This Pure Evil was Headlined on April 2022.
|“||We'll destroy them while they're weak.||„|
|~ Koba on his proposal to the kill the humans.|
|“||Caesar gone... Apes follow Koba now!||„|
|~ Koba's most famous quote, right after brutally murdering Ash for expressing loyalty to Caesar.|
Koba is the main antagonist of the Planet of the Apes reboot franchise, serving as a major character in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the novel Dawn of the Planet of Apes: Firestorm, the main antagonist of the second installment Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the posthumous overarching antagonist of the third and final installment War for the Planet of the Apes.
He was an abused experiment and intellectually enhanced bonobo who first appeared in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. As a follower of Caesar, he helped him in freeing his ape kind. Ten years passed as the same virus that increased his intellect also killed most of the human population, leaving only a fraction alive. This gave Caesar the opportunity to build his clan among the apes; however, Koba's hatred of humans drove him to propose that Caesar exterminate the remaining humans, but Caesar rejected Koba's request. Koba then betrayed him and transformed into a psychopathic misanthrope who is just as cruel and oppressive as the humans he hates, if not more so.
He was portrayed by Christopher Gordon in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Toby Kebbell (who also played Doom in the 2015 Fantastic Four film) in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War of the Planet of the Apes.
What Makes Him Pure Evil?
- He attacked Will when he followed the apes to the woods trying to speak to Caesar. If Caesar hadn't stopped him, he would have killed an innocent human out of hateful vindictiveness. This foreshadows Koba's descend to villainy and war on humans in the sequel. It's worth noting that Will did experiment on Koba. However, the experiment was harmless to Koba and Will was otherwise friendly to him with Will even giving Koba cookies, making this act even worse and showing how petty he is.
- He plays friendly with a couple of humans before gleefully murdering them with a gun. While they did pose a threat and considered killing him earlier, they seemed to genuinely like him later on and one of them showed reluctance to shoot him even after he picked up the gun.
- This moment would prove that Koba does possess a clear moral agency that isn't affected by him being traumatized from his past, as it shows that Koba is fully capable of understanding people and their emotions and using them as a way to drop their guard.
- He murders Carver just to get his lighter, though it's hard to feel much sympathy for Carver due to his excessive hatred against apes, shooting Ash, and threatening to kill Cornelius and Blue Eyes when his shotgun is accidentally discovered. However, it should be noted Carver mostly acted the way he did out of fear, while Koba did what he did mostly out of sadism, hatred and power lust, making Carver's death somewhat undeserving.
- He betrays Caesar, the king of the apes, because he saw him as unfit to lead and only as a brother to humans, not apes.
- This would make his tragic past null and void as Caesar is the one who freed him from the abuse he suffered.
- He shoots and nearly kills Caesar, while burning the ape colony and blaming it all on the humans to further manipulate the apes into waging war against them. This further nullifies his excuse.
- He murders Ash just because he refused to murder unarmed humans because it wasn't what Caesar would want. This is arguably Koba's most evil act since his reason for killing Ash was rather petty, and because Ash was a young ape, the son of one of his former friends, Rocket, and Koba's honorary nephew. To add further insult, if one looks closely right when he looks down at Ash's dead body before telling the apes that the apes follow him now, he is seen sadistically smiling about it.
- He imprisons any apes who don't follow his rule, even fellow advisors and friends such as Maurice and Rocket.
- Although Koba, when facing Caesar, dropped his gun so they could fight fairly, it wasn't out of respect for his former friend, but rather to show that he could be angry and strong without it.
- When confronted by Caesar over his betrayal and how he'd trusted Koba like a brother, Koba merely replies that Caesar was only a brother to humans, showing no remorse for his actions. He also claims that he fights for apes and freed them, despite his actions proving otherwise.
- When fighting Caesar, he comes across an ape who was trapped under rubble and lifted the rubble only to retrieve the ape's gun, letting it fall back onto the ape and thus leaving him for dead. This is made even worse by the fact that the ape he left to die was Grey, Koba's right-hand ape and one of his closest followers, demonstrating how Koba no longer cared about anything but ultimate power and murdering his enemies.
- In general, this all makes Koba a hypocrite, because he claims that he fights for the apes yet regularly kills them or leaves them to die—even if they were his own followers—without remorse. Also, despite hating humans for caging him in the past, that doesn't stop him from caging other apes just for disagreeing with him. Thus, in truth he fights for himself and uses his delusion as an excuse to hurt others as he pleases.
- After retrieving the gun, Koba begins wildly shooting at Caesar, murdering one of the apes and wounding Maurice in the process.
- When he's about to fall to his death and Caesar has the chance to save him, Koba asks for his life to be spared by reminding him of how Caesar said "ape not kill ape" just moments after Koba himself had killed other apes, further proving his hypocrisy.
- Koba initially possessed redeeming qualities, such as being a good friend and advisor to Caesar and a loyal member of the ape colony, risking his life to stab a bear that was about to kill Caesar and Blue Eyes, saving Rocket from humans in the book Firestorm, and in a deleted scene of Dawn even compassionately hugging Caesar after killing the bear. However, Koba sheds these redeeming qualities throughout the film, attempting to assassinate Caesar while lying to Blue Eyes and the entire ape colony about who killed him, and then getting many apes killed in the war he initiated against humans and imprisoning the apes who opposed him, even Rocket.
- His overall actions provoke the war against the humans, thus forever ruining any chance of peace between the two species. He also serves as a large catalyst for the events of the following film, since McCullough was alerted of the ape colony after Dreyfus contacted them in the wake of Koba's attack.
- This also means that Koba is indirectly responsible for the Alpha Omega's attack on the apes as well as many apes defecting to the humans (including Red and Winter) , leading to the deaths of many apes including Cornelia, Blue Eyes and eventually Caesar himself. Furthermore, Koba's actions continue to haunt Caesar from beyond the grave as he worries he is becoming like Koba by seeking revenge on McCullough for his family's death. This quest for revenge would eventually result in Caesar and the ape colony being captured and tortured by McCullough.
- While it is true that in the past Koba suffered too much at the hands of humans who abused and experimented on him in cruel and painful ways for many years, he is far past his tragedy because the actions he committed were extremely heinous, as he not only ended up murdering many humans (most of which had nothing to do with the abuse he suffered) but ended up betraying his best friend Caesar and the ape colony, as well as killing many apes along the way. In the end, Koba became a vindictive and hateful monster with no redeeming qualities far worse than Steven Jacobs, as well as every other villain/antagonist in the trilogy. Furthermore, what makes his betrayal of Caesar even worse is the fact that Caesar saved him from the Gen-Sys lab where he was experimented on and gave him a caring and providing life for 10 years.
- To summarize it, he abandoned having a good life with Caesar and the apes out of misguided fear and hatred of the humans and to satisfy his own selfish desire for power and revenge, therefore destroying his second chance in life. Also, by extension, he would translate this into also harming his own kind who not only had absolutely nothing to do with his bad experience with humans, but many of who were caged, abused and/or experimented on as well, making his motive selfish and hypocritical in the end. Also, when he decided to kill Ash purely for refusing to execute an innocent and helpless human and later starts savagely shooting at other apes just to kill Caesar, he proves he is beyond redemption and no longer cares about anyone but himself.
- Some fans consider Koba misunderstood and tragic because of his horrible past with humans which caused him great pain and to have PTSD which affected his morality. However, this is completely false as he not only outright kills people, he also plays friendly with them whenever they're isolated to get them to drop their guard before killing them, toying with their emotions in the process, showing he has a full understanding of people. Not only that, he also kills and abuses other apes, despite his delusions, proving that Koba is Pure Evil, despite being originally written to be a three-dimensional and tragic villain.
- Despite being Pure Evil and his sad background being no excuse for his actions, WatchMojo rated Koba rather in a sympathetic light. The site made him its #5 for Top 10 Sympathetic Movie Villains, #8 for Top 10 Characters with Tragic Backstories, and #2 for Top 10 Movie Villains who had Justifiable Motives.
- He is the so far only Planet of the Apes villain to be Pure Evil though more may come.
- There are a few factors to Koba's character that some think may prevent him from being Pure Evil:
- When Koba discovers Dreyfus and his men preparing for battle at the armory and how vast the supply of guns is, he has a visibly terrified expression on his face and concludes that the humans are planning to wipe out the apes, which is a very understandable conclusion considering his past experiences with humans. However, when Koba learns that Caesar is still letting Malcolm's group stay even after Carver attacked his sons, Koba loses his temper and insults Caesar by accusing him of loving humans more than apes, and even his own sons. This, intentionally or not, provokes Caesar into a fight which ends with Koba nearly getting beaten/strangled to death in front of the apes and Malcolm's group. Although Caesar spares and forgives him when he submits and asks for forgiveness, Koba is understandably humiliated and traumatized by the beating, and is even implied to feel betrayed by his fellow apes not trying to help him, as he looks to them for support, only for them to avoid his gaze, which visibly hurts Koba. If Koba did really feel betrayed by his fellow apes not coming to his aid, it would be an understandable and sympathetic perspective as a lot of them actually agreed with him that humans are untrustworthy, and Koba has done a lot for his fellow apes over the years; risking his life for them, helping to build the village e.g. The beating is notably played for sympathy, as somber music plays as Koba lies on the floor, beaten and bleeding. However, he afterwards decides to betray and kill his leader out of personal revenge rather than warn him about the armory, mitigating this factor in the process. Also, while Koba was genuinely afraid that the humans would attack the colony and thus return all the apes, including himself to a life of abuse, he mitigates that factor by being willing risk the lives of his fellow apes, abandon them, or even outright kill them, without mercy or remorse. Not to mention, even though he was upset about being beaten and humiliated by Caesar (which Caesar felt clear remorse for right after the act, though he never apologized) and Caesar could have handled the situation better, it still doesn't justify his actions as Koba technically brought it upon himself and caused more suffering than it was all worth in the end.
- Koba sends the ape women and children to hide in the woods instead of forcing them to fight in the war he initiated. This could be seen as a pet the dog moment, but it was most likely done out of pragmatism rather than genuine kindness, especially since he's shown to be willing to murder children, as seen with Ash (as he was 8 to be exact, when the age of maturity is normally 15-16 for male chimpanzees). Furthermore, as Caesar treated him sending for the females and young as a very urgent matter, it's possible Koba had intentions of impregnating the females to keep his legacy going, or maybe intended to harm or kill Caesar's wife and youngest son so they wouldn't pose a threat to his position as the apes' leader. If this was confirmed, it would make Koba more evil than he originally was.
- During the battle against the humans, Koba cheers with his close follower, Stone, and is visibly shocked and horrified, and then angered when he is killed by a tank (although it later is shown that Stone somehow survived). However, it is not exactly clear whether or not Koba was genuinely saddened by Stone's death, or just shocked and surprised by the suddenness of the explosion that killed him. Even if he was saddened by Stone's death, he mitigates this redeeming factor by allowing his other close follower, Grey, to remain trapped under rubble instead of helping him out.
- To help drive the point of Koba being Pure Evil home, he's infamous on this wiki for the fact that he would have easily been a hate sink if Word of God didn't declare him as a 3-dimensional and tragic character. Other examples of this case include Femto, Starscream (Cyberverse) and Judge Claude Frollo.