War for the Planet of the Apes, starring Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, and Steve Zahn, is the third instalment in the new Planet of the Apes franchise. Picking up a few years after Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a human military faction led by The Colonel (Harrelson) takes the battle to Caesar (Serkis) and his group of apes. After suffering unimaginable losses, Caesar sets out on a journey to put an end to his nemesis and avenge his kind.
Is this a fitting conclusion to the trilogy, or are they just monkeying around?
For those of you going in looking for an epic, high-octane war flick, you may be disappointed at the start. This movie is a slow burn, maybe the slowest of the franchise; it takes its time getting where it’s going. This may be seen as a negative but it works for this instalment, for the most part. The story is personal and deeply emotional for Caesar, and this slower pace helps sell the pain he feels and the darkness that’s been brewing inside of him for the past three movies. The performances all around are great; Serkis brings the emotional complexities to his character and Harrelson is menacing as the villain. Where the movie could’ve gone wrong is with Zahn’s character Bad Ape. He’s used as comic relief and this could’ve hurt the films dark tone. Thankfully, he is used to great effect and elevates the film with his performance. What is amazing about this film is how much emotion gets shown only using sign language. There are some hard hitting scenes that are completely silent (other than the excellent score) and are delivered solely through the use of sign language. What helps sells these emotions is the visuals which are impeccable and believable. The visual effects department should be applauded for the levels of realism they continue to achieve.
The little problem I had with the movie was a few scenes in the beginning. While it starts out strong and there are great scenes in between, there is a bit of a lull until Caesar meets Bad Ape. Once that happens, I find the film finds its footing and carries it through all the way to the end. There was also a scene near the beginning that didn’t hit me as hard as I feel was intended. While this isn’t a negative, the titular “War” isn’t what most will expect. While this may be a turn off to most, I think it fits the story that’s being told.
Despite those minor flaws, this movie is still excellent and should be seen. The story is compelling and emotional. The acting and visuals are superb. It ties into the first two really well, giving Caesar a full character ark, and leaves hints for what’s to come. It is a fitting end to this trilogy and could be considered one of the best made. If you are a fan of this franchise, you will definitely enjoy this one. If you haven’t jumped on the band wagon yet, you should still check this one out.
What do you think? Which Apes movies is your favourite? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Written by: William Sherick