King Kong is a giant gorilla-like monster that first appeared in the 1933 film, King Kong.
One of the most well-known monsters in all of cinema, Kong made his debut in the 1933 film bearing his name. Though he has been reimagined many times in many different films, Kong is always depicted as a gigantic gorilla-like ape residing on a remote island hidden from civilization and inhabited by other bizarre creatures. Typically, Kong is worshiped as a god by the natives living on the island, who often sacrifice women to him, whom he accepts as his "brides." In the original film and its two remakes, Kong is taken away from his island by an expedition team from the United States and brought back to New York, where he escapes and goes on a violent rampage before climbing a skyscraper and being gunned down by military aircraft and falling to his death. The original King Kong was remade in 1976 by Dino De Laurentiis and Paramount Pictures, and Universal Pictures released their own remake in 2005, directed by Peter Jackson. In 2017, Kong became part of Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros.' MonsterVerse after appearing in the film Kong: Skull Island.
In all of his appearances, Kong mostly resembles a giant silverback gorilla, with either light black or brown fur. Kong varies between knuckle-walking like a real gorilla and walking upright like a human, sometimes utilizing both forms of locomotion in the same film. In the 2005 film, Kong's entire body is covered in battle scars, in order to give him the appearance of being both old and battle-hardened.
In all of his appearances, Kong is portrayed as a tragic and sympathetic monster. Kong lives a very solitary and difficult existence, constantly being attacked by the vicious giant creatures that live on his island. Kong rarely attacks unless provoked, and is capable of causing mass destruction due to his size and strength, which causes human beings to fear and attack him. Kong has a soft spot for human women, and will do anything to protect a woman that he likes, whether it be battling against another monster or military forces. As a result of his experience in fighting other creatures, Kong displays a degree of strategy in his battles, and rarely ends a fight without making sure that his opponent is either dead or incapacitated.
Kong demonstrates at least semi-sapience in all of his film appearances. He frequently utilizes environmental objects while fighting, and learns over the course of a battle. In the 2005 film, Kong repeated the sign for "beautiful" to Ann Darrow, who had shown it to him earlier, showing just how intelligent he is.
In Kong: Skull Island, Kong demonstrates a degree of altruism, rescuing a Sker Buffalo that is pinned underneath a downed helicopter, and later rescuing Mason Weaver during his battle with the Skull Devil. The film's official tie-in comic, Skull Island: The Birth of Kong, establishes that Kong actively fights to protect life on the island, as he intervenes on several occasions to defend humans from attacking creatures like Death Jackals, Sirenjaws, and Mother Longlegs. While Kong will kill humans if they are actively attacking him or causing harm to life on the island, he is never aggressive towards innocents or non-hostile individuals. Confident in his noble intentions, Monarch entrusts Kong to defend Skull Island and keep its M.U.T.O. ecosystem in check.
In the original 1933 film, the 1976 remake and the 2005 remake, Kong is among the last living members of a giant species of ape that lives on the mysterious Skull Island, which is inhabited by other giant creatures as well as a tribe of natives that worship him as a god. Supplementary materials for the 2005 film reveal that incarnation of Kong to be the last surviving member of a species called Megaprimatus kong, and that his kind are likely descended from Gigantopithecus, the largest known primate to have ever lived and a close relative of modern orangutans, rather than gorillas.
The 1933 Kong's backstory is elaborated upon in the 2005 prequel novel Kong: King of Skull Island. According to this novel, Kong is the last surviving member of a species of huge apes known as kongs that once were numerous on Skull Island. While he was still an adolescent, Kong and his parents were attacked by a pack of dinosaurs called Deathrunners and their huge matriarch Gaw. Kong's mother and father were both brutally killed in the attack, but Kong survived and grew up with an intense hatred for Gaw and all the meat-eating dinosaurs on the island. Eventually, Kong took his revenge by killing Gaw, establishing himself as the undisputed king of Skull Island and the god worshiped by the natives.
The backstory for the 2005 Kong has been given off-screen by people involved in the making of the film. In an interview with the BBC, director Peter Jackson states that Kong never knew his parents because they were "probably killed by dinosaurs" when he was still young and that he had siblings which were also deceased. In Cinefex #104, Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop explained of the giant gorilla bones in Kong's lair by stating "We decided to give Kong a graveyard of his ancestors. [...] Gorillas do mourn their dead, and this was where Kong mourned the loss of the only thing that he had social interaction with — it could be his father or mother." The Making of King Kong: The Official Guide to the Motion Picture states that the skull seen among the gorilla remains was Kong's father.
In Kong: Skull Island, Kong is established as the last living member of his species, and still a growing adolescent. Kong's family was wiped out fending off malevolent creatures called Skullcrawlers that threatened all other life on the island. A painting inside the Iwis' temple to Kong depicts what appears to be Kong kneeling in front of the carcasses of his parents, suggesting that he witnessed their deaths. Kong's birth is shown in detail in the official tie-in comic Skull Island: The Birth of Kong. Kong's parents were the last two members of their kind on Skull Island, and when his mother went into labor with him, they were attacked by a pack of giant Skullcrawlers. Kong's father fought the beasts off while his mate delivered their son, and hid the infant away inside a nearby cave. Kong's parents were both subsequently slaughtered by the Skullcrawlers in front of him, and died lying next to each other. The infant Kong knelt in front of their corpses and wept for the parents he never knew, and from that day on used his rage to protect the other creatures of the island from malevolent monsters like the Skullcrawlers.
In all of his film appearances, King Kong displays immense super strength. Kong is able to fight with various giant creatures, such as dinosaurs, giant snakes or Skullcrawlers, 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. In Kong: Skull Island, Kong is even more resilient, and shows complete resistance to any and all gunfire. Kong even withstands being lit on fire after swimming through a lake filled with napalm, although it weakens him and causes him to pass out.
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.