Film Review: KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2024): Wes Ball’s New Sequel Falls Short of its Predecessors but is Still a Distinguished Effort SuperNayr

Apes Freya Allan Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes Review

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (2024) Film Review, a movie directed by Wes Ball, written by Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver and starring Freya Allan, Kevin Durand, Dichen Lachman, William H. Macy, Owen Teague, Lydia Peckham, PeterMacon, Sara Wiseman, Karin Konoval, Neil Sandilands, Eka Darville, Ras-Samuel,Travis Jeffery and Nina Gallas.

The new film, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes feels like a routine sequel that is entertaining in many sections but lacks a lot of the awesome pizzazz and originality of the earlier sets of films in the franchise. In director Wes Ball’s new film, a key ape declares, “Together strong.” The same holds true of the Apes franchise but, individually, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is the least compelling movie in the recent series of pictures. That doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable but it just needed a bit more of a competent story line to make the action leap off the screen in the way it did in the other films, particularly the earlier films in the series directed by Matt Reeves.

Set hundreds of years after the last installment, the new picture meanders frequently as it clocks in at nearly two-and-a-half hours, including closing credits. The characters are memorable but not in such a way that this sequel will be remembered as one of the better pictures in the series. Owen Teague is the star of the film, playing Noa, the ape. Noa is an interesting addition to the series and has a lot of personality and distinct character traits. This sequel begins by informing us (via on-screen words) of the history of the infamous ape, Caesar, before setting into its own unique, but thin, story line.

Anaya (Travis Jeffery) and Soona (Lydia Peckham) are Noa’s pals. Kevin Durand serves as Proximus Caesar, the  chief villain of the film. When the main action of the film kicks into gear, Proximus Caesar ends up becoming more or less responsible for the father character, Koro (Neil Sandilands)’s death. Freya Allan plays the human character, Mae, who pairs with Noa after he saves her. Mae is out on her own personal quest which is revealed in the latter half of the overlong movie. The all-knowing character, Raka (Peter Macon), is another ape of interest in the film.

The plot basically revolves around Noa and Mae’s bond while the film explores themes of working together and overcoming evil. A particularly great sequence comes on a bridge as the characters of Noa and Mae are pursued on opposite ends of the bridge by two vicious apes. Poor Raka is taken away by the water underneath and Noa and Mae are captured by Proximus Caesar and his crew. This is one of the most technically proficient set of scenes in the film and this part is a true stand-out for its overall quality.

Tossed into the film is character actor William H. Macy as Trevathan, an instructor to Proximus Caesar. Macy is merely adequate in a small part the actor could have done in his sleep. Macy has some intriguing scenes with Allan but Macy obviously knew that this part wouldn’t be a crucial one to the success of the picture. It seems like “a blockbuster to put on his resume sort of deal.” Macy is killing time here while waiting for his next, more mature role to arrive. Meanwhile, Mae is an underwritten character in search of a book which she is hoping will change the world. Freya Allan is adequate in the role, though, and, as the principal human being in the film, Allan gets the job done in her role the best way she can.

It feels like Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is a stepping stone to other future movies more than a complete film in and of itself. Also, the film focuses on the apes more than the humans and, as a result, the movie does more justice to the apes featured in the picture than to the actual people. Durand’s Proximus Caesar can be appropriately menacing too and the villains are well-drawn. They are ultimately bad guys for bad guys’ sake and feel like they’re created in a by-the-numbers fashion although the story does allow the villain characters to have a bit more depth than they could have had in a lesser film.

The most memorable sequences in Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes come in the second half with the one early on centering on the bridge of the highest possible quality. The movie kills off a couple of likable characters and that detracts from the quality of the picture, overall. There is a lot of plot here but the twists aren’t that plentiful and the movie exists for its action set pieces, above all else. Though there is some heart to the material, the picture doesn’t rest on the emotions of the characters as much as it does on the action.

In the end, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is still passable entertainment. Some knowledge of the previous pictures in the series (especially the more recent reboots) will enhance the quality of the film as a whole for the majority of viewers. Wes Ball knows his way around an action picture and gives the audience plenty of fight scenes and philosophical ones in equal doses. It’s a good movie, overall, but could have been much more with a stronger screenplay.

Rating: 7/10

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