On the heels of The Flash flopping, let’s take a look at another superhero movie due out this year. Kraven the Hunter stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson and is part of Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters (SUMC, great acronym, definitely stick with that, no regrets!). Kraven is part of the Spider-Man villain team the Sinister Six, so this is Sony STILL trying to get that Sinister Six movie off the ground—another thing to definitely keep doing and have no regrets about. The trailer is pretty terrible, this movie looks bad, but at least Aaron Taylor-Johnson looks hot.


There’s a litany of things to talk about, but I guess we’ll start with Russell Crowe’s accent. Russell Crowe is a good actor, don’t get me wrong, but his terrible accents remain undefeated. I cannot decide which is worse, this or his accent as Zeus in Thor: Love and Thunder. At least the Zeus accent is probably supposed to be funny, I don’t think the Kraven accent is meant to be comical, but here we are.

Crowe plays Kraven’s father, but ATJ is just doing an American accent as Kraven, full name Sergei Kravinoff. He LOOKS great, not just physically but the interpretation of Kraven’s comic book look is solid, while involving less animal flesh. In the comics, Kraven is a big game hunter who wants to kill Spider-Man to prove he’s the best hunter in the world, but, well, only the worst people in the world support big game hunting these days, so Kraven has been reimagined here as a “conservationist”. Now, he’s bonded with the animals, the animals are his friends and allies, and man is the most dangerous game of all. 


This is the same problem Sony ran into with Morbius, they want these characters to carry entire franchises of their own, so they can’t just be villains, they have to be anti-heroes with some sympathetic/redeeming qualities. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 proves you can do a GREAT villain just by making a guy mean to animals, but Sony needs Kraven to be capable of drawing audiences for multiple movies, so now he’s raised by lions or whatever and he’s only hunting humans. It’s a mistake, this is always going to be a mistake, but once again, they’re fully committed and expressing no regrets.

(Although there is a bit where a bunch of gross spiders descend on Kraven, maybe he has arachnophobia and that’s why he will, eventually, turn on Spider-Man. I get it, spiders are gross. I, too, would try to kill all the spiders and spider-adjacent men if I had magical animal blood, never mind the inevitable disastrous impact on the environment.)


The trailer also teases Alessandro Nivola as Rhino, which is now the second attempt to bring this character—another one of the Sinister Six—to the big screen, following Paul Giamatti. The cast of this movie is really quite something. Christopher Abbott plays The Foreigner, the main villain—because Kraven isn’t really a villain anymore—Ariana DeBose stars as voodoo goddess Calypso, the love interest, and Fred Hechinger, best known as The White Lotus’s enthusiastic outrigger paddler Quinn, plays Kraven’s brother, Dmitri.

But most shockingly, this film is directed by JC Chandor, the filmmaker behind Margin Call, A Most Violent Year, All Is Lost, and most relevantly, ensemble action flick Triple Frontier. This is in line with Ben Wheatley directing The Meg 2, just a filmmaker WAY too good for the material. At least in Wheatley’s case, though, The Meg is not a serious movie, and he can have some fun with it. Sony HAS to get corners of SUMC working other than Spidey and Venom, so there is a lot of pressure on Kraven. There’s a lot less room for fun. I really enjoy Chandor’s work, I am SUPER curious to see what he brings to the floundering SUMC machine.


Also, Kraven will be rated R, which makes it Sony’s first superhero movie with that rating. This is undoubtedly so they can have bloody kills and hunting scenes, but it is also a blatant ploy to inspire interest in a character no one is dying to see on screen as a protagonist. As a villain in a Spider-Man movie, yes, people would be excited to see Kraven. But on his own? Hunting his…family? I guess? Nah. Go for all the blood and guts you want, make Aaron Taylor-Johnson look impossibly hot, it’s not going to matter. Dune: Part Two comes out two weeks after Kraven. Guess how that’s going to go for Kraven? Not well.