Yes, there are many theories and some supported in one way or another about the meaning of the film. But, in truth, it is just a very cleverly executed movie.
So, let’s just get down to it because, as interesting as it can be to delve into the theoretical meaning/s, it really just comes to down to a simple science fiction narrative.
The apes are exposed to the Monolith and learn the power of weapons.
Modern day humans and the HAL 9000 are exposed to the Monolith.
HAL develops emotional intelligence, becomes self-aware, and weaponizes its surroundings to preserve its own security — just like the apes.
Dave destroys HAL and ascends to the Monolith’s next level of consciousness.
One could argue that the Monolith is just another alien indoctrination tool that educates, inspires, or re-writes whatever is susceptible. Simple.
What could HAL have become if it hadn’t been those blasted, meddling humans?
Once could argue that the rebirth we witness was not intended for Dave…
…but, instead, was actually intended for HAL.