Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Inessential apery

I confess I haven’t kept up with all the sequels, spinoffs and “re-imaginings” of the original 1968 Planet of the Apes, but, really, who has? That said, I did catch Matt Reeves’s emotionally complex Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in 2014 and War for the Planet of the Apes in 2017 and was impressed. The latter even managed to elicit a tear from this hardened critic. 

So on that basis, I went to see this latest one, directed by Wes Ball (the Maze Runner movies). The story takes place several generations after alpha-ape Caesar’s reign in a world where apes are dominant and humans reduced to a feral existence. The main character is a young ape (Owen Teague) who begins to question all he has been taught about the past. Especially when he meets a human babe who can speak (Freya Allan). 

While the film is technologically accomplished and in places suspenseful and exciting, it’s all somewhat of a muddle. It becomes increasingly obvious that it is blatantly setting itself up as a tentpole for a new franchise, the rest of which I will probably skip. It’s a popcorn diversion that’s nowhere near the best PotA movie, but neither is it the worst. Call it franchise management. (145 min)