A scene from War for the Planet of the Apes.

The enthralling modern Planet of the Apes trilogy comes to a close with War for the Planet of the Apes, its best chapter yet.

Caesar (played via motion capture by Andy Serkis) is holding his own in the forest with his band of ape soldiers when a crazed colonel (Woody Harrelson) finds him and delivers a painful blow. Caesar finds himself on a revenge quest, with the likes of Rocket (Terry Notary), Maurice (Karin Konoval) and a new character named Bad Ape (a funny Steve Zahn) in tow. It all leads to a man vs. ape showdown for the ages—and the special effects that were great in the first movie are 10 times better in the third.

Fans of the original Apes films will be happy to learn that this movie is a virtual love letter to the series. It even has a mute girl named Nova (Amiah Miller)—the same name as the girl who saw the Statue of Liberty with Charlton Heston in the original.

Matt Reeves, directing his second Ape film, has managed to fill his special-effects-laden adventure with genuine emotion. This is a big-budget blockbuster with heart and soul.

While this concludes the trilogy, it’s a safe bet it won’t be the last for the Apes. If you recall, some astronauts went missing in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and events in this film seem to be leading up to the events of the original movie. We might be getting a new dude in a loin cloth barking at Lady Liberty in our cinematic future.

War for the Planet of the Apes is playing in regular format and 3-D at theaters across the valley.