The third chapter in the Planet of the Apes reboot/prequel trilogy, director Matt Reeves return once more with the intention to bring Caesar’s story full circle. Much like its two predecessors before it (Rise & Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), War for the Planet of the Apes succeeds in delivering a consistently intelligent, morally thoughtful, and ultimately compelling story. Amongst its fantastic visuals and breathtaking cinematography, War for the Planet of the Apes exhilarates as it not only rounds off Caesar’s journey but also provides a satisfying conclusion to the new trilogy of the Planet of the Apes franchise.

In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, we see Caesar struggle between his compassion for mankind while being a leader to his people (or apes if you will). In War for the Planet of the Apes, that struggle deteriorates as Caesar’s compassion towards mankind gears into hatred and contempt. Caesar soon finds himself to be on his greatest trial yet. As it becomes apparent that there is far more at stake than just his quest for vengeance.

Most surprising of all, War for the Planet of the Apes didn’t quite offer what many would come to expect judging solely by its title. Instead of the full-fledged warbetween apes and mankind that the ending of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes seems to allude, War for the Planet of the Apes plays a slow burn in its narrative, with its first two acts developing the film’s sociopolitical themes and character arcs, before resulting in a (literally) explosive third that is sure to please audiences who crave the high-octane spectacle in a blockbuster film. At its core, War for the Planet of the Apes is very much a tale of survival during a time of terrible conflict.

In conclusion, War for the Planet of the Apes is a surprisingly personal film that tackles many aspect of morality in a world that’s heading towards its end (or a new beginning, depending on whose side are you on). War for the Planet of the Apes is truly a remarkable entry of the ever-expanding Planet of the Apes franchise.

*Special thanks to MBO The Starling for the premiere invitation for War for the Planet of the Apes.

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