All three incarnations of King Kong make clear that it’s a star-crossed romance, a variation on Beauty and the Beast. (Merian C. Cooper, the filmmaker of the original 1933 film, supposedly promised to star Fay Wray, “You will have the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood.”) Sure, Kong has a temper that turns homicidal when he feels threatened. But he’s also undeniably regal (hence the title) and chivalrous, protecting his gal from rampaging dinosaurs, fighter planes, and other menaces.
Of course, on Skull Island, in the state of nature, his nobility is apparent. The big gorilla is the creature most like us (at least, the Western us; he’s arguably more humane than the tribespeople, who traffic in kidnapping and human sacrifice). In New York, however, he’s just another immigrant, viewed with fascination and suspicion by the locals and chafing under their gawking scrutiny. He tries to climb to the top too quickly and is abruptly and fatally smacked down.
Next Young Frankenstein