‘Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Movie Recap: Was Noa Able To Save His Clan?

Time and time again, leading figures have shaped the course of human history through their actions and ideas and left behind a legacy to build the foundation of the future. More often than not, their legacies have been distorted by detractors who sought to serve their own selfish needs, misguiding people in the process. Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes focuses on this recurrent trait of human history, and viewers are treated to a reflection of the past through an engaging narrative involving simian characters. 

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As the fourth installment of the rebooted Planet of the Apes series, the 2024 film proves itself to be a worthy successor to Caesar’s saga by capturing the core essence of human-ape dynamics, which is made intriguing thanks to the subverted power equation. Additionally, moving away from conventional and expected narrative progression, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes decides to take risks and also benefits from layered characterization, which once again is a rarity as per the franchise’s conventions.

Spoilers Ahead

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Why did Noa embark on her cross-country journey?

After a prologue which details the chain of events initiated by the Simian Flu which led to the downfall and devolvement of humankind and the ascension of intelligent apes to being the dominant species of the planet, the movie opens right where War of the Planet of the Apes ended – with a sombre scene of Caesar’s funeral. Maurice, Rocket, and the rest of the great apes bid their dear friend, the savior of apekind, Caesar, a final farewell, and the flames of the funeral pyre shed light on a large emblem carved on a rock behind them. The emblem signifies the Order of Caesar, founded by Caesar’s closest associates to honor his teachings and educate the apes of upcoming generations about the tolerance, mercy, and benevolence of their great leader. 

Several generations later, viewers are introduced to a brave new world where surviving humans are living in a primitive, feral state, allowing nature to heal in the process, and apes have formed their own culture and civilization, living in a harmonious relationship with nature, unlike the civilized humankind of the past. It has been so long since Caesar’s demise that apes have forgotten that humans were once the dominant species of the planet—and call the surviving primitives ‘Echo’. Our focus shifts to the Eagle Clan as Noa, a young chimpanzee member, prepares to participate in the coming-of-age ceremony of the clan by climbing the mountains to collect eagle eggs. Each elder member of the ape clan befriends an eagle, whom they rear up in a hatchling state, and gets their help in navigation and hunting. After Noa, his beloved Soona, and their friend Anaya successfully collect the eggs, on their way home, they observe a suspicious human presence near their horses, and Noa’s blanket is found to be carrying the blood of a human. 

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As the trio return to their clan, Noa reunites with his mother Dar and father, Koro, who serves the role of the clan’s Master of Birds. Upon learning that Noa came across a human, Koro sends one of the clan’s generals, Oda, to scare intruders away since the apes are quite wary of humans. That night, Noa gets his eagle egg broken by a trespassing human, and with the ceremony scheduled for the next day, Noa has no choice but to venture into the jungle at night to find another egg before sunrise. However, he gets the shock of his lifetime as he finds Oda fatally injured, and the responsible clan of rogue ape soldiers, who pleads allegiance to a certain Proximus Caesar to be their leader, is looking for Oda’s clan and the trespassing human as well. A scared Noa hides, but as his horse gets detected by the rogue clan soldiers, they follow it to reach the Eagle Clan. Anticipating the worst, Noa rushes back to his home, only to find the entire settlement burning, and clan members being tortured and rounded up by the rogue soldiers, who commit the atrocities in the name of Caesar. Horrified, Noa goes to save his father, but Proximus’ general, a gorilla named Sylva, kills Koro and throws Noa from the burning tower. Upon waking up, Caesar finds his entire clan being taken away by Proximus’ soldiers, and his father meets a tragic end at the hands of the invading soldiers. A devastated Noa buries his father and swears upon his grave that he will bring the clan back to their home. Thus begins his cross-country journey to bring the Eagle Clan back to their settlement. 


How Did Noa Meet Raka and Mae?

As Noa follows the hoofmarks of the rogue soldiers’ horses and ventures further into the wilderness, he realizes that he is occasionally being tailed by the trespassing human. Noa accidentally falls through a trap while moving through the dilapidated remains of an airport, where he meets Raka, an intelligent orangutan, who initially mistakes him for being a member of the rogue soldiers. Upon learning that Noa has lost everything in the attack of Proximus’ army, Raka releases him and shares that he has recently lost someone close to him at the hands of the soldiers as well. Raka further shares his disgust at the soldiers who were maligning the name of Caesar, the first great leader of the apes, by using his name to kill other apes. It is revealed that Raka is an ardent believer in Caesar’s teachings. He is also the last surviving member of the Order of Caesar.

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Raka shows various books he has been guarding through the years, mentioning that the first generation of great apes could read them, but in time, apes became content with their peaceful lives and forgot to read or pass on the knowledge through generations. The laws and rules that apes now follow were created by their leaders and are not the true teachings of Caesar. Noa is also greatly surprised to learn that Caesar was reared by humans, and in his life, apes and humans lived in harmony. As Raka learns from Noa that he has seen a human who has been following him for quite a while now, he gets excited to meet the person. His inquisitive, generous nature is highlighted by the way he speaks highly of the humans of the past, and he believes that if Caesar trusted them, there must be a reason to do so. Raka decides to assist Noa in his journey as well, solely in the hopes of seeing this elusive human. 

Finally, the trespasser, a teenage girl whose name we later know to be Mae, catches up to the duo, and despite Noa’s initial unwillingness, Raka asks him to provide her with food and warm clothes. Raka decides to name her Nova, after the mute girl whom Caesar and Maurice had rescued and brought to Oasis all those years ago. Noa disgruntledly agrees to allow Mae to accompany them on their journey. Eventually, the trio comes across a pack of primitive humans, and while Noa and Raka are greatly surprised, Mae is moved to tears at the sight of their current plight. Noa bids Raka and Mae farewell as he asks Raka to let Mae join the human tribe, whom Raka can observe and learn from as well. However, Sylva and Proximus’ army attacks the humans and notices Mae, their initial target, to be present there as well. Noa and Raka rescue Mae just in the nick of time and thwart Sylva and his soldiers’ effort to capture her. At this moment, Mae reveals her name and the fact that she can speak, greatly surprising Noa and Raka. She states she kept her ability to speak secret out of initial mistrust. Mae reveals that she is trying to reach her people, who remain in the same coastal region where Proximus has kept Noa’s clan in captivity. The reason she was following Noa for so long was to get his assistance in reaching her home. 

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What is Proximus’ intention with the silo?

The trio resumes their journey to the coastal region but eventually gets flanked on a river bridge by Sylva and his apes. Raka drowns in the torrential waters while saving Mae’s life, while Noa and Mae get captured by the rogue soldiers. Eventually, they are brought to the Coastal Clan of Apes, and Noa is reunited with Soona and Dar. The Coastal clan is ruled with an iron fist by Proximus Caesar, the charismatic, brutal dictator who forces his subjects into enslavement and servitude through fear. Proximus twists Caesar’s teachings to suit his own purpose, which Noa realizes through his lessons from Raka. Mae, on the other hand, meets Trevathan, a middle-aged man who can speak as well and is kept by Proximus to read books on various subjects, especially human history, to the ape leader. Trevathan turns out to be an opportunist who is content with the life he has and asks Mae to do the same as well. However, Mae has her own goals, as later revealed by Proximus. On a regular basis, Proximus forces his apes to bring down the gate of a silo built by humans right on the edge of the seashore, but they fail to do so. Anaya is revealed to be serving as Proximus’ servant and has been greatly terrified by his experiences within the brief span of time he has spent there.

Proximus, who has learned about Noa from his generals and captives, invites him into his quarters and reveals to him that, contrary to whatever she has told Noa, Mae was part of a research team that was trying to reach the silo to get to the tech and weapons stored there. While the rest of her team was killed by Proximus’ apes, Mae survived and has used Noa’s help to get to the silo. Proximus wishes to gain access to the stored technology and weapons for himself, as he wishes to build a kingdom of the apes, like the legendary conquerors of human history. Additionally, in a private conversation with Noa, he asks him not to put his trust in human beings for his own good. Disillusioned by a sense of betrayal, Noa ponders his course of action, but eventually strengthens his resolve by realizing Proximus’ violent ways and wrongs are detrimental for not only humankind but for the apes as well. His realization is rooted in Caesar’s teaching, which Raka had revealed to him. In this moment, his father, Koro’s Sun Eagle, perches on his wrist, symbolically signifying that Noa’s wisdom has guided him to the right path and he is fit to lead his clan. 

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Was Noa able to save his clan?

Noa goes to meet Mae, and despite having his trust broken by her, he wishes to help her only if she shares the truth of the silo with him. Mae shares that the silo contains a book that can allow humans to speak once again, which she needs to gather. Noa is determined to not let the silo be accessed by Proximus and plans to destroy it by flooding the ocean dam guarding the silo. Noa requests the assistance of his friends, Soona and Anaya, to complete the objective, and while Anaya’s fear of repercussions prevents him from joining Noa, he eventually gets over it and decides to assist them.

Before venturing into the silo, Mae, Noa, Soona, and Anaya plant explosives across the dam, and Trevathan comes across them. Fully believing that Mae’s pursuit to bring humanity back to their past state is futile, Trevathan warns them of the repercussions and heads back to his chambers, where Mae captures and kills him. Her actions seem disturbing to the apes (fascinating how well the subversion worked), but they nevertheless proceed with the plan. Mae guides the apes to the highest point of a cliff, from where the group gains access to a secret entrance to the silo. Mae ventures inside and obtains the ‘thing’ she came for, a Satcom key, while Noa and his friends get amazed at the relics of human civilization. However, Noa’s realization about humans expands in a new direction as the apes come across a picture book, which vividly shows one of the ways humans subjugated the animals, especially apes, through captivity in zoos. 

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However, just as the group decides to open the silo from within, Proximus is revealed to be waiting outside with his soldiers to welcome them. Proximus berates Noa for putting his trust in a human and brings the entire Eagle Clan into the silo as he threatens Noa with Soona’s life. Mae is revealed to have brought a gun from the silo’s armory, which she uses to shoot Proximus’ general, who was almost going to kill Soona. Witnessing the destructive power of a gun, Proximus is greatly amazed and agrees to let Mae leave if she tells him whether the silo contains more of such weapons. Mae makes a desperate attempt to stop Proximus, and by fleeing outside, she triggers the explosive around the ocean dam, flooding the silo in the process. Noa, Anaya, and Soona guide the Eagle Clan to perch higher and get to safety through the secret entrance of the silo. Sylva, the gorilla, chases Noa but eventually drowns after getting stuck in a narrow space. 

As Noa and his clan reach the safety of the cliff area outside the secret entrance, Proximus is revealed to be still alive, and infuriated by Noa’s action, which destroyed his plans of domination, he unleashes a brutal assault on Noa. However, Noa manages to inspire his clan by singing to the eagles, and as they join him, the hovering clan eagles are summoned, who attack Proximus, toppling him from the edge of the cliff to his death. 

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Noa is finally able to take his clan back to their settlement, and as they rebuild their home, Mae pays him a visit to say her farewell to Noa. Still distrustful of the apes, Mae hides a gun just in case things go awry. Noa expresses his disappointment, stating that Proximus was right about not trusting humans. Mae is of the opinion that humans deserve to be in their former, ‘rightful’ place, and Noa wonders whether that means keeping apes in subjugation. He is conflicted about Caesar’s teachings, as he questions whether coexistence between humans and apes is indeed possible, and he gives Raka’s Order of Caesar amulet to Mae as a token of peace and remembrance.

As Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes ends, Mae returns to a human bunker settlement where a number of human survivors (unaffected by the virus) reside, and hands them over the Satcom key, which they use to communicate with other human survivors spread across the globe. Noa takes Soona to the observatory he came across during his journey to the coastal area, and as she looks through a telescope to see the celestial bodies in amazement, Noa gazes upon the sky in a concerned way, probably anticipating something troubling for the upcoming future.

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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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