King Kong is the titular main protagonist and anti-hero of the King Kong franchise. He is a giant black gorilla from Skull Island. The true enemies for Kong are the Vastosaurus Rexes or the United States Air Force, though neither are actual villains since the Vastosaurus only attacks because they are wild animals who hunt for survival, and the Air Force were only attacking Kong out of fear he was hurting people.
The film opens in New York City, 1933 at the height of the Great Depression. Having lost her job as a vaudeville actress,Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) is hired by troubled filmmaker Carl Denham (Jack Black) to be an actress in his new motion picture. With time running out, Ann signs on when she learns her favourite playwright Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) is the screenwriter. As the SS Venture sails to mysterious Skull Island, they slowly fall in love. As for Carl, a warrant is out for his arrest and Captain Englehorn (Thomas Kretschmann) begins to have second thoughts, following the fears of his crew about Skull Island. Despite his attempt to turn around, the ship is sucked up in fog and crashes into rocks encircling the island.
Carl and his crew explore the island, with a deserted village against a wall, but they are attacked by the vicious natives. Mike (Craig Hall), the sound technician, is speared, one of the sailors has his head crushed, and Jack is knocked out. Ann screams, and a roar beyond the wall responds. The matriarch vows to sacrifice her to "Kong", a 25 ft (8m) gorilla. Englehorn and his crew break up the attack and return to the damaged ship. They finally lighten their load to steer away, until Jack discovers Ann has been kidnapped. On the island, Ann is hung from a balcony on the side of a valley. The crew come armed, but are too late. Carl sees the gorilla that has taken her. Englehorn gives them 24 hours to find her. In the meantime, Ann discovers the remains of previous sacrifices, and stabs Kong's hand with her ceremonial necklace to no avail. Kong takes Ann into the jungles of the island.
Captain Englehorn organizes a rescue party to find Ann and hunt down the beast. The rescue party is caught up in a Venatosaurus (modern day Velociraptor) pack's hunt of Brontosaurus, and Herb (John Sumner), the camera man, is killed along with three sailors. Ann manages to entertain Kong with juggling and dancing, but he does not kill her when she refuses to continue, leaving her instead. The rest of the rescue party come across a swamp. It is here that Bruce Baxter (Kyle Chandler) and two others leave the group. The survivors stumble across a log, where Kong attacks, shaking them off the log into a ravine. He returns to rescue Ann from three Vastatosaurus Rex (modern day Tyrannosaurus), and takes her up to his mountain lair. Englehorn and the rest of the crew rescue whomever is left of the rescue party from the pit of giant insects, and as Jack decides to continue to search for Ann, Carl decides to capture Kong. Jack comes to Kong's lair, and disturbs him from his slumber. As Kong fights a swarm of flying Terapus mordax, Ann and Jack escape by grabbing the wing of one of the bats and then jumping into a river. They arrive at the village wall, with the angry Kong following them, and Ann becomes distraught by what Carl plans to do. Kong bursts through the gate and struggles to get her back, but he is eventually knocked out by chloroform.
In New York around Christmas, Carl presents Kong — the Eighth Wonder of the World on Broadway, starring Baxter and an imprisoned Kong. Ann has become an anonymous chorus girl and a double of her is no replacement for Kong. Camera flashes from photographers enrage the gorilla. Kong breaks free from his chrome-steel chains and chases Jack across town, where he encounters Ann again. They share a quiet moment on a frozen lake in Central Park, before the army attacks. Kong climbs onto the Empire State Building, where he makes his last stand against the Curtiss Helldivers, downing three of them. Ultimately, Kong is hit by several bursts of gunfire from the surviving planes, and gazes at a distraught Ann for the last time before falling off the building to his death. Ann is greeted by Jack, and the reporters flood to Kong's corpse. Carl takes one last look and says, "It wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast."