Movie Review: Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes Review, A Strong Return For The Franchise

Review of Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is not just dealing with Caesar’s legacy on screen, but also off it.

The rebooted trilogy were critically-acclaimed movies – with many calling for the Oscars to recognise Andy Serkis’s incredible performance – and box-office hits with more than $1.6 billion worldwide.

Our guide through this new era of the Planet of the Apes is chimpanzee Noa (Owen Teague) who, when his village is destroyed, sets out on a dangerous journey to save his family.

Along the way, Noa encounters feral human Mae (Freya Allan) and orangutan Raka (Peter Macon), and he begins to question everything he knew about the past.

Director Wes Ball has been open in his hopes that Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is merely the start of a new story. As such, the plot is largely there to establish the new world order of this era, moving the important pieces into place and setting the stage for the wider story of a potential trilogy.

It means that the movie can feel a bit sluggish at times, especially with the lengthy 144-minute runtime. But once Noa sets out on his journey, the movie also gains some welcome forward momentum and only gets stronger as it goes on. By the time you get to the thrilling finale, you’ll be wishing you could spend another hour in this world Even when the story is meandering to set up the various characters, you’ll be able to appreciate the incredibly-realised world, both familiar and unfamiliar to our own.

Visually, it’s on par with the previous trilogy, with Weta FX (among others) doing excellent work with both the world and the apes within it.

With the impressive performances from Owen Teague and Kevin Durand (as main antagonist Proximus Caesar), it gives the apes depth and character. They’re also not just retreads; Noa is not just the new Caesar and Proximus is not just the new Koba. Their characters are as complex and layered as these movies have always delivered.

The same could be said of the movie’s main human character, Mae, with Freya Allan captivating in her first blockbuster role. Initially she seems little more than a damsel-in-distress type, but the movie is more adult and unexpected than that, utilising her character to ask compelling questions you’ll be debating afterwards.

The movie might not have Caesar, but Wes Ball has ensured that his spirit remains in both the storyline and the overall movie.

There’s substance here to go with the visual style and big-screen spectacle, a potent mix that worked so well for the previous trilogy.

Whether Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes does enough at the box office to ensure we see the continuation of the story remains to be seen. But, some first-act issues aside, it does a superb job at making you wa nt to see this story continue.


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