*** out of 5
The first sequel in the classic Planet of the Apes series does a good job of continuing the tale, while making it interesting with new elements and characters, and a grim view of a post-apocalyptic, now-subterranean New York City, and a mutated cult that worships a doomsday device left over from the nuclear war that lay waste to the city.(Who knew the Manhattan project was such a literal name!)
James Franciscus take the lead in this one, with Charleton Heston's character bookending the film by way of tying it to the first film better and also as a practical matter of box office/ marquee star power.
Many viewers and critics at the time disliked the dark ending, but really, there is no more fitting way it could have ended. Of course, it does make it difficult for the writers who had to keep the series going afterwards, but as history shows, they found a way to create many more sequels, as well as a tv series and two reboots.