The Monkey King Ending, Explained: Does the Monkey King Become Immortal?

Netflix’s ‘The Monkey King’ is an animated action-comedy film directed by Anthony Stacchi. It is based on the classic Chinese fantasy tale ‘Journey to the West’ by Wu Cheng’en. The movie features the voices of Jimmy O. Yang, Bowen Yang, Jo Koy, BD Wong, Jolie Haong-Rappaport, and Stephanie Hsu. It follows the story of the titular trickster – the Monkey King, who embarks on a quest to join the ranks of the Immortal Ones. However, he is soon blinded by his arrogance and meets a young girl named Lin, who holds the potential to guide Monkey King to enlightenment. If you are wondering whether Monkey King succeeds in his misguided quest or steers to the righteous path, here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘The Monkey King.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Monkey King Plot Synopsis

‘The Monkey King’ opens with the titular Monkey, a being of extraordinary skills born out of a rock. The young creature shoots lasers out of its eyes, which annoys the Jade Emperor, who rules over Heaven. An Elderly Monkey looks after the Monkey but quickly becomes displeased with its rebellious nature. However, the Monkey is proud of its unconventional skills and wants to make a name for itself. When the Monkey grows up, its settlement is attacked by the Demon of Havoc. The Monkey fights the Demon but fails miserably. As a result, the Monkey jumps to the bottom of the ocean and retrieves a weapon belonging to the Dragon King – a cosmic staff with supernatural powers. Using the staff, the Monkey defeats the Demon of Havoc and is christened the “Monkey King.”

Monkey King aims to join the Immortal Ones, the powerful Gods who reside in the Jade Palace in Heaven. He is advised to vanquish 100 demons to prove his worth and get the attention of the Immortal Ones. Monkey King defeats 99 demons and is on his way to defeating the 100th one when he arrives at a small, poor village. The villagers urge the Monkey King to defeat the Fire Demon – Red Girl. In the process, Monkey King meets Lin, a young girl who wants to become his assistant. The Monkey King defeats the Red Girl but burns down the village in the process. Nonetheless, the Immortal Ones do not accept Monkey King despite defeating 100 demons. As a result, Monkey King embarks on a quest to attain immortality.

Lin convinces Monkey King to make her his assistant, and she tags along for the trip. Monkey King deduces that he must strike his name out from the Scroll of Life and Death to become immortal. Therefore, Monkey and Lin venture into Hell to complete the task. After facing great threats, Monkey King strikes out his name only to learn he has become only partially immortal. In the process, it is revealed that Lin is actually working for the Dragon King, who wants her to retrieve his staff in exchange for providing rain to Lin’s drought-stricken village. However, Lin soon finds herself drawn to Monkey King despite the latter’s selfish behavior, and the two see each other are friends. Whether Monkey King completes his quest to become immortal or Lin betrays him to save her village forms the rest of the plot.

The Monkey King Ending: Does the Monkey King Become Immortal?

In the film’s final act, Monkey King drinks the elixir of immortality. Lin sees the lonely side of Monkey King and truly wants to be his friend. However, Monkey King refuses when she asks him to help her save her village. As a result, Lin steals the staff by tricking Monkey King and delivers it to the Dragon King. In turn, the Dragon King betrays Lin and wreaks havoc on the entire world. The Dragon King wants to use the staff to destroy the mortal realm that has forever looked down upon his ocean realm. However, Monkey King fights to stop the Dragon King and retrieves the staff. Hurt by Lin’s betrayal, Monkey King proceeds to overthrow all the Gods for not accepting him. Lin tries to stop Monkey King but fails, and he nearly defeats the Immortal Ones.

The carnage summons the Buddha, who tries to stop Monkey King by erasing him. Lin convinces the Buddha that good resides within Monkey King, and he offers her a chance to enlighten her friend. Ultimately, Lin uses Monkey King’s pebble in a palm metaphor to show the powerful warrior that he is not the center of the universe. Lin convinces the Buddha to forgive her friend through her kindness and compassion for the Monkey King. As a result, the Buddha seals the Monkey King in a stone cave until he achieves full enlightenment and finds the meaning of peace. Thus, the film ends without the Monkey King joining the ranks of the Immortal Ones. His journey of seeking splendor and fame was actually one of acceptance, and his experiences with Lin teach Monkey King he must first find acceptance within himself.

Why Does Buddha Seal the Monkey King?

In the film’s final moments, Lin saves the day by using Monkey King’s pride against him. With the Buddha’s help, Lin challenges Monkey King to escape the palm of Buddha’s hand, a task the brave warrior fails in. As a result, the Monkey King is humbled and forced to realize the errors of his selfish and arrogant ways. Despite being a warrior with great powers, Monkey King only fights demons when he has something to gain. Therefore, he needs to learn respect and humility. On the other hand, Lin sees the yearning for acceptance within Monkey King that has turned him into a selfish and arrogant person. Ultimately, the Buddha seals Monkey King in a stone cave where the latter must serve penance after failing to win their bet.

Before the stone cave is sealed completely, Monkey King and Lin reunite for one last time. Monkey King thanks Lin for saving him from going down the wrong path. Lin encourages Monkey King to see enlightenment, and their experiences teach the warrior that a small pebble can make a large ripple in the grand scheme of things. The Monkey King is sealed for the next five-hundred years while Lin returns to her village, having saved it from the Dragon King and drought. The film ends with Monkey King’s seal being removed after five hundred years. He is released to fight for peace in an era of demons overruling the mortal realm. As a result, the Monkey King must now use his newfound enlightenment to save others. The Monkey King agrees to fight for the righteous cause of protecting humanity, thereby achieving his true potential. Thus, the ending confirms that Buddha’s plan to seal Monkey King taught him humility and respect.

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