This whole trilogy was better than it had any reason to be.
Seriously, though, the whole Planet of the Apes trilogy/reboot/thingy was surprisingly thoughtful and deep for a series based on an old french science fiction novel. Props have to be given to Andy Serkis, the man who pioneered motion capture acting as an artform and will probably not receive the credit he’s due until much later. I mean, the man is making you care about the fate of cgi chimpanzee, for crying out loud. That takes talent.
As for War for the Planet of the Apes, I must say that the movie is probably the weakest of the three. It is by no means a bad movie, far from it. For me, though, it was simply predictable. Unlike with Rise or Dawn, I could pretty much predict beat per beat how the story was going to go. It’s a story you have heard many times before. The film does the story competently, however, and you still care for the characters involved, though that may be more because we have seen their journey from the previous two movies.
Another downside, I feel, is Woody Harrelson. I usually like Woody Harrelson but for this film, I wonder if the director told him to channel Marlon Brando from Apocalypse Now and gave him a pair of shades from Boss Godfrey from Cool Hand Luke. Once I had those two ideas in my head, every action from Harrelson just seemed to enforce that and made him more of a caricature instead of an actual threat.
Having said all of that, I still enjoyed the movie and when paired with Andy Serkis, I was able to overlook Woody Harrelson’s and even Steve Zahn’s (of all people) surprisingly touching, if comedic, character. All of it did ultimately fit well together in a brilliant and wonderful ending to a brilliant and wonderful trilogy.