The Monkey King (2023) Ending Explained – Does the Monkey King become immortal?

The Monkey King Plot Summary

The Monkey King is inspired by a key character from a classic Ming dynasty novel named Journey to the West. The 2023 Netflix animated movie follows the life of a red-furred monkey who is born from a rock. He tries to mingle with the other monkeys but they label him an outsider. He trains himself to fight and tries to defeat the demon terrorising the monkeys, in order to be accepted.

Ultimately, he steals a magical Stick from the underwater Dragon King and that’s what enables him to get rid of the demon. Now calling himself Monkey King, he goes on a quest to join the Immortal Ones. But nothing happens even when he defeats 100 demons. A girl named Lin asks to be his assistant and help him on his quest.

Together, they go to hell and fight Yama to remove Monkey King’s death from his scroll — granting him half immortality. They steal a Book of Everlasting Life which directs them to an enchanted peach orchard where a magical peach will make Monkey King immortal.

What is Lin’s secret?

After the escapades in hell, we see Lin contact Dragon King and realise that she is working for him in exchange for him saving her village from drought. Dragon King sets up a fake peach orchard and poisons one of the trees with fruits that will knock Monkey King out. The plan is for Lin to steal Stick once he’s knocked out.

Lin gets Monkey King to the orchard but the plan goes wrong when Dragon King also ends up eating the poisoned fruit. In his drunken state from the poison, Monkey King calls Lin and Stick his family.

Does Monkey King become immortal?

After finding information on it in the Book of Everlasting Life, Monkey King and Lin go to the workshop of Wangmu, one of the Immortal Ones. They use her recipe and make an elixir of immortality but she catches them at it. While Monkey King is engaged in a fight with Wangmu, Lin tries to steal Stick and leave. But her conscience gets the better of her and she returns. Thanks to Lin, Monkey King drinks the elixir and becomes immortal.

What happens to the Dragon King?

Intoxicated by his newfound power, Monkey King is about to challenge all the Immortal Ones when Lin manages to distract him and bring him down to Earth. She tells him to use his power to help people but he refuses. He tells her to not wait for the things she wants but to take them. Lin takes this to heart, tricks Monkey King and gives Stick to Dragon King.

But just as Monkey King is fuming over her betrayal, they realise that Dragon King doesn’t mean to save anyone. He means to drown the whole world. Armed with Stick, Dragon King begins to take over the world and the sea level rises. Lin persuades the nearby villagers to run uphill and soon enough, Monkey King turns up, ready for a fight.

Lin then draws the Dragon King’s attention and agrees to tell him the monkey’s weakness in exchange for saving her village. The Dragon King agrees and Lin reveals that his weakness is lightning. This is a trick since she had seen Wangmu attack Monkey King with lightning and it only made him stronger.

The dragon shoots Monkey King with a bolt of lightning. The bolt sends Monkey King under the water but he grows in size as he does and even manages to get his hands on Stick again. Together, Monkey and Stick fight off Dragon King until he becomes a tiny lizard and runs away.

Does Monkey King learn to use his power for good?

But while Lin rejoices, Monkey King uses his powers to draw out the Immortal Ones including Wangmu, Yama and the Jade Emperor. He defeats all of them. His eyes glow red and he proclaims his power over the whole world. Lin despairs but tries to convince him to be better.

At that moment, light breaks through from the clouds and Buddha himself turns up. She insists that Monkey King has good inside of him. Buddha encourages her to show him the right path and lifts Lin into the air, where she is surrounded by his light. Speaking from Buddha’s essence, Lin gives Monkey King a new challenge. He must jump off Buddha’s palm. If he can’t, he must spend his time on Earth doing penance.

He accepts the challenge with his usual arrogance and jumps off Buddha’s palm, all the way to the end of the universe. He marks the spot with an X using Stick and then returns. But when he does, Buddha shows him the X mark on his finger — Monkey King never left the palm at all. He realises he’s been tricked by Lin. Buddha places him inside a rock and instructs him to meditate, reflect on himself and find his true path.

What happens to Lin?

Before leaving, Buddha tells Lin that Monkey King’s scroll is still to be written and that the world will need him.

Later, we see that Lin’s village is flourishing. She runs off to speak to Monkey King through a small gap in the rocks. She has faith in him and believes both of them did eventually make a difference. She’s still his number-one fan. She returns Stick and they bid each other goodbye before the rock closes up.

How does The Monkey King end?

Five hundred years later, the gap in the rock opens up again and people approach Monkey King. They ask if he’s ready for a journey to the West to defeat demons who are running wild.

Monkey King, sitting in a meditative pose, says he has awoken with peace in his heart and asks if they are asking him to fight. Before they can adequately respond, he breaks out of the pose and takes on his earlier demeanour. Of course, he’s ready for another fight!

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