Critics Hail Director Wes Ball’s Mighty “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes”

Wes Ball didn’t have the easiest task when he signed on to make the fourth new Planet of the Apes film of the modern era. Rupert Wyatt kicked things off with Rise of the Planet of the Apes back in 2011, and then The Batman director Matt Reeves filmed the ferocious final two installments in the new trilogy, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes in 2014 and 2017, two muscular, very beautiful action-epics led by Andy Serkis as the noble chimpanzee Caesar. Now that the reviews are pouring in for Ball’s new installment, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, set hundreds of years after the events in War, we can safely say that he’s made yet another stunner.

Kingdom boasts a highly evolved ape society in which the primate rulers of the world can talk—we mean really talk—with a clarity that surpasses the humans they’ve displaced at the top of the food chain. Whereas they were learning how to communicate during the previous trilogy (no doubt with astonishing results), by the time Kingdom begins, they’ve mastered language.

The heart of Kingdom is Noa (Owen Teague), a young ape who steps into the center of this tale of struggle and conquest much as Serkis did years ago. Noa lives amongst apes in a complex society, with the cities of man now overgrown and re-wilded and human beings scraping by on the margins. A ferocious new leader, Proximus Caesar (Kevin Durand), is building a formidable empire in which compassion and kindness towards humans are signs of weakness to be crushed.

“Wes Ball’s brilliant Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes walks securely in the footsteps of this recent legacy, wearing the Caesar-centric films’ values like fairness, loyalty, and communal solidarity on its sleeve with pride,” writes Tomris Laffly at

Once again, the look of the franchise has left jaws agape.

“Noa and his ilk are astounding digital creations by the artists from Weta and other special effects houses. I don’t know why the apes of Planet of the Apes tend to look so much better than comparable CGI characters in other modern Hollywood productions, but they do,” writes ScreenCrush‘s Matt Singer.

Screenwriter Josh Friedman has meticulously built the apes’ kingdom after our own troubled world.

“At a moment in modern history when autocratic rule is on the rise across the globe, Josh Friedman’s smart screenplay takes its cue from its recent predecessors in reflecting the politics of its time,” writes The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney.

Let’s take a quick peek at the reviews. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes swings into theaters on May 10:

Featured image: Sylva (played by Eka Darville) in 20th Century Studios’ KINGDOM OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2024 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.


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The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.