's movie that doesn't seem to realize that it's a kid's movie.

Full Review… | April 4, 2011

Bad acting, overstuffed exposition and running time far too brief for the amount of plot shoved into it reduce The Last Airbender into parody of a big summer film as Shyamalan manages to hit every single fantasy film pothole.

Full Review… | March 29, 2011

The Last Airbender is swollen with portentous mumbo jumbo and realized in the most simplistic and mundane ways imaginable.

Full Review… | March 9, 2011
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

The Last Airbender is a horrific mish-mash of genres that follows a depressingly large number of dead ends in adapting its source material.

Full Review… | February 1, 2011
What Culture

Kiddie-strength action scenes drag the film down, but the kiss of death is Shyamalan's gratuitous use of earth tones and the general dull, drab look of the film. ... drastically reduces the intensity of the 3-D effects

Full Review… | January 31, 2011

An amateurish mess.

Full Review… | January 18, 2011

Is it a masterpiece? Oh god no, but... I'm intrigued to see where the next film goes...

Full Review… | January 4, 2011
Cinema Crazed

The constant references to 'benders' can't help but elicit sniggers from British audiences ... the plotting is stodgy, the dialogue stinks and the acting is wooden.

Full Review… | January 4, 2011
Movie Talk

As far as children's entertainment goes (and it is children's entertainment), it could be a lot worse.

Full Review… | December 7, 2010
Window to the Movies

The film is an unmitigated disaster, a putrid patchwork of the original series stitched together by wretched performances, bad creative decisions and a story that's all exposition, no depth.

Full Review… | December 4, 2010

Mere words can barely describe the sheer inanity on display.

Full Review… | November 26, 2010
Aisle Seat

Audience Reviews for The Last Airbender


Never having seen the tv show i can say this. It was not a bad movie. Wasnt great just interesting. I like fantasy type stuff so this was a good show for me. A pretty unique story thanks to the tv show ive been told. But supposedly the director did not capture it. NOW knowing many people who did watch the show. I hear this was not good. I will try and watch the tv show now to see how bad the movie supposedly was.

John Manard

Super Reviewer

Decent visuals do little to save this heavily butchered live-action rendition of the first season of Nickelodeon's "Avatar: The Last Airbender". Failing to capture the delightful humor and lovely character interactions of the show, M. Night Shyamalan's first tackle at a fantasy epic is hilariously amateurish at best (If you thought he was bad trying to be Rod Serling, then watch him attempt to be George Lucas). Not only is the plot incomprehensible to anybody who hasn't watched the show, but this piece of cinematic trash is filled to the brim with wooden acting (Dev Patel, Shaun Toub, and Aasif Mandvi are the only actors that emerge with any credibility), awkwardly stilted exposition-filled dialogue, thin characterization, and ineptly choreographed action sequences. The plot will have newcomers confused and the strange alterations from it's wonderful source material will anger established fans. My advice: stick to the TV show and forget about this heap of uninspired tripe.

Christopher Heim
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer


Even as someone who is not familiar with the anime of the same name, you can tell that this has probably little to do with it. The set-up, world-building and idea behind this mythology is great and interesting. There are also a couple of genuinely fun action scenes, especially when the bender work with their elements. The main problem are the characters. Why do the main characters from the ice look Caucasian but everyone around them Inuit? Those two aren't much of actors anyway. Then there is this somewhat flat but often bratty main character. All that makes it hard to care for everything that's going on. The film is still entertaining and offers some nice special effects, gorgeous landscapes and cities. So the result is not as catastrophic as fans of the original may want to make you believe. It's not that great a movie on its own either, though. And the sequel the ending dares to hint at very strongly will probably never happen.

Jens S.

Super Reviewer

There are few films that I advocate destroying, but sadly this is one of them. Why you ask? Well...I fear that aliens might one day accidentally pick up the film's signal while some poor soul is streaming it into their home. Wielding a rare power to create water out of thin air, a power much needed by earth as it's rising population has made water a precious resource, they would end up seeing The Last Airbender and assume that it is representative of the Earth as a whole. Rather than being afraid of Earth's inhabitants, I fear they would be bored to tears by the story and in the end come to the decision that Earth is not worth saving.
So yeah...I have pretty good reason to want this film obliterated from the face of the planet.

Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

The Last Airbender Quotes

Uncle Iroh:
Be careful what you wish for, Admiral. History is not always kind to its subjects.
– Submitted by Rafael M (24 months ago)
Trust is for fools! Fear is the only reliable way.
– Submitted by Natasha B (2 years ago)
The Dragon Spirit:
Aang, use the ocean. Show them the power of Water.
– Submitted by Dan Y (2 years ago)
Fire Lord Ozai:
You think, my son, is the soldier, these people are calling, The Blue Spirit?
Fire Nation Soldier:
– Submitted by Zach S (2 years ago)
Princess Yue:
It gave me life. Maybe I can give it back.
– Submitted by Christian F (2 years ago)
Uncle Iroh:
[to Zhao] You stand alone. That has always been your greatest weakness.
– Submitted by Jed G (2 years ago)

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