All signs point to 'go see' War for the Planet of the Apes. Get ready.
This week's release of War for the Planet of the Apes, the direct sequel to Matt Reeves Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), marks the official halfway point among this summer's 'blockbuster' films. And depending on what you've consumed, Reeves' third film in the "Planet of the Apes" reboot series appears set to join the likes of 'Baby Driver' and 'Wonder Woman' among this summer's "best of" film contenders.
Now that press screenings are in the books, let's take a look at what industry critics are saying.
Spoiler alert, all signs point to 'go see' War for the Planet of the Apes this Friday!
Todd McCarthy - "The sheer beauty of this film is intense"
THR - "It won't take long for fans of the first two entries to be seduced once again into the world that Matt Reeves fashioned in Dawn and elaborates upon in War (the first entry, directed by Rupert Wyatt, was largely urban-set); the moist dark greens of the apes' adopted habitat have once again been intoxicatingly captured by cinematographer Michael Seresin, and he and Reeves come close to overusing dramatic crane shots in their eagerness to display this pristine environment in its full glory. The sheer beauty of the film is intense (and one scarcely misses the 3D employed on the prior outing)."
Brian Truitt - "one of this summer's best"
USA Today - "War bogs down during a major sequence where Caesar is captured and his squad orchestrates a massive ape breakout, but turns it around before the end when both men and apes have to deal with their own survival-of-the-fittest situations. The satisfying and heart-wrenching climax is a last reminder that Caesar’s new adventure is one of this summer’s best."
Scott Mendelson - "best Planet of the Apes movie yet"
Forbes - "It’s also one of the best movies of the summer and another genre triumph for its director. With jaw-dropping special effects and poignant character work and all-too-topical subtexts, it is arguably the best Planet of the Apes movie yet."
Eric Kohn - "astonishing special effects"
IndieWire - "That’s not to say the movie’s a flawless achievement, devoid of ham-fisted dialogue or predictable plot twists that often hobble movies designed for mass market appeal. But insofar as the premise is concerned, it catapults beyond the cheesy nature of the material to deliver a serious, gripping big screen achievement elevated by astonishing special effects and filmmaking prowess to match. “War for the Planet of the Apes” focuses on survivors making their way through a broken world; Reeves, wading his way through a commercial system that doesn’t always prioritize quality, can probably relate." B+
Ethan Atherton - [Apes] "feels not only refreshing, but necessary"
SlashFilm - "But perhaps Matt Reeves’ greatest achievement with War for the Planet of the Apes is making blockbuster sequels feel not only refreshing, but necessary. Though some audiences lament the lack of originality in an industry that loves to sequelize and remake everything, War for the Planet of the Apes stands as a shining example of the kind of filmmaking magic that can happen by using something familiar as inspiration to create something wholly remarkable."
Mike Ryan - "extremely ambitious and I almost can't believe it exists"
Uproxx - "The War For the Planet of the Apes is less “action movie” (though there are some explosions) and more a meditation on the definition of humanity. It’s extremely ambitious and I almost can’t believe it exists. The first film was from the human standpoint. The second film gave us a fairly nuanced look at both sides. Now this third takes us all in with the apes as the main characters. And it somehow works. It’s actually heartening to know that “summer blockbuster”-type movies like this can still be made."
Bilge Ebiri - [Reeves] understands the power of restraint, of quiet"
The Village Voice - "War for the Planet of the Apes is certainly the most melancholy tentpole since…well, since Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The subject matter may well lend itself to melodrama and spectacle, and while Reeves never skimps on suspense or emotion or epic imagery, he also understands the power of restraint, of quiet."
Germain Lussier - [Apes] is supposed to make us feel. Make us hurt. Make us rejoice"
iO9 - "As powerful and brilliant as War for the Planet of the Apes is, it’s much more akin to a historical drama than a summer blockbuster. Just like you’d have to be in the right state of mind to digest a powerful film like Schindler’s List or 12 Years a Slave, War for the Planet of the Apes has that same, painful gravitas. The film is rarely, if ever, “fun.” However, that’s fine. It’s not supposed to be fun. War for the Planet of the Apes is supposed to make us feel. Make us hurt. Make us rejoice. And it does that in big, sweeping ways with some of the most stunning visual effects you’ve ever seen. It’s a special movie, an amazing sequel, and undoubtedly one of the year’s best films.
War for the Planet of the Apes releases nationwide July 14 - U.S.