We have finally arrived to the third (and possibly final) chapter of the Caesar trilogy for the Planet of the Apes Reboot. If this is the final time we will see these films directed by Matt Reeves, then boy, did they go out with one hell of a finale!
War for the Planet of the Apes picks up where things left off in the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; it has been two years since the Rogue ape, Koba started a war between humans and apes in the second film. Caesar, who once again is played with brilliance by Andy Serkis, is on the run with his family of apes from an American Colonel (Woody Harrelson) who is hell bent on the capture of the apes.
There is no surprise that the film begins fast and furious; grabbing onto its audience and never letting go. The opening visual of the forest confrontation between the military and the apes is absolutely stunning. After that great scene, we catch up with Caesar and the rest of his familiar family. It’s nice to see everyone again, but this reunion is short lived as the Colonel and his men launch a sneak attack. What ensues after this is an emotional rollercoaster for Caesar, involving everything from regret, rage, desperation, helplessness, and despair. This is a much darker affair compared to the other two films, as many of the harsh components of war are experienced by our cast throughout this journey. As disengaging as you might think the Colonel (Harrelson) is at the film’s beginning, his story opens up by the second act and it is definitely something that you will remember.
Everything comes together nicely in the third act and really feels like a triumph for this entire series of films. What is remarkable is how amazing the acting and the set pieces come together, making Caesar one of the most compelling and memorable characters that you will see this entire summer. The movie is also a great conversation piece well after the credits have rolled. You won’t forget this film for a very long time.
If there are any weaknesses to the film, it can probably be found in the contrived nature of a few of the scenes. There are some things that happen conveniently for our characters when they need it most. However, the seemingly convenient happenings are not enough to cause sighing or eye-rolling. If anything, the interactions between characters and the acting will defer you from negative feelings most of the time, and you will want to believe in what you are seeing more often than not.
In closing, War of the Planet of the Apes is a fantastic achievement for all involved. When the reboot of Planet of the Apes was first announced, people had little hope due to the last reboot attempt (2001 with Mark Wahlberg). However, if anyone doubted this trilogy originally, I’m sure people are singing a different tune now. This has unquestionably been one of the best trilogies in recent memory. You owe it to yourself to see this brilliant final chapter of the Caesar saga.
Rating: 93 Apes avoiding a death-defying avalanche out of 100 (93%)