Why Does Kong Have A Metal Arm In Godzilla X Kong: The New Empire?

Warning! Spoilers ahead for "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire."

The MonsterVerse is getting a massive upgrade with "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" — and not only because director Adam Wingard is introducing a crop of brand-new villains to the fray. The eponymous Titans are also getting a few enhancements of their own: Godzilla is somehow pink now (which, slay), while Kong sports a bright-yellow mechanical arm. As Dr. Ilene Andrews (Rebecca Hall, now with fresh highlights) says in the film's latest trailer, some "minor augmentations" are pretty much par the course at this stage of the franchise. Godzilla and Kong might have put their primordial beef to rest, but that's only because they've got to deal with the new threat that is the Skar King. For all their individual power, that's one gnarly kaiju, and they definitely can't defeat him alone.

So yeah, "The New Empire" follows Godzilla on his quest to amass more nuclear energy, while Kong gets a gauntlet of death in order to defend his territory in the Hollow Earth. These cool cosmetic changes resulted from Wingard's desire to put his own spin on such recognizable monsters, but the director was also wary of weaving those changes into the story organically. As a result, Kong doesn't inherit his metal arm for the heck of it. The King of the Apes takes plenty of beatings across the film's two-hour runtime, holding his own against Godzilla, the Skar King, and another new kaiju, Shimo. It's his encounter with the latter that leads to his particular upgrade — and though it undeniably looks cool, this augmentation doesn't come easy.

Ice, ice, baby

Kong has spent most of his time searching for other members of his race. They were wiped out centuries ago, leaving him to while away his days on Skull Island — but after the events of "Godzilla vs. Kong," Kong discovers an entirely new realm at the center of the Earth. In "Godzilla x Kong" we learn that a kingdom full of apes just like Kong has been living in a hidden pocket of the Hollow Earth. This is the Skar King's domain, but giant apes aren't the only ones dwelling there.

The Skar King is a formidable ruler on his own, but he's also got a secret weapon that essentially keeps his underlings in line. That ace up his sleeve is actually Shimo, an ancient Titan that he managed to subjugate eons ago. Not unlike Godzilla's atomic breath, Shimo has the ability to spew powerful ice blasts. Kong learns this the hard way in his first encounter with the beastie. As he's deflected Godzilla's blasts with his trusty battle axe before, he might assume he can do the same with Shimo. Unfortunately, facing off with the ice dino is infinitely more dangerous.

A sustained hit of Shimo's ice breath freezes Kong's axe in one fell swoop — and since Kong was naturally holding the weapon, his hand is briefly frozen over too. He manages to escape the Skar King's lair, but by the time he reunites with Ilene and her allies, his right arm is severely frostbitten and barely functioning.

Back in fighting shape

It's admittedly hard watching Kong struggle with his latest injury. Fortunately, he doesn't have to suffer for long, as kaiju vet Trapper (Dan Stevens) has just the solution. It turns out that Monarch, the scientific conglomerate that monitors Titans, absorbed tech company APEX after the events of "Godzilla vs. Kong." APEX were notably the ones that built Mechagodzilla, and they had plenty of other toys for Monarch to fold into their collection.

One such asset included an underdeveloped mech program. Monarch was apparently hoping to develop armored robots in the event of another unwieldy attack from Godzilla, but they abandoned the project before it could be completed. Trapper is able to repurpose one of the mechanical arms from that scrapped program for Kong. He not only heals Kong's injuries with a special serum, but this mechanical arm also prevents further vulnerability when Kong eventually faces off with Shimo again.

Kong is likely healed from the frostbite by the end of "Godzilla x Kong," but hopefully this isn't the last we see of the big guy's latest toy. After all, his battle axe has since become a major part of his character design, so who's to say that Kong's mechanical arm won't come in handy in the future?

"Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" is now playing in theaters.