The final trailer is here for War for the Planet of the Apes, teasing a possible conclusion to the story of Caesar the ape; played via motion-capture yet again by Andy Serkis. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes co-writer and director Matt Reeves is back at the helm for this third installment in the ‘modern’ Planet of the Apes movie franchise, following the surprise critical, commercial success of Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes – a reboot of the Planet of the Apes property that introduced Serkis’ version of Caesar to moviegoing audiences – back in 2011.
War for the Planet of the Apes, as its title indicates, is a proper war epic that pits Caesar and his fellow apes against the remnants of humankind, in a winner-takes-all battle for dominion over the planet. Although we know that this fight ultimately doesn’t end well for humanity (see the status quo in the original 1968 Planet of the Apes movie), that does not mean that Caesar’s journey will conclude on an uplifting note. This newly-released final theatrical preview for War for the Planet of the Apes certainly doesn’t paint this installment as being a light-hearted summer blockbuster either, for that matter.
As the final trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes illustrates, Caesar isn’t kidding around when he says that “I did not start this war… but I will finish it”; whether that calls for him to chuck a grenade at a (fuel?) tank at a human military encampment (possibly causing an avalanche in the process) or to straight-on try and tackle his opponent, in the form of a heavily-armed Woody Harrelson as ‘The Colonel’. That doesn’t mean that Caesar has abandoned all sense of compassion however, as evidenced by his decision to protect the abandoned young girl (Amiah Miller) whom he and his trusted ape pack cross paths with, in the final trailer.
The final trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes also provides a better look at Steve Zahn as ‘Bad Ape’, a character who comes across here as less of an overt comical relief player, as some fans of the franchise were worried he would, and more as a gentle and child-like, yet damaged soul. Reeves has said that War has more humor than Planet of the Apes movies past courtesy of ‘Bad Ape’, but so long as that humor arises organically from the narrative then there’s no reason it should detract from the darker war story being told here.
Similarly, so long as War for the Planet of the Apes can balance its spectacle and action sequences with its classic war movie-inspired storyline and its character-driven drama, then Reeves should succeed at delivering another worthy addition to the larger Apes franchise here, on the level with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in particular. War for the Planet of the Apes may yet prove able to stand alongside Logan as being one of the more soulful blockbuster offerings of 2017, for related reasons.