Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes: The franchise that just refuses to die

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is a 2024 American science fiction dystopian action-adventure film.

Photo credit: Pool

Though Matt Reeves has never really been one of my favourite directors, his work on the previous apes trilogy was commendable. Six years after the release of War for the Planet of the Apes, we are back at it again in the world of the apes.

As a concept, these stories have always been interesting: a world where apes rule and humanity has regressed to a primitive state. Technology has allowed for better-looking special effects, so yes some may think we need to revive the franchise, but I didn't really see the need for it. However, we live in the age of franchises, and the previous trilogy made a lot of money, so the studio had to find a way to bring it back.

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

Directed by Wes Ball and written by Josh Friedman, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is a 2024 American science fiction dystopian action-adventure film. It is a standalone sequel to War for the Planet of the Apes (2017).

It's the fourth instalment in the Planet of the Apes reboot franchise and the tenth film overall. It stars Owen Teague in the lead role alongside Freya Allan, Kevin Durand, Peter Macon, and William H. Macy.

The film takes place 300 years after the events of "War" and follows a young chimpanzee named Noa, who embarks on a journey alongside a human woman named Mae to determine the future for apes and humans alike.

What worked

This is a technical marvel, especially in regards to the special effects when it came to facial expressions, thanks to great motion capture. The apes in the movie look real, to the point that at one moment, I wished that the human element of the movie was not there.

The computer-generated imagery when it came to the dystopian future with the landscapes is also really good. When mixed with great cinematography, you get a good reason to see this on the largest screen possible.

The writers did a good job of making the story as relevant as possible. Though it's an ape movie, the themes are very much relatable.

The world-building was one of the things that stayed with me. Different apes have different cultures, and the director did a good job of differentiating them with visual cues and personalities that make every ape different.

You will empathise with the protagonist thanks to good characterisation and set-up. Following his journey was simplified, thanks to a concrete first act that elevates the stakes and defines the emotional moments in the third act.

The antagonist is fantastic; he is charismatic and very smart. Though he was introduced in the later part of the second act, he elevated every scene that he was in, thanks to good writing and fantastic facial motion capture.

The action set pieces are hard-hitting, thanks to the fact that the director made us care for the main character. This attachment leads to a very satisfying third act.

There are consequences in this film; characters that we grow to like die. This helped maintain a certain level of tension throughout the film because in the back of your mind, there was always a nagging feeling that something bad was going to happen.

What didn't work

I didn't think the human characters were necessary or add anything to the story. At one point, following a particular human character felt like it detracted from the main story and slowed down the film.

While the second act works hard to help us connect with the main character through his journey, some may find it a bit slow. It's only saved by the introduction of a wholesome character who just adds more depth to the story and helps us understand where we are in terms of the time frame of this movie.

The ending of the movie made me just sigh; they shamelessly set up a franchise. Why this is frustrating is that for me, it made it feel like this was just a teaser, a taste of something more interesting to come. This movie, in fact, dangles a carrot and hopes that the audience will take a bite and get excited for the next one.

Don't get me wrong, there is a complete story, but something in the third act is introduced that changes the trajectory of the film, and at the end of the film, it feels like the beginning of the next film, which for me watered down the experience.


This is a visually stunning film; the technical part of making the apes look real and making them perform while still maintaining ape mannerisms is something that should be studied in film school. Young people will really love this because of the idea of apes with human-like personalities.

Excellent villain, fantastic, world-building only brought down by the human element and the setup for the next movie. This could have perfectly been an entire all-ape story. A cinema experience is worth it for the cinematography and fantastic sound design.

X: @stanslausmanthi

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