Everything about Avatar: The Way of Water is stacked against our bladders. For one thing, the movie is more than three hours long — that is a lot of movie. And for another, it’s all about water. It is a very wet movie, with flowing water and splashing water and running water. And as you sip your giant multiplex-upsized soda, you might find that water coursing through you.
So assuming you aren’t waiting months to see it at home, when is the best time to pee during The Way of Water? The answer depends on why you’re actually in the theater. Are you watching the new Avatar movie for a gorgeous tour of Pandora and the new oceanic locations? Or are you going for the tightly choreographed sci-fi action sequences? We’ve curated some options based on what parts of the movie you actually want to watch, in as spoiler-free a way as possible. These are arranged by section, and then ranked within those sections.
[Ed. note: Some slight spoilers for Avatar: The Way of Water follow.]
If you don’t want to miss Avatar 2’s action scenes...
...you can do without the long, lingering scenes of characters just hanging out in Pandora spaces — save it for when you go to Pandora - The World of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Here are some of the more gratuitous landscape panoramas you can do without if you’re prioritizing James Cameron’s brand of bombast:
3. The entire beginning of the movie
Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) catches the audience up on what’s been going on in the past 13 years or so since the first Avatar movie, and he introduces all his kids. But you do have three hours of movie to learn who these kids are, so Jake’s tl;dr summary at the beginning can be skipped. If you slurped up your entire slushie during the previews, don’t worry about missing any important information during the beginning. This one is probably the least optimal option, since it happens so early on and you might not even have to go. And if the bad guy of the movie has shown up, we recommend staying put.
2. The whales’ return to the cove
The reef Na’vi have deep bonds with the tulkun, a species of intelligent alien whales. At one point, about an hour and 45 minutes into the movie, the the pod of tulkun returns to the cove, and all the reef people rush out to greet them. It’s very cute, but it’s also a bunch of swimming and whales talking, so it’s an OK time to slip out and take a piss. The more important tulkun scenes happen before and after this watery meet-and-greet.
1. The Sully family learns the way of water (ba dum tss)
About an hour into the movie, after meeting and settling with a clan of reef-dwelling Na’vi, the Sully family’s next task is to acclimate to ocean life. Thus begins a long sequence where the various family members learn to bond with Pandora’s sea creatures, hold their breath for a very long time, and swim around. It is incredibly gorgeous, but if you don’t want an extended guided tour of the local wildlife, it’s the perfect opportunity to slip away to the bathroom. Step out right after the leader officially welcomes the Sullys. When you return, it’s likely that the Sully family will still be holding their breath, so you won’t have missed much. This scene lasts a long time, so it’s the perfect moment to step out, use the bathroom, and maybe grab another soda while you’re at it.
If you’re all in on an Avatar sequel for the Pandora tourism...
...then step out during some of the fight scenes, because there are a lot of them, and they’re long! If you are interested in more of a scenic Pandora tour, here are the action scenes you can slip out of without missing too much plot.
3. Two kids get handcuffed to a boat
No spoilers, but after some of the Na’vi kids get cuffed to a rail on a boat, a bunch of cool action stuff happens... that doesn’t yield any actual consequences for the story. And this is a really long battle sequence. When you come back from the bathroom, those two kids might still be stuck on the rail. Or it could be two different kids cuffed to a different rail! Lots of kids cuffed to rails.
2. Extended destruction of Na’vi villages
A chunk of the movie where our villain burns down Na’vi villages is brutal and slightly repetitive. We know the humans in the Avatar movies are assholes, and their leaders are on a revenge mission. So when you see our main villain arrive at one of the reef clans, all you’ll miss is a bunch of yelling and carnage that hammers home an established message. Go pee!
1. The whale hunt
At one point, a bunch of humans led by Capt. Mike Scoresby (Brendan Cowell) demonstrate how they hunt and kill tulkun, which is basically just a sci-fi version of the whale-hunt sequences from Moby Dick. This is very long and involves a lot of splashing — it’s the best action sequence to skip, because it’s not particularly cool. The biggest takeaway is the humans’ reasons for killing tulkun, which you can learn about when you get back from the toilet. You’ll know when it’s time to go, because the whole crew begins readying the ship and talking whale-hunt strategy.
If you’re not sure why you’re seeing Avatar: The Way of Water...
...well, valid! After all, it has been a long time since the first Avatar (13 years!), so you may have forgotten just exactly what you liked about it. Don’t fret, though. We’ve still got you covered.
2. Train heist
Yes, technically this is an action scene, but it doesn’t look nearly as cool as the rest of the action scenes throughout the movie. When you see a train, go to the bathroom. The tail end of this scene (and the fallout from it) is way more important than what actually goes down. Once again, this does happen pretty early on in the movie, so your bladder might not be at full capacity just yet.
1. Our villain tries bonding with a prisoner
Someone gets captured by the humans. They get interrogated forcefully, but then our main baddie decides to try a more personable approach. Considering that the army man and this person have better scenes later on, this one can be skipped without missing much! Just step out after the bad guy lets franchise newcomer Edie Falco know that he’s gonna try a different method of interrogation.
Hopefully your bladder can make it through this whole movie! I suggest small sips of your beverage — and you will want a beverage, because you’re going to be looking at cool, clear liquid for more than three hours. If you do end up missing some important scenes, however, director James Cameron insists that it doesn’t matter too much. Asked when audience members should go to the bathroom, Cameron told the Hollywood Reporter, “Any time they want. They can see the scene they missed when they come see it again.”
That solution definitely benefits the box office proceeds the most — when in doubt, just hit the theater again.
Avatar: The Way of Water is in theaters now. Good luck holding your pee.