Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the darker, more violent sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, in which the apes take arms against a post-super-virus group of human survivors. Dawn has a higher body count than Rise (with a couple of particularly upsetting deaths), and the violence is more militant/weapons-based than the first film's animal abuse and torture. There's also a bit more language ("s--t," "a--hole," one "f--king") and drinking, but overall the film's jump-worthy moments and intense action sequences make this a thrilling post-apocalyptic movie for both teens and parents. The opposing takes on peace versus war may even spark interesting conversations about history, politics, and war.
Adults in a monogamous relationship are shown embracing and sleeping next to each other, and an ape couple caresses and hugs.
More weapons-based violence and a higher overall body count in this film than its predecessor, with apes storming an armory and using the guns. Koba in particular becomes bloodthirsty for war with the humans, and he personally kills humans by crushing them, shooting them, and setting them on fire. Humans retaliate with their own guns, killing many apes. A couple of the deaths are particularly upsetting. Unlike the first movie, there's ape-on-ape violence, with Koba shooting, terrorizing, and in one case killing a fellow ape by throwing him off a ledge. Apes who don't agree with his methods are rounded up and imprisoned. A man is willing to die to kill a lot of apes. An early scene that shows apes hunting has a few scary moments, particularly with a huge bear.
More than in the previous film: a few uses of "s--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," and "bulls--t," as well as one "f--king" (as an exclamation, not a reference to sex).
The messages in the movie focus on trust, diplomacy, and peacekeeping. Caesar wants to protect the apes, but he also refuses to see all humans as evil torturers. His human counterpart, Malcolm, similarly understands that the apes want what the remaining humans want: to live with their community without fear or danger. There's also a positive message about fathers protecting their sons and sons learning from and looking out for their fathers.
A few glimpses of old electronics that have been temporarily powered: an Apple iPad, a Canon video camera, and a couple of trucks, as well as a 76 gas station.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Adults drink alcohol, as does an ape.