Movie Entertainment
About Movie Entertainment Magazine

The Battle of the Kongs


Kong: Skull Island’s title ape takes on his seven predecessors...

Comprising many short-lived incarnations lasting just one or two films each, this series has presented its signature beast with major variations of appearance, temperament, and ability.

Spanning 85 years and eight major films, the Kong franchise has had a varied and unpredictable history. Comprising many short-lived incarnations lasting just one or two films each, this series has presented its signature beast with major variations of appearance, temperament, and ability. While it’s hard to say how all these Kongs would fare if placed together on the same island at the same time, you have to wonder who would emerge victorious. With that in mind, it’s time to go ringside as the giant apes from all eight films engage in hand-to-hand combat for a gruelling tournament known as “The Battle of the Kongs.”


King Kong (1933) vs. The Son of Kong (1933)

As his name would suggest, “Little Kong” — the presumed son of Kong — is significantly smaller than his father. While he proves adept at fighting bears and dinosaurs, he’s way too small to pose any real threat to the King. Arguably the most lovable, good-natured giant ape ever committed to celluloid, Little Kong would probably forfeit the fight or intentionally get stuck in quicksand (his signature weakness) rather than cause harm to a loved one.

Winner – King Kong (1933)

King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) vs. King Kong Escapes (1967)

When it came time to revive the Kong franchise in the ’60s, there was no better film production company for the job than the Godzilla masterminds, Toho. This made for two of the fakest, silliest, most entertaining Kongs of all-time; but the giant ape from King Kong vs. Godzilla is the clear loser in a duel of Toho Co. Kongs. Whether drinking carelessly, clumsily banging his head, or retreating mid-duel, he demonstrates no discernible courage or skill.

Winner – King Kong Escapes (1967)

King Kong (1976) vs. King Kong Lives (1986)

When King Kong got the full-blown epic treatment — alongside Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange — in 1976, he was simultaneously meaner than his predecessors and more preoccupied with his love interest. In spite of his limitations, this Kong would have no trouble defeating his 1986 self, an ape severely weakened by a near-death experience, extensive blood loss, and a computerized heart that could stop working at any moment.

Winner – King Kong (1976)

King Kong (2005) vs. Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Benefiting from decades of innovation in special effects, these computer-generated Kongs dwarf the competition. While the 2005 Kong engages in the most elaborate, impressive battles in franchise history, there’s no denying that he shows signs of age. Visibly past his prime, this character earns extra sympathy points, but he might also be due for a hip replacement or two.

Winner – Kong: Skull Island (2017)


King Kong (1933) vs. King Kong Escapes (1967)

While King Kong Escapes’ title character is a rare case of a movie ape that triumphs over his giant adversaries (including a robot rival, Mechani-Kong) and hostile humans, the permanently dazed expression on his face does not inspire confidence, nor does his easy susceptibility to hypnosis. He may have what it takes to thrive in the wacky world of Toho, but this Kong lacks the wisdom and discipline to prevail against his cinematic forefather.

Winner – King Kong (1933)

King Kong (1976) vs. Kong: Skull Island (2017)

More lothario than warrior, the 1976 Kong demonstrates little fighting ability. Aside from knocking a few humans off a log, mangling a giant snake, and executing one impressive rooftop leap, he never gets especially physical. He also clumsily stumbles into a trap that the more cunning ape of Kong: Skull Island would easily avoid — or at least escape.

Winner – Kong: Skull Island (2017)


King Kong (1933) vs. Kong: Skull Island (2017)

As a film, the original King Kong will never be surpassed, but its title character has some undeniable vulnerabilities in a contest with his computer-generated 2017 equivalent. For one, the latest Kong is significantly larger than his predecessors, making it possible to hold his own against terrifying Skullcrawlers that could easily manhandle all previous Kongs. He’s also immune to the effects of gunmen in flight, the exact threat that brought down the beast in ’33. With all that in mind, the latest Kong emerges as this tournament’s king.

Winner – Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Jonathan Doyle writes about movies for Comedy, CTV, and Space.