‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ reviews: ‘Masterful’ sequel continues summer of acclaimed blockbusters

Will the 2018 Oscars be dominated by summer action blockbusters? Okay, that might be a stretch, but this has nevertheless been an unusually robust summer season for big-budget, high-octane spectacles that also stand among critics’ favorite films of the year. “Wonder Woman” was such a film, as was “Baby Driver.” Now comes “War for the Planet of the Apes,” the third film in the modern trilogy that previously included “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011) and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” (2014). Based on the reviews, the third film may be the best yet.

As of this writing, “War” currently has a MetaCritic score of 83, which is up from 79 for “Dawn” and 68 for “Rise.” This latest “Planet of the Apes” movie also has a 94% freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Those numbers would be the envy of most Oscar contenders. Directed by Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield,” “Let Me In”), the film is being described as “masterful,” “entertaining and full of complexity,” and a “formidable achievement.” It’s a “spectacle that trusts us to think” and concludes “the best blockbuster franchise currently running.” It’s even Biblical.

What do you think of the awards potential for “War for the Planet of the Apes”? Check out some of the reviews for the film below, then vote in our poll at the bottom of this post and join the discussion on this and more with your fellow advanced primates in our forums.

Alissa Wilkinson (Vox): “‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ is the rare blockbuster that’s both entertaining and full of complexity … And yet, even if nothing follows this film, War for the Planet of the Apes is an achievement that’s especially welcome in a blockbuster landscape dotted by superheroes, reboots, and flat, unimaginative sequels.”

Justin Chang (Los Angeles Times): “This masterful third chapter is not much of a war movie at all. Viewers expecting an epic clash between two equally vicious primate factions may be surprised — though not, I imagine, disappointed — by the eerie calm that hangs over this picture, and by the grace and restraint with which the writer-director Matt Reeves guides the story from its explosive beginning to its elegiac finale.”

Dana Stevens (Slate): “War for the Planet of the Apes, the third installment in the best blockbuster franchise currently running … is a formidable achievement: not just the rare last chapter in a trilogy that maintains the high quality of the first two, but a visually lush, heart-pounding summer action movie that dares to ask hard questions about the struggle between good and evil.”

Stephanie Zacharek (Time): “War for the Planet of the Apes is something else, a summer blockbuster that treats its audience as primates of a higher order. It’s not going to change the summer-blockbuster landscape single-handedly, but at least it comes by its thrills honestly: This is a spectacle that trusts us to think.”

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