Dev Patel’s directorial debut Monkey Man premiered in theaters on March 11, and has already received rave reviews from critics and general audiences alike. The film touts an impressive 88 percent certified fresh critic score on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, and has served as the center of a wide range of social media discussion since making its premiere. Monkey Man centers on a gritty criminal underground within Mumbai, wherein impoverished amateur fighters battle for cash. The lead character, who’s name is Kid, dons a monkey mask in the image of the Hindu deity Hanuman, obfuscating his identity as he rises through the ranks of the fight club, garnering a reputation for his vicious fury along the way.

The film was initially pitched to studios with the tagline “John Wick set in Mumbai,” highlighting the use of hyper-violent set-pieces and intense visual action. Along the way, legendary filmmaker Jordan Peele signed on as a producer, providing the film with his highly-sought after seal of approval. Now that Monkey Man has been out for a full month, it’s as good a time as any to dive into the over-the-top ending and unpack the film’s blood-soaked final moments. Needless to say, there will be major spoilers for the film ahead, so please be sure to bookmark this page and return later if you haven’t yet seen the film. Without further ado, let’s examine the unbelievable conclusion of Monkey Man.

Unpacking ‘Monkey Man’

Monkey Man‘s narrative begins in a small forest village in India, where Kid lives with his mother. Unfortunately, an evil guru compels the corrupt head of the local police to ransack the village, massacring every defenseless villager who fails to escape. Kid watches as his mother is brutally beaten, assaulted, and murdered, and sustains significant burns and scars on his hands as the village burns to the ground around him. The horrifying sight is unlike any committed to film, and evokes powerful emotion from the theater-going public, especially in tumultuous political times such as these, where civilians are being forced out of their homes in places like Ukraine and Gaza.

Jumping years ahead, Kid takes on his Monkey Man identity, all the while plotting his revenge on Baba, the spiritual guru responsible for his horrific trauma, as well as the police chief who carried out his orders. To get closer to his targets, Kid infiltrates a luxury brothel frequented by the chief, and poses as an employee of the establishment. As the film carries on, Kid engages in an increasingly convoluted scheme to get closer to his targets, which leads to him eventually being arrested, shot, and nearly killed by a crazed pimp with an axe. In a trippy sequence, Kid is revived by a temple keeper named Alpha, who utilized holistic psychedelic healing techniques to bring Kid back, and address his trauma head-on along the way.

The Film’s Final Moments

Kid learns that Alpha’s temple is the next target of Baba and his goons, leading him and Alpha to team up against the fascist guru. Together, they fight their way inside Baba’s stronghold during a Diwali celebration, and Kid and Baba finally battle it out. Kid manages to kill Baba, but suffers serious stab wounds at the same time. As he collapses from his injuries, presumably in death, Kid remembers his mother and his faith, and is finally able to rest peacefully.

Monkey Man has no mid or end credits scenes, so the final moments are left fully ambiguous. As some critics have pointed out, the film is likely intentionally nebulous so that the producers can maintain the option of launching a sequel. If Monkey Man succeeds critically and financially, which seems highly likely, the studio may demand further franchise outings, which could see Kid revived once more by his holistic friends. If not, fans can safely assume that Kid died happy, having fulfilled his mission of avenging his mother.

What Does The Future Hold For Dev Patel?

Filmmaker Dev Patel has not expressed any explicit plans to produce a sequel at this time, though Monkey Man seems to have fulfilled its mission statement to explore India’s caste system through the lens of a classic kung fu adventure. Patel stated as much in an early April interview with ScreenRant, saying “I’m talking about the caste system and the action genre, kind of the core tenet of that is working your way through to get to the big boss. Normally working your way up like in Game of Death with Bruce Lee or The Raid or Judge Dredd.”

Kid’s journey also fittingly parallels the journey of Hanuman, which dates back to Indian folklore of 1500 BC. In the story, the monkey is struck down by god after mistaking the golden sun for a sweet mango, only to work his way from a pile of ash to a super-powerful demigod in the name of seeking atonement. The legend is a core element of many Hindu texts, and serves as a major visual and thematic inspiration for Monkey Man‘s narrative.

Regardless of whether we see future installments in the Monkey Man franchise, critics and audiences seem to agree that Dev Patel’s first directorial outing is a major success. We can’t wait to see what he cooks up next!