‘Monkey Man’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Is Kid Dead Or Alive?


Dev Patel’s directorial debut film Monkey Man has already made quite a name for itself with regard to troubled production phases and, most recently, an uncertain release in India. The action thriller film presents Patel as the protagonist, Kid, who is driven by only one mission in life—to avenge his mother’s death, which took place in his childhood. As Kid tries to force his way through the unfair rungs of society characterized by financial disparity, he learns more about the perpetrators he is trying to track down. Although Monkey Man is quite superficial and bare-bones with regards to its plot and supposed symbolism, it still makes for an entertaining watch because of the action sequences.

Spoiler Alert

What is Dev Patel’s Film about?

Monkey Man begins with a scene from the past in which a young Kid is seen enchantedly listening to a specific mythological story from his beloved mother. The story is about the Hindu deity, Hanuman, who was already Kid’s favorite character by that very time, gulping down the entire sun after mistaking it to be a ripe, juicy mango. Enthralled by the sheer bravery and power of Hanuman, the Kid is shocked and saddened to hear how the other gods had punished Hanuman for showing such boldness, and it is now that his reverie suddenly breaks. Many years have passed since this calm and emotional scene, for Kid is now a grown adult, left all alone in the world after the untimely death of his mother. 

At the present time, Kid lives in the fictional Indian city of Yatana, which is only some distance away from his ancestral village, but his life in the city is not easy at all. His current occupation is that of a ring wrestler, participating in fights at an underground fight club run by a foreign national known as Tiger. Although times have changed, the protagonist’s fascination with the monkey god has seemingly not passed, for he prefers wearing the mask of a monkey during his fights. On this specific night, the Kid is beaten down and defeated by King Kobra, a veteran wrestler in Tiger’s Club, where every fighter is named after animals. It soon becomes clear that the wrestling matches are actually staged by Tiger, depending on the illegal bets placed on his top clients, and Kid actually earns his living by throwing fights in a similar manner.

However, Kid is also regularly in search of contacts that might lead him to the perpetrators behind his mother’s death, and a young boy finally gets a lead for him. Police chief Rana Singh, who is one of Kid’s targets, regularly frequents a club named Kings, and the contact has found out about the establishment’s owner, Queenie Kapoor. The very next day, Kid makes use of his contacts in the slums to get hold of Queenie’s purse, only to use it to create a chance of a meeting with her. When he is finally allowed to enter the club, which is restricted to the rich and the posh, Kid asks for a job in the restaurant kitchen from Queenie and manages to get it. While the first step of infiltration is successfully carried out, Kid still needs to get access to the private floors that Rana visits. This chance comes the protagonist’s way when he meets an unusual man named Alphonso in the club kitchen. 

Why did Kid’s assassination attempt fail?

During his very first shift at Kings’ restaurant, Kid comes across a man named Alphonso, who tries to befriend him through some casual banter, but the protagonist obviously does not pay any heed to him. As a character, Kid is always extremely focused and determined, almost unnaturally so, and therefore, he does not have time to have some pointless conversations. However, his whole demeanor towards Alphonso changes when he learns that the latter is actually a drug dealer who works very closely with Queenie Kapoor. Most importantly, Alphonso has access to the upper floors of the club, where his target is known to be a frequent visitor, and so Kid sees the man as an opportunity to make his way forward. He now befriends Alphonso, winning his trust by telling him to bet against him at Tiger’s Temple, and gradually finds himself on the upper floors of the club.

At the club, Kid learns that his target, police chief Rana Singh, spends most of his time on the even more guarded VIP floor, where drugs like cocaine are very commonly available. By now, the protagonist had already bought a gun from a shady dealer on the street in order to carry out his revenge plot, but he had been facing trouble with regards to how to carry the weapon inside. Every worker at the King’s Club had to walk through a screener in order to ensure safety, so he could not simply walk in with the gun. This problem is eventually solved when Kid befriends a street dog, feeds it regularly, and finally trains it to carry the gun into the alley behind the club. While the plot and the overall action of Monkey Man feel quite similar to films from the “John Wick” franchise, this bond with a dog and even the film being mentioned in the dialogue make it evident that it does not want to hide the similarity either. 

On that very night, Kid walks up to the club and then makes his way to the VIP floor, posing as a server working at the place. He finally gets his chance alone with Rana inside the washroom after having mixed bleach with the villain’s cocaine, and he goes on to confront the corrupt police chief with the gun he is carrying. However, it all goes wrong for Kid, as he is simply not prepared enough to fight against the tough policeman. As the gun is tossed away fairly early into the fight, it all comes down to fists, and Kid is unable to carry out the assassination he had planned. With Rana still alive and looking for him, the protagonist now has to escape the club, which he does on Alphonso’s rickshaw, but a citywide search for him has already begun. Just when he seems to be able to get away from the police, Kid is shot down by a sniper on a police helicopter, and he falls into a nearby stream, losing consciousness.

Why does Alpha help Kid?

After his life-threatening injury because of the gunshot and the subsequent fall, Kid is rescued and nursed back to health by Alpha, who is a trans person belonging to the Hijra community of India. Alpha is actually the leader of their community, and they all reside inside an old compound that also serves as a place of worship for them. When Kid finally recovers and becomes friends with Alpha, they reveal that the temple is meant to worship Ardhanarishwara, a Hindu deity who is a special combined form of both Shiva, symbolizing masculinity, and Parvati, symbolizing femininity. Throughout its duration, Monkey Man makes such small references to Hindu deities and mythologies, which are included as symbolism. As a whole, the film presents a situation in which the wrong ideals of religion and extremism are used by a few for their own political and financial gains. Therefore, references to the actual roots of Hindu culture and religion are always shown to be on the side of the good, which is Kid and his associates.

As a devotee of Hanuman, Kid almost embodies the deity in some senses as he fights against corruption in society to ensure that good triumphs over bad. This is all the more direct when, in a hallucinatory state, the young man rips apart his chest, which is something that Hanuman did in the legends of the Ramayana. The ripping of the chest, both in mythology and in this film’s context, is symbolic of what one holds very dear to one’s heart, very literally. Therefore, while Hanuman’s chest contained images of his divine mentor, Ram, and his wife, Sita, Kid ripping his chest apart reveals his bond with his mother and the resulting trauma that drove him after her death. Once again, at the end of Monkey Man, Kid ransacking the whole King club might be reminiscent of Hanuman destroying the kingdom of Lanka, with both having entered a vengeful state with the memory of their loved ones.

Dev Patel’s plan in the film is to combine the religious and mythological with a social commentary, which is why the powers and forces of the myths always team up with the social outcasts and the downtrodden. While Kid is one such individual pushed to the fringe of society, nobody suffers ostracization in Indian society worse than the hijra community, both in reality and in the film. The community of transgender and eunuch individuals is often deserted by family and loved ones, and the society officially accepting their existence is also a comparatively new development in the country. In Monkey Man, too, Alpha and all the others residing in the community have been pushed away from society, and their existence is once again threatened when the temple is claimed by a religious leader. 

The hijras recognize Kid as a fellow individual who has been ostracized by the powers that be, and their decision to help him recover and train for his battle is simply out of a genuine concern. But towards the end of the film, they decide to join the fight directly with Kid, and this is also partly helped by the protagonist donating money to help save the temple compound. Kid’s fight against the upper rungs of society is like an inspiration to every downtrodden and neglected person, and so the hijras jump in as part of the plan to bring down the private goons at the Kings Club. Interestingly, the woman named Sita, who works as a sex worker at the club, also finally stands up for herself and for the good and kills Queenie. Sita, too, was obviously disturbed by her present situation but could not do anything about it until now, when she gained courage after seeing Kid and the others. The names make it such that Kid, a total devotee of Hanuman, rescues Sita from an evil situation, even helping her find her own voice.

Did Kid finally take his revenge?

Throughout the latter parts of Monkey Man, it had been revealed that Kid’s mother, and in fact their whole village, had been killed off by the corrupt police chief, Rana Singh, upon the orders of the fake guru, Baba Shakti, who has been pretending to be a godman for many years. Baba Shakti wanted to build a factory for his business, although he still calls it a place of worship where his devotees, meaning the factory workers, tirelessly worked for him for almost no remuneration. The man needed a large piece of land in order to build this cult-like factory for himself, and the village where Kid was born unfortunately fell inside the plot planned by him. Through Rana, Shakti had tried to threaten and scare the villagers away from their homes, leaving their land behind so that he could easily get hold of it. But when these steps did not work, Rana Singh launched an outright attack on the whole village, ensuring that the godman got his land in whatever way possible.

Thus, Kid’s real target is Baba Shakti, and Rana is only the first step in reaching the wicked man. After receiving tremendous training and also learning to channel his inner energy and his trauma from childhood in a correct manner, Kid attacks the King Club once again at the end of Monkey Man. This attack is planned on the auspicious day of Diwali, which is again a religious reference to the occasion of good triumphing over bad. It is also a few days after the re-election at Yatana, which ensures that the corrupt political leader and Baba Shakti are both present at the scene. Unleashing utter chaos, Kid is able to make his way to Rana Singh first and literally beats the man to death, taking revenge against his mother’s murder, which had been committed by the police chief. Next, Kid moves up to an even higher floor, which can only be accessed by Queenie and, obviously, Baba Shakti, and he confronts the godman.

In Monkey Man‘s ending, Baba Shakti does not express any remorse for his actions and instead compares himself to Ravana, the villainous king from the Ramayana, stating that evil like him needs to exist in the modern world. He then also brings out a hidden dagger and stabs Kid fatally with it. However, the protagonist is unfazed by the sudden attack, at least momentarily, and he uses all his strength to snatch the dagger and kill Baba Shakti. Having taken his revenge and gained pleasure from it, Kid succumbs to his injuries at the end of Monkey Man and falls to the floor, soon about to die. While he recalls memories with his mother once more, the camera glides over a painting from a scene of the Ramayana on the wall, highlighting the triumph of good over evil once again since the religious text deals with this very idea. 

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

Must Read

DMT Guide

More Like This