Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 48 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 48
  2. Negative: 0 out of 48

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jul 10, 2014
    100
    The film forges ahead, in vivid 3-D, with such energy, expertise and thunderous conviction that you readily accept its basic premise — the pell-mell emergence of great intelligence, plus moral awareness, in primitive bodies — and find yourself exactly where the filmmakers want you to be, swinging giddily between sympathy for the apes and the humans in what threatens to become all-out war.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jul 10, 2014
    100
    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is awe-inspiring.
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jul 9, 2014
    100
    Yet for all of the technological genius at work here, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes maintains a remarkably human core, even under digital makeup.
  4. Reviewed by: Drew McWeeny
    Jun 29, 2014
    100
    "Dawn" is not just a good genre movie or a good summer movie. It's a great science-fiction film, full-stop, and one of the year's very best movies so far.
  5. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jun 29, 2014
    100
    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes manages to do at least three things exceptionally well that are hard enough to pull off individually: Maintain a simmering level of tension without let-up for two hours, seriously improve on a very good first entry in a franchise and produce a powerful humanistic statement using a significantly simian cast of characters.
  6. Reviewed by: Guy Lodge
    Jun 29, 2014
    100
    An altogether smashing sequel to 2011′s better-than-expected “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” this vivid, violent extension of humanoid ape Caesar’s troubled quest for independence bests its predecessor in nearly every technical and conceptual department.
  7. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jul 10, 2014
    91
    Director Matt Reeves, working from a script by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Mark Bomback, elevates the apes to primary importance in this intelligent thriller.
  8. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Jul 9, 2014
    91
    In truth, the deeply absorbing and thematically rich ‘Apes’ sequel is more akin to a drama than an action film, but it's one that still satisfies the desires and demands of big, blockbuster filmmaking.
  9. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Jul 10, 2014
    90
    “Dawn” is more than a bunch of occasionally thrilling action sequences, emotional gut punches and throwaway jokes arranged in predictable sequence. It is technically impressive and viscerally exciting, for sure, but it also gives you a lot to think, and even to care, about.
  10. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Jul 9, 2014
    90
    Serkis’ Caesar gets more than his fair share of rip-snortin’ badass moments. He’s arguably the finest leader of men we’ve seen on screen since “Lincoln.”
  11. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Jul 10, 2014
    88
    Loud, smart and ferociously committed to its premise, and it leaves an intriguingly bitter aftertaste.
  12. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jul 10, 2014
    88
    This installment inches events closer to a merge point with 1968's "Planet of the Apes" while maintaining its own unique identity. It is in every way superior to "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."
  13. Reviewed by: Dave McGinn
    Jul 10, 2014
    88
    Good news – it’s incredible. It sets the standard for blockbuster action movies, and manages to be even better than its predecessor.
  14. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Jul 10, 2014
    88
    This is an “Apes” for the ages.
  15. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Jul 10, 2014
    88
    It's a provocative sci-fi action film with dynamite special effects, a powerful humanistic theme with echoes of real-life social conflicts, and a truly wondrous performance by Serkis.
  16. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Jul 9, 2014
    88
    For two hours of breathless drama, you forget you’re watching actors grunting like chimps and hope two rival civilizations can work together.
  17. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jul 11, 2014
    83
    What’s striking about this new film is that it lays out the message-mongering in such a way that you can enjoy the movie equally well on a purely action level.
  18. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jul 10, 2014
    83
    It speaks to the masses with some treats for the discerning types in the back.
  19. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Jul 9, 2014
    83
    A sequel that easily tops its 2011 predecessor.
  20. Reviewed by: Daniel Green
    Jul 14, 2014
    80
    A satisfying balance of family drama, political intrigue and all-out action (an ape cavalry charge has to be seen to be believed) do, in truth, only constitute half of the story, as Reeves' sci-fi sequel is as much a technical triumph as a narrative one.
  21. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Jul 14, 2014
    80
    A superbly mounted, powerfully performed, if slightly underfed Apes sequel. That Reeves is set to direct Untitled Of The Planet Of The Apes next is cause for much celebration. This guy’s fur real. No pun intended.
  22. 80
    Even given the spate of post-apocalyptic and dystopian films that rule the multiplexes, this is the bleakest “franchise” in human history, and I’m curious if there will be any balm whatsoever in the next close encounter of the furred kind.
  23. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jul 10, 2014
    80
    Makes for riveting viewing. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is among the more brisk 2 hours and 10 minutes I've spent in a theater in some time -- and it's easily the most rewarding of this year's summer tentpole films.
  24. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Jul 9, 2014
    80
    Yet for all the heady ideas at play, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes remains a visceral film, one of movement, action, unexpected developments, and disarming poignance.
  25. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 9, 2014
    80
    Eschewing a tidy wrap-up, Reeves doesn't leave us feeling manipulated, as so often happens in films like this. Instead, we want to know where the story goes from here, and that's no small accomplishment.
  26. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jul 8, 2014
    80
    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a much better and far less silly movie than its predecessor.
  27. Reviewed by: Richard Jordan
    Jul 3, 2014
    80
    Not quite the intimate parable of the first movie nor a balls-to-the-wall battlefield extravaganza, Dawn is pitched somewhere in the middle, with much of its two hour-plus running time powered by the simmering, expertly sustained tension both between and within the two species.
  28. Reviewed by: Steve Rose
    Jul 2, 2014
    80
    Just as 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes surpassed expectations, so this sequel delivers on its promise and leaves us wanting more – which we'll almost certainly get.
  29. Reviewed by: Tom Huddleston
    Jul 2, 2014
    80
    It may lack its predecessor’s lofty ambitions, but once the bullets, spears and hairy fists start flying you’ll be too wrapped up to care.
  30. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Jul 2, 2014
    80
    There's evident patience and intelligence to the filmmaking all over, as well as an engagement with genuine ideas about diplomacy, deterrence, law and leadership. However often it risks monkey-mad silliness, it's impressively un-stupid.
  31. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jul 9, 2014
    78
    The narrative and its attendant lessons about how one rotten ape and/or human can spoil the bunch are engaging, although I found myself drifting during the battle sequences.
  32. Reviewed by: Jeff Baker
    Jul 11, 2014
    75
    The apes and the special effects team are the real stars of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
  33. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Jul 10, 2014
    75
    Visually, this movie is big, bold, often awe-inspiring.
  34. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jul 10, 2014
    75
    In one of the most wickedly funny scenes in sci-fi history, Koba uses monkeyshines to bamboozle some gun-toting yahoos and scuttle the peace treaty.
  35. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jul 10, 2014
    75
    Whatever audiences think of it, I'd say the latest "Apes" picture is just that: a solid success, sharing many of its predecessor's swift, exciting storytelling and motion-capture technology virtues.
  36. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Jul 10, 2014
    75
    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes works both as allegory and action-adventure film. The internecine conflict between apes mirrors the troubled history of our own race.
  37. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jul 9, 2014
    75
    Dawn is dynamite entertainment, especially in the rousing first hour.
  38. 75
    An action-packed epic, a moving sci-fi allegory rendered in broad, lush strokes by the latest state of the computer animator’s art.
  39. Reviewed by: Steve Macfarlane
    Jul 9, 2014
    75
    This is a summer blockbuster contingent on grand bargains, tactical retreats, and a ferocious, inevitable shock-and-awe campaign.
  40. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Jul 14, 2014
    70
    What is missing from the film is wit—the deep wit that comes from playing off species and environments against each other.
  41. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Jul 10, 2014
    70
    When it gets going, it’s a pretty fine movie.
  42. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Jul 9, 2014
    70
    "Dawn's" vision of masses of intelligent apes swarming the screen as masters of all they survey is even more impressive than it was the last time around and reason enough to see the film all by itself.
  43. Reviewed by: A.A. Dowd
    Jul 9, 2014
    67
    Yet for all the heart and soul the actor pours into his role, watching Dawn still feels a bit like seeing massive, expensive wheels spin in place.
  44. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Jul 11, 2014
    63
    At a certain point in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, you expect Caesar to say, "Et tu, Koba?" Maybe a bit obvious, but it would have shown some wit.
  45. Reviewed by: Alonso Duralde
    Jul 9, 2014
    60
    For its few visual and many script flaws, however, director Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield,” “Let Me In”) balances the splashy set pieces with quieter moments (sullen teen Kodi Smit-McPhee gives a copy of Charles Burns’ “Black Hole” to a wise orangutan named after Maurice Evans!) in such a way that “Dawn” never feels dull or draggy.
  46. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Jul 10, 2014
    50
    If you see the movie, notice how the ending is no ending, and the fact that it even feels like one is entirely a function of Michael Giacchino's musical score.
  47. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jul 10, 2014
    50
    Watching an army of apes riding horses heading into battle is undeniably cool, but that’s the only thing the movie gives you: Neat eye candy. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is written at a level so low, even 8- year-olds will find it lacking.
  48. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jul 10, 2014
    40
    Any film that begins with one of those fake-news montages, where snippets of genuine CNN footage are stitched together to concoct a feeling of semi-urgency around its hackneyed apocalypse, already sucks even before it gets started.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 1053 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 258
  1. Jul 11, 2014
    10
    Nothing, absolutely nothing, in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes falls short of being amazing. An emotionally heavy and truly moving film, DawnNothing, absolutely nothing, in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes falls short of being amazing. An emotionally heavy and truly moving film, Dawn is an absolute marvel of modern science fiction, building upon the strong and unmovable foundations Rise of the Planet of the Apes had left earlier. With a plethora of solid characters from both ends of the tale, an explosive sequence of events and a rather poetic script, Dawn raises the bar for the Planet of the Apes franchise and other big-budget philosophical productions of it's caliber. Dawn really is something that deserves appreciation; few films in our day can only dream of achieving what Dawn has. A film that truly touches it's audience with heartfelt passion and remorse for humanity, Dawn is the kind of film that films as an art form and the film industry needs in general.

    Both Rise and Dawn are thought provoking; films that challenge our perception of our very own species through another. However, Dawn triumphs more spectacularly in a way few films before it had done so; through unsolicited and unforced emotion and depth that makes Dawn a true modern science fiction classic, something that the original creators of Planet of the Apes would be very proud of.
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 20, 2014
    3
    I can't believe the reviews are so high, it doesn't make sense. I feel asleep at one point because it is so slow. Rent if you must see it...I can't believe the reviews are so high, it doesn't make sense. I feel asleep at one point because it is so slow. Rent if you must see it... the director and scriptwriters haven't done their job. Everything rests on the VFX and simulation crew who make this movie watchable for 10 great minutes. Then we go off into cliched character doing predictable things except for the main character who surprizes twice and then you feel manipulated so the movie can go on. The acting is solid except for Felicity who is too recognizable. There is so much they could have done with the story or dialogue. Don't waste your time... see the trailer and then fast forward at home. Sorry to be so harsh but I kept waiting for it to get better and it didn't. Full Review »
  3. LTR
    Jul 11, 2014
    10
    This movie is PERFECT! The story is great, the action is good, the music is good and Cesar is one of the best cgi characters of all time! YouThis movie is PERFECT! The story is great, the action is good, the music is good and Cesar is one of the best cgi characters of all time! You should 100% see this movie! Full Review »