The linear storytelling that War for the Planet of the Apes uses works well for the blockbuster. The story never dulls or slows down. Rather, it constantly progresses with new revelations about certain characters. Every character in the film has a background that is relevant to the story. Caeser, Maurice, Rocket, and Luca return with new developments in their storylines. However, we also get a lot of fresh characters to connect with. Bad Ape, Nova, and The Colonel add different ideas and backgrounds to create an original story.
As Caeser, Andy Serkis once again stuns audiences with his performance capture. There is nobody better at performance capture than Serkis. Every movement he makes is authentic and believable. These are not the sub-par effects that partially ruined the Star Wars prequels. As one of the few human characters at the center of the story, Woody Harrelson's (No Country for Old Men, Zombieland) performance is also fantastic. This is a fitting role for him to portray as a villain with a deeper background than the surface shows. Throughout the film, he gives chilling speeches that remind us of current human ideologies.
As a whole, the story is unique to the rebooted series. Of course, there is a war going on between humans and apes. Yet, there are other things going on as well. The movie is not as simple as the title makes it seem. Matt Reeves and his writing crew clearly did not want this film to be a summer blockbuster with meaningless explosions and shallow characters. The conclusion of the film is emotional because of how well-built the characters are. I would love to go on another adventure with these characters and hope that Serkis can find the time to advocate for another installment.
The Bottom Line: War for the Planet of the Apes is a thoroughly-crafted blockbuster conclusion to the new Planet of the Apes trilogy.