In the world of trilogies, it’s rare for one movie to not end up being the black sheep of the series. It’s even rarer for each of the movies to have continuously outdone its predecessor. However, this is seemingly what has happened with the Planet of the Apes saga.
Whereas most science fiction films tend to balance between the potential dangers invoked by the acceleration of technology as well as the potential consequences that can come from these discoveries (a la voyaging to new worlds and the threat alien life can pose to those who are journeying there or the rise of A.I. and how robotics can potentially threaten the existence of humanity), the Planet of the Apes series has managed to evolve beyond these stereotypes.
Of course, there’s the eventual demise of mankind that will be coming, but whereas the Planet of the Apes saga could have relied on a trilogy guided by large battle sequences between the Apes looking to take vengeance on the humans for any number of reasons, instead, we’re given a humanitarian look at the eventual Ape leader in Caesar.
We’re shown the struggle that would lead to Apes wanting their freedom. We’re shown the possibility of Apes and Humans living side by side as well as conflicts that exist not only within the Ape and Human groups, but also within the leaders of each group as they question their own abilities and the decisions they are making.
Ultimately, we’re shown what finally ends up happening when all-out war erupts, which fortunately, is much less war than what the title would have you believe. After all, in a series driven by characterization, ending it with a two and a half hour long version of Game of Thrones’ Hardhome seemingly wouldn’t fit.
Instead, the feel for the third installment is more of a Western. Enveloping the ideas of one man set out against the odds to fight against the man who’s wronged him while further struggling with his own moral compass while also hoping to develop a safer world for his Ape family.
And, it’s also a world where apes are not necessarily the biggest threat to mankind.
War for the Planet of the Apes hits theaters everywhere July 14, 2017.