Films: Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons (2013), Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back (2017)
Alias: Sun Wukong (the Monkey King, the King of Demons, Monkey), Sha Wujing (the Water Buffalo, Sandy), Zhu Bajie (the Pig Demon, Pigsy), the demon spiders, Red Boy, Xiao Shan the White Bone Spirit, Jiu Gong the Immortal Golden Vulture
Location: River/Civilized Area/Forest/Mountains/Eldritch Location/Desert/Haunted Home/Underground
Height/Weight: Ranges from that of a toddler to skyscrapers.
Affiliation: Good (the first three, eventually), Neutral (Xiao Shan, Jiu), Evil (the rest)
Summary: Out of all of Eastern literature, no tale is perhaps as important as the tale of a bunch of wayward folks off to discover the joys of Buddhism. Of course, most remember the Monkey King Sun Wukong for his journey from atrocious trickster to genuine hero, but this...isn't quite that story. It's there, yes, but there's so much more in this particular adaptation.
History: Long ago in the lands of China, a young demon hunter named Tang Sanzang sought true enlightenment while protecting all from the monstrous demons everywhere. During his quest, he encountered demons he would much rather redeem instead of kill, much to his fellow hunters' chagrin. But everything changed when he came face-to-face with the fabled trickster ruler of all demons, the Monkey King…
Notable Kills: Sandy and Pigsy's methods of getting food as evil demons really leave us scratching our heads as to how they could possibly be redeemed. Monkey's way of dispatching the hunters is also rather nasty, considering the tamer of them involves him bashing one's skull in.
Final Fate: Eventually, after enduring true suffering, Sanzang discovers true enlightenment, and calls upon Buddha's power to bring the Monkey King to his knees. Despite everything, he forgives all the demons he's helped defeat, and soon, he and the redeemed demons, Sandy and Pigsy and Monkey, are off on their journey to the west to seek the truth of Buddhism. Of course, there's a later adventure involving Sanzang and Monkey constantly butting heads due to the actions of the White Bone Spirit, but through friendship and equally insane battles, that's a win as well.
Powers/Abilities: All demons are capable of shapeshifting from humanoid to monstrous forms, and wield weapons that can shift in size. Monkey is the strongest of them all, befitting a demon king. He can stretch his limbs, wields a powerful staff, has incredible strength, and can turn into a colossal monkey demon when things get hairy. Sandy can manipulate water and even turn it into ice powers and has a harpoon-like fishhook for a weapon. Pigsy's weapon is a nine-toothed rake that can grow to lift boulders. The spiders can shoot powerful silk from their abdomens, and secrete a poison that can even harm other demons. Red Boy can manipulate fire, shift his mechanical body into a variety of forms, and can even summon entire armies made of fire. Jiu Gong can summon fake Buddhas to manipulate the elements.
Weakness: Beings of equal or greater power. Of course, some demons are weaker than others, but all cannot match the power of Buddha.
Scariness Factor: 3.5-Oh sure, the CGI isn't exactly the finest, but DAMN, these are some scary demons. Even the Sun Wukong is a fright with his savagery and callousness. Sandy and Pigsy are straight out of a horror movie before redemption finds them (though the latter gets easier on the eyes in his giant boar form). And dear GOD, those spiders...it's almost a miracle that the first three turned out to be some rather quirky heroes after Sanzeng showed them forgiveness. That way, Sandy's demon form is actually kind of cute.
Trivia: -The original story is considered to be one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese Literature. It's epic story and somewhat satirical elements have made it a landmark in fiction. So much so that it has received numerous adaptations. Even "Dragonball" is based on it to some degree, with Son Goku being an expy of Wukong's more endearing qualities, and Oolong and Yamcha taking the roles of Pigsy and Sandy respectively (though something tells us that Sandy might have more than a few problems with this)...
-Believe it or not, the violent and murderous versions of the three main demons are the truest to the text we've seen in an adaptation of this story. Many adaptations tend to omit the fact that they got some hefty body counts before they join the journey. Fittingly, because Sandy's kills in the first film are so awful, it only makes sense that it would correlate with how in the original, he's the one most desperate for redemption.