Sequels suck. Yep, most of the time. Reboots suck. Other than True Grit, pretty much. So the odds are against Dawn of the Planet of the Apes going in. So what director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In) has delivered is near miraculous. The real magic is delivered from WETA Digital as there isn't a single second of this film that isn't amazing to look at. 90% of this film is taken up by characters that do not exist but you never question it for a second, and that final shot is breathtaking. I am still on a bit of a high from watching this, the 3D draws you in to the film seamlessly, but I really feel this is one of the best sequels ever. The only critiques are, as with the first, only a few human characters are given a storyline to work with, but the main ape characters are so well fleshed out, you can over look that. There is also a huge continuity error near the end that amazed me wasn't caught. Without those two issues, I would give this 5 stars. Bring on part 3.
While the underlying theme may be familiar, and simple, when placed in the hands of a great cast and director with an amusing script, magic happens. All the films that tried to be a buddy travel picture shuld watch this films middle section and see how to do it. Also, the pasta scene could be the most literal interpretation of "food porn" in mainstream Hollywood to date.
I am long over the rash of possession films that have been out the last decade or so but, out of boredom, have this a chance. I was pleasantly surprised that it takes a different angle, showing the story from the point of view of the investigating detective and keeping most of the over the top scenes for the very end. Even those work due to a very good performance from Sean Harris. Nice to see a director attempt to build tension through sorry telling and moody cinematography instead of cheap scare tactics. I wouldn't say it's a must see at the theater, but a good way to kill off 2 hours in your life at some point.