War for the Planet of the Apes is directed by Matt Reeves and is the final installment into the latest rebooted series of Apes movies, proceeded by “Rise” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

After witnessing the dawn of a new era, Woody Harrelson and the remaining humans plan to go to war with Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his family of Apes for one last attempt to reclaim supremacy on earth.

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It’s very rare the third chapter in a movie trilogy is consider the best of the series. There are tons of trilogies, but usually their last installment leave critics and audiences going “Well, that could’ve been a little better.” From the Return of the Jedi to The Dark Knight Rises, both finales while good, didn’t quite reach the height of their respective predecessors.

Thanks to War for the Planet of the Apes, the “Apes prequel trilogy” has joined that elite group of all-time, great film trilogies. Not only does War reach its predecessors’ heights, it surpasses them to deliver a stunning and riveting conclusion.

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It can’t go overlooked how far motion capture technology has come since the Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The apes look real, there’s no other way to spin it. The actors and actresses are able to convey emotion so naturally, not just through speak, but through their facial expressions. It’s phenomenal.

Once again, Andy Serkis is brilliant as Caesar. Looking back on the Rise and Dawn films, the audience has now witnessed a full, tremendous character arc for Caesar.

Seeing how Caesar has grown and matured into the personality he is now, gives a very rewarding experience. The audience has been on this journey with Caesar since day one and it’s finally come full circle for the character.

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The story of War doesn’t cut these characters any slack at any point. The majority of this film, our protagonists are engulfed in a bleak atmosphere. This script puts these characters into the worst of situations and forcing them to make the toughest of decisions.

The film isn’t so much of a war film, but more of a drama. In that regard, these characters never seem to have the clear path to do the right thing, whether being an ape or not. Remaining spoiler-free, these certain situations surprisingly elevate the emotional tension to heights I wasn’t expecting the film to go.

Although War is considerably a darker, deeper film, the story is able to provide moments of levity for the characters. These moments, while small in detail, showcase the humanity in the Apes in an endearing, and at times, even a humorous way.   

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The best aspect of this Apes Trilogy is the overarching theme of what humanity could potentially evolve into, or even diminish into. RiseDawn, and now War have successfully told one of the most thought-provoking trilogies in film history and this final chapter firmly cements that notion.

War for the Planet of the Apes delivers an engaging, compelling finality to Caesar’s story, his family of apes, and where they will inevitably go into the future.

I’m going to give War for the Planet of the Apes a solid “A” on the movie grading scale. My hat’s off to Matt Reeves, I can’t wait to see how he tackles The Batman.

As always, thanks so much for reading and make sure to stay posted to Frank’s Takes for more reviews. Until next time, keep it 100.

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