Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) - SPOILER-FREE Review

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Directed by: Matt Reeves

Starring:  Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smith-McPhee, Enrique Murciano, Kirk Acevedo

Runtime: 130 min

10 years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, we find out that the humans went through a severe virus that killed most of Earth's population. The apes are living in peace in a forest with their own culture growing exponentially, but some human survivors threaten that security.

A very short and fragile agreement between both races leads to war amongst them to decide who's the dominant species of the planet.

The first film clearly elevated the franchise to a very high level of quality, but it still had its flaws ... Dawn of the Planet of the Apes takes those issues and solves them while improving everything else that was already great!

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Once again, Caesar (Andy Serkis) is an outstanding character! It's amazing how I feel so connected to an ape, a very powerful, emotional ape that leaves me at the edge of my seat every time he's in action. Andy Serkis deserves every Oscar there is for his unbelievable performance, he is, without a single doubt, the best motion capture actor ever! What a role!

If there's another standout from this second installment, it is definitely Koba (Toby Kebbell). He steals every scene he's in! He's great when fighting and he's very passionate about his perspective on the human race, something that is very well explained and demonstrated throughout the film, giving this character the reason behind his "evil" personality.

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Also, this time around the human characters got a little more development than on the first movie, as it can be seen on Jason Clarke's great portrayal of Malcolm, who brings the emotional human-ape relationship to some very compelling and captivating moments.

The visual effects are flawless and incredibly realistic. I mean, there are close-up scenes to an ape's face ... That seems like a freaking real ape! It's that good! In addition to this, the action is awesome and there's a lot more of it than on the previous film. When it goes down, IT GOES DOWN! Just incredible direction from Matt Reeves, congratulations for an extraordinary work!

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I only have a couple of minor issues: once again, the pacing is a little bit slow, but it did improve compared to the first movie. Some human characters are just assholes because the plot demands them to, instead of being the script (which is also a bit expositional) to justify their actions. However, these are very minor problems that I have with this amazing film!

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes improves on everything Rise has: marvelous visual effects, well-developed characters (apes and humans), awesome action and a captivating story, with an astounding amount of emotion and compelling moments during the whole runtime. Matt Reeves' direction is near perfection and Andy Serkis declares, once and for all, that he is, in fact, the best motion capture actor ever!

|  A+  : 9.3-10 |  A : 8.7-9.2 |  A-  : 8.0-8.6 |  B+  : 7.3-7.9 |  B : 6.7-7.2 |  B-  : 6.0-6.6 ||  C+  : 5.3-5.9 |  C : 4.7-5.2 |  C-  : 4.0-4.6 |  D+  : 3.3-3.9 |  D : 2.7-3.2 |  D-  : 2.0-2.6 |  F : 0-1.9 |

| A+ : 9.3-10 | A: 8.7-9.2 | A- : 8.0-8.6 | B+ : 7.3-7.9 | B: 6.7-7.2 | B- : 6.0-6.6 || C+ : 5.3-5.9 | C: 4.7-5.2 | C- : 4.0-4.6 | D+ : 3.3-3.9 | D: 2.7-3.2 | D- : 2.0-2.6 | F: 0-1.9 |