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Man v Ape! 5 unforgettable showdowns from the Planet of the Apes saga

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Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes have laid the groundwork for an epic war; in War for the Planet of the Apes, we are finally going to get it. 

Nothing can beat an exhilarating movie showdown, a final epic battle and when hero and villain ultimately come face to face. When head ape Caesar and his troops meet the merciless leader of the human resistance, it is guaranteed to be feisty. In the trailer, Woody Harrelson’s rugged military commander, named only 'The Colonel', knows the stakes and is willing to go to extreme lengths, saying "this is our last stand".

This could be the most explosive fight the Planet of The Apes series has ever seen. To get us prepared for the onslaught let’s take a look back at the most memorable showdowns the series has seen so far…. 

5. Freed apes vs. humans (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)

The blockbusting 2011 reboot charts the emergence of Caesar (Andy Serkis) from medical experiment to intelligent ape, and it isn’t long before he recognises that his species aren’t considered equal.

Torn between paternal bonds for those who raised him and his desire for freedom, he sets about giving his fellow caged friends the same chemical that made him intelligent, and heads to find sanctuary. However the journey just so happens to involve crossing the city of San Francisco and in this showdown, the humans have something to say about it.


4. Caesar vs. man (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes)

Back to the original saga now, and 1972's Conquest. Interestingly the story of Conquest shares similar elements of plot with the aforementioned Rise: it depicts a future society where humans are using apes as slaves. Caesar secretly teaches other apes to fight in captivity so that they can overthrow their human oppressors. As you can imagine this sows the seeds for a final battle of freedom between man and ape and a dangerous moral choice for Caesar.


3. Taylor vs truth (Planet of the Apes)

We could have concentrated on the clash between stranded astronaut Taylor (Charlton Heston) and the dogmatic Dr Zaius, but the greatest showdown, and still one of the most shocking endings in Hollywood history, is the finale when the truth is confronted. As Taylor rides off into the forbidden zone he uncovers the crumbling Statue of Liberty and realises, he has been on Earth all along.


2. Caesar vs. Governor Kolp (Battle for the Planet of the Apes)

In the post-nuclear, apocalyptic world that these intelligent apes inhabit, derelict human building hide deadly secrets. Caesar is dispatched to one such place in the hope that he can uncover the history of behind their species. Once inside he discovers something much more unexpected; a race of surviving humans, mutated from radiation.

When he is discovered the human leader and owner of a great sci-fi name, Governor Kolp, judges it sabotage. He rounds his remaining troops and weapons and heads towards the ape camp in search for revenge resulting in a sweeping battle.


1. Caesar vs. Koba (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)

It’s fair to say Koba (Toby Kebbell) isn’t as forgiving to humans as Caesar. The two first clash when Koba accuses their leader’s loyalties, suggesting he loves man over his kind. Koba’s distrust boils over into mutiny as he sabotages the ape colony, setting it alight and shooting Caesar.

This ends with a violent confrontation at the film's climax, with Andy Serkis’ ape seeking revenge for his betrayal. The resulting fight, the first time we have really seen ape vs. ape, takes place atop a tower and has deadly consequences. This also means it’s the first time their sacred rule of ‘Ape not kill ape’ is broken, setting in motion the events of this summer's War.

War for the Planet of the Apes is released on 14th July.

Tom Nightingale is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.