Updated: Jan 20, 2019
In recent memory, the concept of a prequel trilogy has always been met with a sense of both controversy and worry, due to the massively disappointing Star Wars prequel trilogy concocted by director George Lucas. However, since its very first film Rise of Planet of the Apes back in 2011 to its 2014 sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the ambitious prequel trilogy to the classic franchise has proved to be a series not only worthy of its brand name but also proved that it is superior to its original source material.
As a result, back in 2017, when War of the Planet of the Apes was released into theaters for a hungrily excited audience to enjoy, my levels of both skepticism and standards were rather low. However, despite the issues that may have plagued earlier entries in the franchise, War for the Planet of the Apes is a masterful, technical masterpiece that boasts some of the most impressive uses of motion capture in history and displays a terrific, resonant screenplay brought to life by the incredible Andy Serkis.
As always, the most important part of any film is its screenplay. Without this aspect, the film fails on both a technical and creative standpoint and will most likely to lead to poor critical and audience reception. Fortunately, Matt Reeves’ War for the Planet of the Apes completely diverts this expectation with a stirring and resonant screenplay that blends hardened emotion with tense sequences of pure dialogue. For any film, especially a summer blockbuster competing against films like Spider-Man: Homecoming, it is both a bold and rare achievement to have some of the most impressive moments be entirely centered around dialogue. Unlike most summer blockbuster directors, Reeves smartly avoids the trend of placing dense action sequences over proper storytelling. There aren’t many action sequences in the film, and the ones that are discoverable prove to be both realistic and grounded. They never fully reach the over-the-top tone that other films constantly reach on a regular basis.