Some of the hot takes in this thread make my head hurt.
I loved this film. It's my favorite film of the summer, my favorite film in the trilogy, and my favorite blockbuster since Fury Road.
It's so refreshing to have a summer blockbuster built on excellent filmmaking and storytelling, first and foremost. The measured, subdued pace is absolutely a breath of fresh air in a summer dominated by fast-paced spectacle, though a lot of those films have been very good too, but this really lets the story and characters breathe. I loved that this was the first film in the series to really give no bones about having a human lead like the first two, and really just accepts that this is Ceaser's story, and the story of the apes.
It's The Searchers mixed with The Great Escape mixed with Watership Down. It's a tremendous piece of filmmaking with the best motion-captured performances I've ever seen. Serkis is the master of this stuff, but his work in this film is his strongest work yet. He's giving a haunted, angry, nuanced performance of a leader blinded by his own hate and revenge but still trying to do the best for his people, and his remaining family.
I loved that the film ended with a breakout sequence as it's climax. It's a rare and underutilized type of action sequence nowadays, so watching a really well-constructed one was an absolute treat. I also loved the way the film subverted it's own marketing, and really it's own title, when you learn that the "War for the Planet of the Apes" is not a war between Man and Ape but between Man and Man, with the Apes left to reap the most consequences. It really speaks to the way that the marginalized outsiders are often the ones to get the shortest end of the stick when war breaks out, and is a fantastic extrapolation of the horrors that man puts animals through even today.
It's also so fun to see this world start to further take shape into the world of Planet of the Apes. There's some really fun world-building here.