The film takes place 15 years after the Simian Flu spread across the globe killing billions in its path. Caesar (Andy Serkis) has tried to maintain peace between the apes and the humans but after Koba (Toby Kebbel) betrayed his fellow apes and brought on the dawn of a new conflict it has been impossible to keep the humans from rising up against them. So a new War has begun and the apes are hiding out in the woods until an evil Colonel (a chilling Woody Harrelson) and his men force them into a fatal conflict.
The trilogy as a whole is one of the strongest in years and if this is the last one it is a perfect way to close it. Matt Reeves (who also directed Dawn) has crafted another stunningly shot, brilliantly written, awe-inspiring film that draws you in and keeps you engaged until the very end. Andy Serkis and his fellow actors’ do a fantastic job of once again making you feel like you are witnessing real apes and it makes you sympathise with them even more as they desperately try to break free from the War and live a peaceful life.
As well as Serkis there are some other terrific turns, one of which is newcomer Amiah Miller who plays the young girl Caeser as his companions come across and take under their wing. She is charismatic and gives an honest performance as another soul caught up in the midst of this angry battle. Another fantastic addition is Steve Zahn as Bad Ape; a terrific character they bump into in the wilderness. It’s almost like Zahn was meant to play this part because his voice is perfect for it and he’s comical and funny, giving a lighter edge to the dark tone of the film which balances it out nicely.
Woody Harrelson really stands out here and gives a frightening and edgy performance as The Colonel. He gives off shades of Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now and R Lee Ermy in Full Metal Jacket but really makes the role his own and delivers some exceptional lines of dialogue. Of course Serkis is the real hero here as our favourite ape Caeser; he is brave and bold, fierce but loveable and we can’t help but root for him every step of the way. This is his story and he sure does own it! There is simply nothing I can fault with this film and nothing I would change. It is tense, engaging, jaw dropping and even humorous at times. If there is a dry eye in the audience by the end I’ll be surprised because this one had me in floods of tears!