Step aside, Wonder Woman; there’s a new beloved blockbuster of the summer — and War for the Planet of the Apes has a level of critical praise that would make even the first lady of superhero movies jealous. Simply put, it’s getting reviews that summer tentpoles just don’t traditionally receive.
To wit, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Todd McCarthy raves about the movie, praising its visuals (“the sheer beauty of the film is intense,” he writes, noting that cinematographer Michael Seresin “intoxicatingly” captures the world around the apes), score and a story that dares to be morally complex instead of reductive for blockbuster audiences.
“[O]ne of the great merits of the screenplay by Mark Bomback, who co-wrote the previous entry and shares credit on this one with [director Matt] Reeves, is that it takes all the characters’ views, grievances and aspirations seriously,” McCarthy writes, “although investment in Caesar’s and the apes’ cause is assumed and tacitly encouraged, the film doesn’t insist that they are right and everyone else is intrinsically evil.”
The Village Voice‘s Bilge Ebiri was equally impressed. “Of course, people are often capable of great evil; we don’t need the movies to tell us that. But the mindless, tribal destructiveness on display in this film is not some outside, unfamiliar force. These aren’t zombies. We recognize this impulse, this willingness to embrace raw hatred and give ourselves over to leaders who focus and cultivate our rage. These days, we know it all too well,” he writes. “The picture pulls us as viewers into an atmosphere so oppressive that it leaves no room for morality; we’re too caught up in the characters’ struggle for survival to worry about anything else. To put it another way: This movie is a dangerous place to be.”
More from: The Hollywood Reporter