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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Carver, killed seconds after a genuine moment of happiness.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: While Koba's villainy isn't in question, it's debated whether or not he privately admits to his own selfishness or is he behavior is case of Believing Their Own Lies.
  • Award Snub: Andy Serkis, though at this point it's no surprise. Some people also thought Toby Kebbell (Koba) was equally deserving of recognition.
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  • Awesome Music: Hey, nice use of "The Weight"!
  • Catharsis Factor: Koba falls to his death, but the filmmakers, seemingly with this trope in mind, don't make it that simple for him and also have him crash into various things and have debris collapse on top of him while he's falling.
  • Complete Monster: Koba is a xenophobic ape of the highest order. Initially loyal to Caesar, he was disgusted with the fact that Caesar would bring humans into their territory, so Koba decides to betray his leader and take matters into his own hands. Displaying his callousness by murdering two helpless guards, Koba raids the armory of the human city, returning to shoot Caesar and burn down his former home. Pinning the blame on the humans, Koba rallies the misguided apes into attacking San Francisco. Koba shows his hypocritical nature by cruelly tossing the young Ash to his death when he refuses to kill defenseless people in Caesar's name. Upon taking over the city, Koba imposes his rule by trapping the humans in cages and imprisoning any ape still loyal to Caesar in chains. When finally confronted by Caesar, Koba snaps and starts gunning down his former comrades, even as Caesar is trying to help them. Displaying savagery to human and ape alike, Koba proved to be no better than the humans he despised.
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  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The film begins with most of humanity wiped out, and the remnants struggling to survive. On top of that, any lighter moments are always immediately followed by things taking a horrific turn for the worse, and both species end up looking as bad as each other.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Watchmojo.com seems to give a lot of sympathy for Koba in spite of his actions throughout the film. They made Koba their #5 for Top 10 sympathetic movie villains, #8 for Top 10 characters with tragic backstories, and #2 for top 10 movie villains who had justifiable motives. This overlooks the fact that Koba is clearly portrayed as an Ax-Crazy Manipulative Bastard with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder who clearly revels in terrorising and killing people, ape and human alike, especially those who are non-violent and want peace.
    • In a more specific example, a lot of viewers apparently respect Koba for throwing away his gun as Caesar challenges him, taking it as a sign of Koba being honorable. He is most certainly not that, and only does so because gunning Caesar down in cold blood would likely kill his (already tenuous) claim to the throne.
  • Ear Worm: Koba's main leitmotif from Close Encounters Of The Furred Kind.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Maurice, even more so here than in the first film. No one gets the better of him, not even Koba.
  • Even Better Sequel: General consensus among critics and audiences is that the film is even better than its predecessor, currently holding a 90% score on Rotten Tomatoes and 79 on Metacritic (versus the original's 82% and 68, respectively). Some have compared it to The Empire Strikes Back and The Dark Knight in this regard. Others have even proclaimed it the best movie of the summer, if not the entire year.
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  • Harsher in Hindsight: In a case of epic bad timing, Dawn premiered in the middle of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, the deadliest Ebola epidemic to date. What's eerier, Ebola has similar symptoms to the fictional Simian Flu. To be fair, the premiere date was set long before the outbreak began.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Someone immune to the virus that killed off most of humanity is named Ellie, and she had a daughter named Sarah who died when the virus spread. Hmmm. Unintentional, given movie production time, but still amusing.
    • Koba's chant of "Apes Together Strong" is very similar to the song "Lions Over All" in The Lion Guard. What just happens to be the name of one of the singers? Zira.
    • The conflict between Caesar and Koba over whether to help the humans or to destroy them, with Caesar being motivated by compassion, and Koba being motivated by torture, along with Koba shooting Caesar and taking over the tribe, and Caesar having to defeat him in a confrontation invoking Rightful King Returns, is later repeated again in Black Panther.
  • Idiot Plot: While it makes sense that there would be tension between the human survivors and the apes that (unintentionally) caused their downfall, the basic story of a human colony needing to establish good relations with the apes in order to provide for their community runs along fairly smoothly. The entire conflict is triggered by Carver being an irredeemable asshole and xenophobe, Malcolm continuously taking matters into his own hands without explaining his intent, and Koba being lucky enough to find a pair of criminally incompetent guards who happen to be sitting in an otherwise undefended armory.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Carver, in a way. After insensitively brought up Malcolm's wife and Ellie's daughter's deaths from the Simian Flu, Foster tells him to shut up or he'll injure him. An upset Carver said "Oh sure, I'm the asshole!" and walks off. He also has an Alas, Poor Scrappy death scene, killed just after finally showing true happiness upon seeing the lights restored to the city.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Koba has two major points where the audience can say he crossed the line. The first is this when he shoots Caesar, lies about his death and frames the humans for it along with setting fire to the apes' camp. If anyone still had sympathy for him at that point, then he definitely crosses this when he executes Ash, along with several others, for refusing to follow his orders.
  • Narm: Most of the film's trailers edit the order of exchanges during the humans' talk around the campfire. In the trailer, Carver shows prejudice towards the apes for the Simian Flu. Ellie points out that the virus was created by scientists in a lab, and Carver can't blame the apes. Carver says "who else am I gonna blame?" Uh... how about the scientists in the lab she just mentioned, Carver?note 
  • Narm Charm: You would think that, given that all of the Apes's spoken dialogue is Hulk Speak delivered with No Indoor Voice, the film would be hard to take seriously. However, the actors deliver it so effectively that it's convincing, and at times, terrifying.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: Played with. A deal between 20th Century Fox and Ndemic Creations, AKA the creators of Plague Inc. (which, interestingly, whose creator took inspiration from this reboot), resulted in the film's signature Simian Flu being used in said game, effectively making it into sort of a licensed game. And since Plague Inc is considered a good game already...
  • Outgrow The Trope: Never brought up but so far it seems like cats and dogs were wiped out by Simian Flu much like in the original series.
  • Signature Scene:
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: There are no moral superiors when it comes to avoiding war, everybody involved has to make peace work.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • The film packs truly incredible special effects. With that being said, a digital grizzly bear at the beginning of the film looks quite bad.
    • Koba's tank attack against the human compound from Koba's perspective looks awful.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Several people noticed the very strong Shakespearean tragedy with several critics labeling it as a science fiction adaptation of Julius Caesar.
  • Strawman Has a Point: Once the humans regain electricity, reconnect with other human outposts, and begin rebuilding their society, how long does Caesar think the humans would allow a civilization of intelligent apes to survive? Even if it takes a century, conflict between apes and humans seems inevitable. It was probably better for the apes to strike first while they have the advantage.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Carver's death.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: It's very easy to miss Rocket's existence in this film given how hard he got Demoted to Extra after he was basically Caesar's Number Two in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Thankfully, he returns to having some of the spotlight in War for the Planet of the Apes.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Aside from the above, the rest of the film's effects are absolutely fantastic, with the apes being that much more lifelike than the original film.
    • If you didn't think the Koba-POV tank shot looked awful, then you thought it looked awesome.
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