War for the Planet of the Apes, the third instalment in the rebooted Planet of the Apes series, is directed by Matt Reeves, and written by Mark Bomback and Reeves. It is set 15 years post the outbreak that wiped out most humans from Earth and boosted the brain power of apes.
The movie follows a confrontation between the apes, led by Caesar (Andy Serkis), and the humans for control of Earth. Two years have passed since the events that first caused the apes to go to war against humans, despite the ape’s best efforts to prevent it. In War for the Planet of the Apes, he and his followers find themselves fighting an army led by The Colonel (Woody Harrelson). The tribe of intelligent apes set off on a dangerous vengeful mission that they hope will free them from The Colonel.
A new welcome addition to the grim world of the apes is a character played by Steve Zahn, named Bad Ape, that brings a level of humor to this particular movie and helps expand the world of the series; an element that was evaded in the previous film. This war movie focuses more on the humane aspects of war and how it affects those partaking in it, especially the apes. Caesar now finds himself faced with the same predicament that drove Koba, a transformed bonobo with a strong hatred for humans, stemming from years of abuse and neglect, to betray his own kind in the previous movie.
Caesar goes on an emotionally charged journey, battling his inner demons and values while seeking justice for wrongs committed against him by humans. This introspective trip is central to the movie unlike an army of furious bonobos killing their oppressors that one would expect based on the title.
The conflict between morality, identity and the boundaries of humanity is at the foreground while violence and carnages are secondary to War’s purpose in War for the Planet of the Apes. However, the movie includes magnificent action sequences, including a prison break driven by Michael Seresin’s astounding camerawork and Michael Giacchino’s background score.