Despite being Darker and Edgier than the previous two movies, there's still plenty of D'awws to go around:
- This clip of how the apes take in Nova.
- This exchange just before they leave the area shows how much compassion Maurice still has for humans:Caesar: We cannot take her, Maurice.Maurice: (in sign language) I understand... but I cannot leave her.
- The whole clip in general is this in a world that has been ravaged by this totally avoidable war and seeing the evil and amoral side of both species this clip and the relationship between Caesar and Nova shows just how much compassion is still possible on both sides.
- This exchange just before they leave the area shows how much compassion Maurice still has for humans:
- Maurice and Nova. Nova can't speak because of the Simian Flu, and Maurice starts teaching her sign language so she can communicate.
- Particularly, during the excavation for the Ape Escape from the "Human Zoo," Maurice tells Nova she's very brave, the sign for which is triumphantly thrusting both arms in the air. Nova replies hesitantly, which is subtitled as "Brave?" Maurice thrusts his arms up again, with more vigor, correcting her: "Brave!" Nova replies in kind, "Brave!" Then Nova asks if she's Ape, too. Maurice replies by officially naming her Nova, speaking for only the second time in the entire franchise.
- Luca plucking a flower from a tree and sweetly putting it on Nova's hair and smiling after that.
- Lake telling all the Apes to quickly get back to work when McCullough threatens to kill Caesar if they don't.
- Nova sneaking into the "Human Zoo," finding Caesar, giving him water, and then getting food the other Apes had stashed away for him and bringing it to him. Finally, she joins the Apes in the "Apes Together Strong" gesture.
- Just about any time Rocket and Caesar are onscreen together. If you've been following the films up to this point, you'll remember how Rocket bullied and tormented Caesar in the first film when he was first brought to the ape shelter, only for Caesar to win Rocket over with a combination of Summon Bigger Fish and Tastes Like Friendship. Now, Rocket is Caesar's right-hand-Ape, best friend, and brother-in-arms. Rocket's utter loyalty to Caesar is amazing to behold.Rocket: (to Caesar) I know what it's like to lose a son.
- Similarly, Maurice. Caesar's oldest Ape friend is still by his side, and still looking out for Caesar and providing advice.Caesar: I may not be coming back.
Maurice: (in sign) That's why I'm coming. To make sure you do.
- Caesar giving a Mercy Kill to one of the Colonel's infected soldiers who is still alive after having been shot and buried in the snow, plus the anguished look on his face upon first discovering this soldier and the other dead ones. He may hate the Colonel, but his empathy and compassion for humanity remains.
- Caesar overcoming his desire for revenge and sparing McCullough in the end. While McCullough considers it Cruel Mercy and kills himself instead, Caesar very visibly, and per Word of God, does it for himself as he knows that he's better than this, and that he cannot allow himself to go down the path that Koba did.
- The final scene, where the apes reach their promised land. Caesar lies next to Maurice, revealing that he was mortally wounded during the battle. While Maurice panics, Caesar calmly comforts him.Caesar: Do not worry. You... are all... home... now. Apes are strong. With... or without, me.
Maurice: Son... will know... who... was... father. And what... Caesar... did... for us.
- Maurice then turns to see Nova playing with Cornelius and Bad Ape, before turning back to Caesar, and speaking.
- Caesar turns to see his people, who he has freed and fought for all these years, letting a single tear of joy fall down his face, before dying peacefully.
- Whilst Bad Ape's not too thrilled about the idea of going back to the army base and has to be convinced into helping, he does so anyway and never once even considers abandoning his new friends, though Maurice does have to scare him into helping once. Talk about loyalty.
- Him giving Nova (who he had only just met) his parka because she's cold is another heartwarming moment. A slightly bonkers hermit he may be, but he's a Nice Guy through and through.