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It wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.
~ Carl Denham about Kong's downfall.

King Kong is the titular anti-heroic protagonist villain of the King Kong franchise. He is particularly a legendary giant gorilla who dwells on Skull Island, a tropical remote island inhabited by bizarre creatures and is known to be the last of his species, leaving him as the only animal on the island. Kong's enemies are often creatures such as dinosaurs that live on Skull Island and the United States Armed Forces, although neither are actual villains since the Skull Island beasts only attack because they are just wild animals who hunt for food and the Army with the Airforce were only attacking Kong out of fear of his rampage. Kong is also worshiped as a god by natives living on the island, who often sacrifice women to him, whom he accepts as his "brides." 

Biography

King Kong (1933)

King Kong was first discovered on Skull Island by an American film crew led by Carl Denham. The natives on the island kidnapped Ann Darrow, the crew's leading lady, and sacrificed her to Kong, who carried Ann off into the jungles of the island. At one point, Kong left Ann on a tree and wandered off to deal with the rest of the film crew, who were pursuing him.

As the crew attempted to cross a chasm on a crude log bridge, Kong lifted the log and twisted it, causing much of the crew to fall to their deaths in the abyss below. Jack Driscoll survived, and crossed the chasm to rescue Ann. Meanwhile, a Tyrannosaurus rex discovered Ann on the tree and attempted to eat her. Kong arrived and battled the T-Rex, and killed it by breaking its jaw. Kong took Ann to his home in a cave on a mountain, where he was attacked by a giant cave serpent. Jack reached the cave and reunited with Ann, and the two managed to escape from Kong while he was distracted by a Pteranodon. Enraged, Kong followed the two to the native's village, tearing down the wall and wreaking havoc. Using a store of smoke bombs he brought on the voyage, Carl and his crew managed to knock Kong unconscious and subdue him.

Denham brought Kong back to New York on board the crew's ship, the Venture, intending to profit from showing Kong to the public. Denham arranged a show at a theater in New York, where he publicly showed the captured Kong to an audience, accompanied by Jack and Ann. When photographers began taking pictures of Ann, Kong believed they were attacking her and broke free from his chains, destroying the theater in a fit of rage. Ann, Jack, and Denham escaped unharmed, but Kong broke free from the theater into the streets, where he overturned cars, stomped on fleeing citizens, and destroyed a train.  

Kong began to scale buildings looking for Ann. He eventually found her in a hotel room that she fled to, and abducted her again. Finding himself pursued and attacked by police, Kong climbed the Empire State Building to escape. The military sent a fleet of biplanes armed with machine guns to stop Kong and save Ann. Atop the Empire State Building, Kong swatted down and destroyed several of the planes, but was mortally wounded by machine gun fire. Kong set Ann down gently and fell off the building to his death, plummeting into the streets below. As crowds gathered around Kong's dead body, a bystander remarked that the airplanes finally got Kong, to which Denham replied that "It was beauty killed the beast." 

King Kong (1976)

King Kong was discovered on a mysterious fog-blanketed island in the Indian Ocean by an expedition from the Petrox Oil Company. The head of the expedition, Fred Wilson, believed that the previously-uncharted island contained valuable oil reserves, but instead the expedition found that the island was inhabited by a tribe of natives who lived in a village protected by a giant wall, which separated them from a fearsome god they called "Kong." The natives kidnapped Dwan, a castaway that had been picked up by the expedition team's ship, and attempted to sacrifice her to Kong. Kong emerged from the jungle and grabbed Dwan, then immediately carried her back off to the jungle. Kong took Dwan to a waterfall and washed her underneath it, then blew on her to dry her. Dwan was surprised at how gentle Kong actually was, and began to no longer fear him.

Meanwhile, Jack Prescott, a primate paleontologist who had stowed away onto the expedition's ship earlier, joined with several members of the crew to look for Kong. En route, they reached a giant fallen log that acted as a bridge over a deep chasm. Kong spotted the men as they crossed the log bridge and grabbed the bridge, twisting it until all of the men except Prescott and another named Boan fell to their deaths. Prescott decided to continue pursuing Kong on his own, and headed deeper into the jungle. Kong took Dwan to his lair and prepared to undress her, but found himself attacked by a gigantic snake. Kong set Dwan down and battled the snake, just as Prescott caught up and found Dwan.

The two escaped and headed back to the village, while Kong tore the snake's jaws apart and killed it. Kong followed Dwan and Prescott back to the village and broke through the wall. However, Wilson and the crew had sprung a trap, which Kong fell into. Kong was then smothered with chloroform and knocked unconscious. With no oil to bring back to New York after the oil deposits on the island were found to be worthless, Wilson decided to bring Kong back instead and use him as a publicity stunt. Kong was loaded into the cargo bay of the ship and fed with tons and tons of fruit. When Kong began to go berserk and smash against the wall of the cargo bay, Dwan fell into it, only for Kong to catch her. Dwan's presence calmed Kong, and he set her down then fell asleep for the remainder of the voyage.

When the expedition returned to New York, Wilson arranged a grand exposition for Kong to promote his company. He imprisoned Kong in a giant metal cage, and placed a giant crown on his head. When Kong was mobbed by hordes of media reporters taking pictures, he became enraged and tore through the metal bars restraining him. Wilson tried to run away but was stepped on and killed by Kong. Kong rampaged through the city, destroying cars, stomping on fleeing citizens, and even destroying a train. Prescott and Dwan escaped over the Queensboro Bridge, expecting that Kong would not be able to swim across the East River. However, Kong merely waded across the river in pursuit of Dwan.

Kong found Dwan in an abandoned bar and carried her off. Kong noticed the World Trade Center in the distance, and it reminded him of his lair back on his island. Kong climbed the South Tower with Dwan, while the military pursued him. When Kong reached the top of the tower, he was attacked by a group of soldiers wielding flamethrowers. Kong jumped across the two towers and landed on the North Tower. Out of options, the military sent helicopters armed with machine guns to take Kong down. Kong set Dwan down and swatted at the helicopters, but was mercilessly blasted by machine gun bullets, causing him to bleed profusely. After destroying two choppers, Kong succumbed to his injuries and fell from the tower, plummeting onto the World Trade Center plaza. As crowds of reporters and spectators gathered around Kong, Dwan approached him and looked at him tearfully just as his heart stopped beating.

King Kong Lives

After being shot off of the World Trade Center, King Kong was not actually killed, but placed into a coma. Kong was taken to the Atlantic Institute and kept alive but comatose for a decade. Dr, Amy Franklin, the surgeon in charge of Kong, found a way to fully revive Kong by giving him an artificial heart. However, Kong had lost so much blood that he required a blood transfusion for the procedure to work. Thankfully, a female member of Kong's species dubbed "Lady Kong" was discovered in Borneo by Hank Mitchell and brought back to the Atlantic Institute to provide blood for Kong. The transplant was a success, and Kong was revived. However, Kong and Lady Kong mated while in captivity at the Institute, and escaped together. The United States army relentlessly pursued both apes, and tracked them down in the wilderness.

Kong fell from a cliff and presumably died in the resulting battle, and Lady Kong was captured and taken to a military base. At the base, it was discovered that Lady Kong was pregnant with Kong's child. Meanwhile, Kong survived the fall and rampaged through the countryside in search of Lady Kong, although his artificial heart was slowly failing. As Lady Kong went into labor, King Kong arrived near the military base and was attacked by the military. Kong was gruesomely wounded in the battle, but managed to destroy the military's forces and kill the insane army colonel who tried to kill him and his mate. Kong entered the base and collapsed in front of Lady Kong, who had just given birth to their son, Baby Kong. Gravely injured and with his heart about to shut down, Kong smiled as he looked at his newborn child before finally dying. Following Kong's death, Lady Kong and Baby Kong were transported back to Borneo to live in peace together.

King Kong (2005)

King Kong, possibly the last living member of a species of gigantic ape called Megaprimatus kong, was living on Skull Island in 1933, when a film crew led by Carl Denham arrived on a ship called the Venture to shoot a film. The natives of the island did not take kindly to the film crew's presence, and attacked them when they set foot on the island, killing two members of the expedition. The crew returned to the Venture and remained on board, debating whether or not to return to the island and continue shooting. At night, the natives pole-vaulted to get onto the Venture and kidnapped Ann Darrow, the leading lady. They brought her back to their village on the island and attempted to sacrifice her to their god, Kong.

Kong soon emerged from the jungle and grabbed the terrified Ann, then took her away into the jungle. The film crew ran onto the island to rescue Ann, and followed Kong into the jungle. Kong took Ann to his lair, where she saw the remains of Kong's previous sacrifices along the way. Ann tried to get free, but to no avail. Ann tried to distract Kong by dancing, which caused Kong to laugh. When Ann became tired and refused to perform anymore, Kong wandered off furiously. Kong then encountered the search party crossing a log bridge spanning a ravine. Kong grabbed the bridge and twisted it, sending the party falling into the chasm below, where most of them were killed by gigantic insects. Jack Driscoll managed to escape from the pit and climb to the other side of the ravine, then continued pursuing Kong.

While Kong was gone, Ann tried to run away but found herself being pursued by a Foetodon, a giant crocodilian-like reptile. Ann ran from it, only to witness the Foetodon being eaten by a Vastatosaurus Rex, the modern descendant of the Tyrannosaurus. The V-Rex then chased Ann and was joined by another member of its kind. Kong arrived just in time and tried to fight the V-Rexes off. A third V-Rex entered the battle and the odds were turned against Kong. Kong killed one of the V-Rexes with a large boulder, but the other two continued relentlessly attacking him and Ann. Eventually, Kong and the two remaining V-Rexes fell over a cliff and into a thick layer of vines. Kong grappled with the V-Rexes, causing one to become entangled and trapped in the vines. Ann and one of the V-Rexes fell from the vines to the ground while Kong finished off the other one by bashing its head repeatedly against a canyon wall, snapping its neck. Kong fought with the final V-Rex once again and this time gained the upper hand. Kong restrained the V-Rex and pried its jaws apart until they snapped, killing it. Ann, grateful for Kong saving her, allowed herself to be taken by Kong back to his mountain lair.

Kong set Ann down in his lair and sat on a ledge overlooking the sunset. Ann approached Kong and tried to communicate with him using sign language. Later that night, Jack arrived in Kong's lair and found Ann, but Kong awoke from his slumber and angrily attacked Jack. Suddenly, they were attacked by a swarm of bat-like creatures called Terapusmordax. As Kong fought the bats off, Jack and Ann began climbing down a vine to escape but Kong noticed and tried to grab them. Ann and Jack jumped from the vine into the water below. Enraged, Kong wandered off from his lair and gave chase. Jack and Ann retreated to the village, where Carl and the remaining members of the expedition were waiting. Kong arrived and broke down the wall. The crew used chloroform bombs to subdue Kong, knocking him unconscious on the shore. Denham decided to bring Kong back to New York and display him as "The Eighth Wonder of the World."

Kong was taken back to New York on board the Venture, and was placed in chrome steel chains and put on display inside a Broadway theater. As the crowds were stunned by Kong and photographers aggressively took pictures of him, Kong became agitated. He broke free from his chains and grabbed the actress pretending to be Ann. Realizing she was a fake, he tossed her aside and tore through the theater, eventually emerging out into the streets of New York. Kong overturned cars and smashed lampposts in rage, searching for Ann. Witnessing the destruction Kong was causing because of her, Ann walked into the open near Kong and allowed him to pick her up again. Kong calmed down and took Ann to Central Park, where he slid on a frozen lake. As Kong began to regain his footing, he was thrown forward when a tank shell blasted the ice.

With the military pursuing him, Kong fled to the Empire State Building and climbed it. After reaching the top of the building, Kong sat and looked out over the sunrise. He looked at Ann and made the sign for "beautiful," showing that he understood and remembered the sign she showed him earlier. The peace was interrupted when a group of biplanes armed with machine guns flew near the building and opened fire on Kong. Kong set Ann down and roared defiantly at the planes. He swatted at them and managed to destroy some of them. Unfortunately for Kong, the gunfire was too much and he began to succumb to his wounds. Kong slumped over the top of the tower and looked at Ann sorrowfully, then dies as he slid off of the building and plummeted to his death into the streets below. As crowds gathered around Kong's colossal corpse, someone remarked that the airplanes got Kong. Carl sorrowfully said that it wasn't the airplanes, as "It was beauty killed the beast."

Kong: The Animated Series

Main article: King Kong (KTAS)

In other media

The LEGO Batman Movie

King Kong was imprisoned in the Phantom Zone along with other notorious villains of the LEGO multiverse. He was one of the villains freed by the Joker as part of his plan to enact revenge on Batman and destroy Gotham City. Kong was defeated when Robin crashed the Batmobile into his face, knocking him unconscious.

Ready Player One

James Halliday, the creator of a popular virtual reality game called the OASIS, devised a series of challenges called Anorak's Quest to determine his successor after his death. In the first challenge, players raced through the streets of a simulated New York City, evading various obstacles. King Kong was the final hazard, leaping off the Empire State Building to attack the racers. Just before the finish line, Kong would crash through the racetrack itself and lurk out of sight, swatting any player who tried to drive over him. It is possible that Halliday programmed Kong to be impassible; the solution that Wade Watts discovered was to drive in reverse at the start of the race, revealing a hidden corridor that ran underneath the racetrack.

Powers & Abilities

In all of his film appearances, King Kong displays immense physical strength. Kong is able to fight toe-to-toe with various giant creatures, such as dinosaurs and giant snakes, and come out on top. Kong exhibits impressive agility, as he can jump over great distances (such as the 250 meters between the World Trade Center's Twin Towers) and land on his feet. Kong also demonstrates durability when he is able to continue fighting against airplanes (helicopters in the 1976 version) and even destroy some of them after being riddled with bullets. In the 1976 film, Kong survives getting shredded by machine gun fire and falling from the top of the South Tower of the World Trade Center before falling into a coma. Kong is also remarkably intelligent. He makes use of environmental objects like trees or rocks when fighting, and even when overwhelmed by more powerful or more numerous opponents he can think on his feet and find a way to win. In the 2005 film, Kong demonstrated the ability to understand and use sign language to Ann. King Kong is an extremely capable melee combatant, using his large arms, powerful muscles, and mighty fists to strike fear in foes such as Gorosaurus.

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