The great ape Caesar lives in the shadow of Batman. Director Matt Reeves has already talked about it The Batman mAt the end of his monkey trilogy War for the Planet of the Apeswas released in theaters on July 14, 2017. And before the world even knew Robert Pattinson was going to put on the hood, Reeves claimed the monkey revolutionary and Bruce Wayne had a lot in common.

That one odd detail sums up the larger misunderstood reputation of War for the Planet of the Apes. When it was released, everyone – even the director – had already started moving on. The film could have completed a fantastic trilogy monkeys Reboots, but five years later it feels like a franchise that found its footing just in time to die an untimely death.

All three monkeys reboots — get up, dawn, and War for the Planet of the Apes – are much better than cinema history will remember. Considering that the original monkeys Saga set the standard for gonzo sci-fi films by selling absolutely insane premises to the masses in what was still a mainstream series of reboots respectable, much less Well, is a small miracle.

Although the actual sci-fi stories are told within the monkeys Movies are nothing like that Battlestar Galacticathe reinterpretation of monkeys Narration, which began in 2011, is similar to the relationship in 2003 battlestar had with his ancestor. Rethink a beloved but goofy looking sci-fi franchise, but keep the heart.

Instead of dealing with the recurring human characters, the new monkeys Films are inspired by the last two films of the original saga: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and battle for the planet of the apes, Both posited that the antihero of these films was Caesar, not the humans. It was a bold decision, although new monkeys The trilogy was smart enough to ditch the time-travel paradoxes and offbeat space travel (a lesson Tim Burton should have learned before embarking on his chilling 2001 remake).

Instead, until we arrive War for the Planet of the Apes, the series has morphed into good old-fashioned post-everything dystopia. The setting is equal parts crazy max and The street, that’s the polite way of saying it’s somewhat generic. but War of the Planet of the Apes uses the familiar sci-fi setting to double the realism. At the time of War‘s Release, audiences were no longer impressed by good CGI that allowed the monkeys to become the main characters of the story. There’s a lot of talk about the talents of Andy Serkis, but the praise he’s received doesn’t give these films enough credit.

The story is pretty simple. Humanity is dying out, mainly because of a plague. Caesar still wants some kind of peace with humans, but renegade monkeys will never agree to that. Meanwhile, some people have developed a bizarre syndrome that makes them appear more animalistic. This revolutionary reversal is at the heart of Pierre Boulle’s original novel, and in some ways the plot of War for the Planet of the Apes is nothing like the plot of the original novel, the thematic core of it monkeys feels closest to this book of any film.

War it’s not cute, but it has heart.20th century fox

The whole point of each planet of monkeys The film is a huge, throbbing analogy about the human condition. There is a lack of subtlety throughout monkeys franchises, which is why some movies work (the 1968 original, flight, conquest) and some fall flat (Battle, Tim Burton’s train wreck). Everyone monkeys The film has to decide how hard it wants to sell the metaphor.

But what does War of the Planet of the Apes is so unique that it scarcely bothers to allegory. Instead, it presents the notion of fully sentient monkeys as the status quo, and then wraps it all up in the most realistic way possible. Instead of encouraging audiences to see the monkeys as metaphors for humans, the film actually manages to see them for what they are: intelligent monkeys.

None of the characters, including Caesar, get enough screen time to feel fully realized, and so the film’s entire naturalistic foundation is swallowed up by the plot planing of the film’s entry. At the risk of invoking nostalgia for something no one remembers, it’s almost like the best route to take monkeys reboots wasn’t a movie, it was a TV series. But since the 1974 TV show wasn’t exactly the franchise’s favorite version, we’ll have to settle for the reboot trilogy of films for now.

War for the Planet of the Apes is in some ways a throwback to the more straightforward sci-fi that’s becoming increasingly rare these days. It’s an unpretentious film about a specific idea that digs deep enough to border on brilliance. Any social comment or deeper message comes through organically. But while that’s happening, all you can think about is what’s going to happen next. It’s the telltale sign of a solid blockbuster roller coaster, but one that falls just short of the thematic depth that would have made it more memorable.

You can rent War of the Planet of the Apes on Amazon Prime.

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