Reviews of 'War for the Planet of the Apes' are in — and they're good

By Dan Heching
June 26, 2017 at 12:57 PM EDT
  • Movie

As more positive reviews come in for War for the Planet of the Apes, that rarest of movie phenomena is again upon us: a sequel that may very well be better than the original. What’s more, this latest film is part of a rebooted franchise, and the film might even hold its own against the original.

Currently at a plum 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the third entry in the apocalyptic Planet of the Apes series is being praised by critics as “a mind-blowing experience” and “the kind of popcorn movie we deserve.

As EW’s Chris Nashawaty wrote in his B+ review, “It isn’t just the look of the new films that’s been upgraded thanks to breathtaking motion capture technology, the storytelling has gotten richer and more complex, too. Like Caesar and company, the films seem to be getting more intelligent and human as they evolve.”

Ahead of the film’s arrival in theaters on July 14, check out more War for the Planet of the Apes reviews below.

Chris Nashawaty (Entertainment Weekly)

“The wind-up to the film’s climactic Caesar-vs.-Colonel showdown takes its sweet time, but War never gets stuck in the sort of bloated longeurs that plague so many summer blockbusters pushing past the two-hour mark.”

Mike Ryan (UPROXX)

“These Planet of the Apes movies are remarkable – with this third one leading the pack. It’s a 50-year-old franchise, that already suffered through one failed reboot, that’s gone on to become one of the best-made action franchises of this decade. People (like me) who had no real attachment to the prior Planet of the Apes franchise have been won over by just essentially stellar storytelling and filmmaking — especially with what Matt Reeves has done with these last two films.”

Peter Debruge (Variety)

“If you already find yourself on the side of the “Apes” enthusiasts (a fittingly militant lot), then “War” will likely be a mind-blowing experience, upping the ante via both its bleeding-edge visual effects and the grim self-seriousness of Reeves’ approach.”

Eric Kohn (Indiewire)

“Rebooted franchises reek of cheap Hollywood cash grabs, but in light of those expectations, the refurbished “Planet of the Apes” franchise pulls off a minor miracle. With “War for the Planet of the Apes,” technological wizardry and first-rate storytelling combine into a bracing action-adventure that concludes the best science fiction trilogy since the original trio of “Star Wars” movies.”

Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian)

“The continuingly absorbing Apes franchise delivers its stories with conviction and intensity; it is utterly confident in its own created world, and in the plausibility of its ape characters, who are presented quite unselfconsciously and persuasively. The movie isn’t afraid to place its centre of narrative gravity within this simian world, and does not feel the need to balance them all the time with humans. It has sweep, fervent ambition, some great action and combat sequences, sparse but nicely judged touches of humour and is also unafraid of long dialogue scenes and character confrontation. In moments of crisis, there are some compellingly strange extreme closeups on faces.”

Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter)

“Almost as rare as winning the Triple Crown in horse racing is to make a film trilogy that clicks from beginning to end, but Fox has pretty much pulled it off with its refurbished Planet of the Apes trio. After surprising everyone who felt that the half-century-old franchise had been buried for good by Tim Burton’s lamentable monkeyshines in 2001, the “Caesar” triptych — rooted in Andy Serkis’ indelible performance as a reluctant rebel leader, splendid special effects and a shrewd racial/political thematic thread — amply satisfies as a smart sub-set of the nine-and-counting Apes features and two TV shows.”

Peter Goldberg (Slant)

“The psychological wars that have made the prequels simmer with tightly wound tensions are given their most cutting treatment yet. In War for the Planet of the Apes, Caesar seems finally torn in two, haunted by the memory of Koba as he struggles to prevent himself from being consumed with hatred toward humanity for what it’s done to the apes. He’s no longer as softhearted as he once was, his face now one of loud confrontation, his every movement a defiance.”

Alonso Duralde (The Wrap)

“There’s a lot that “War” has going for it, including some of the richest characterizations of all three “Apes” reboots, along with the next-level CG work of bringing an ape army to life with expressive, emotional faces. Like its two predecessors, it has its flaws — and each entry has had unique ones — but overall, this is a trilogy that will stand as an example of how to remake and reimagine familiar material in a way that respects the original while also enhancing it.”

Todd VanDerWerff (Vox)

“The new movie is better than both of its predecessors, a muscular, surprisingly quiet film about how the end of some things is the beginning of others. It boasts terrific, tense action sequences, but also a real, poetic sense of longing for a world long gone. It’s one of my favorite films of the year so far, and it deepens a little bit every time I think about it, which is always a good sign of its staying power.”

Bilge Ebiri (Village Voice)

“I don’t know when it happened, but it happened. Somehow, while we were worrying about superheroes and star destroyers and hot rods and whether Captain America could beat up Superman or whatever, the goddamned Planet of the Apes movies became the most vital and resonant big-budget film series in the contemporary movie firmament. And they did it with the most confrontational of high concepts: Humans suck, and now the apes are the good guys.”

The War for the Planet of the Apes begins in theaters on July 14.

  • Movie
  • PG-13
release date
  • 07/14/17
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