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Kraven The Hunter's First Footage Reveals An R-Rated Bloodbath

As hype builds for the animated sequel "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," Sony Pictures is reminding everyone that it dabbles in live-action Marvel productions, too. Next on the docket is "Kraven the Hunter": a film focused on the infamous Spidey villain and skilled hunter starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson as the title character. Since the feature's announcement, details have been scarce regarding its plot. Thankfully, the inaugural trailer premiered at CinemaCon 2023, giving Marvel fans an idea of what to expect from the film.

According to Ben Pearson of /Film, the trailer opens with Sergei "Kraven" Kravinoff attacking a truck full of hunters. He even goes as far as biting off one of their noses and spitting it at the camera as a voiceover from Russell Crowe's Nikolai Kravinoff — Kraven's father – plays. We then get a montage of Kraven killing unnamed individuals in gruesome ways, using a bear trap, crossbow, spear, and even a saber-toothed tiger's tooth to eliminate them from his hit list. The teaser even sees him confront another iconic Spider-Man foe, the Rhino.

All in all, "Kraven" seems like it has all the makings of a dark, blood-soaked, action-packed adventure perfectly befitting of its R-rating. It could even be the project to get Sony's live-action Marvel offerings back on track.

Can Kraven the Hunter make up for Sony's previous Marvel missteps?

Since Spider-Man made the jump to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2016, Sony has made it a priority to flesh out his rogues' gallery at the movies. Sadly, this initiative hasn't proven to be a mixed bag. The studio came out swinging in 2018 with the Tom Hardy-led "Venom," which made a boatload of cash but didn't receive the most glowing reviews upon release. Nevertheless, money talks, so "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" followed in 2021, making less money but managing to get more fans and critics on its side.

The year after, Sony debuted its most infamous Spider-Man-adjacent title to date: "Morbius." The Jared Leto and Matt Smith-starring feature took the internet by storm, but not for good reasons. It became a meme, with its very existence leading to endless online ridicule for months on end. Failing to properly read the room, Sony even rereleased it in theaters only to find that the internet's love for it was purely ironic. Thus, after a disappointing first financial run in theaters, it once again failed to make much money.

All of that is to say that Sony has had a rough time at the movies with its Spider-Man villain films. Could "Kraven the Hunter" be the one to set this Marvel initiative on the right path? The first trailer makes it out to have potential, but there's no way to know for sure until the film releases on October 6, 2023.

Kraven the Hunter's first footage could be a good sign Sony's staying true to the comics

Kraven the Hunter has remained one of Spider-Man's most enduring foes. And while Spidey has plenty of colorful enemies who have no problem with quips and banter, Kraven's a different breed. The fact his feature film debut will be rated R is a good sign Sony is staying true to what made the character so iconic in the first place. 

While Kraven was introduced in the 1960s as a big-game hunter, his legacy went up a notch for the 1987 storyline, "Kraven's Last Hunt." The storyline sees Kraven make it his mission to bury Spider-Man, which he's ultimately successful at. He then begins masquerading around New York as the web-head before Spidey rises from the grave, seeing how he was only heavily sedated. When the two meet face-to-face again, Kraven states how he's proven his point and takes his own life, but as tends to be the case with comic book characters, he was brought back to life even colder and deadlier than before. 

If there was ever a Spider-Man enemy to get an R-rated outing, it's Kraven, and hopefully, this means Sony's taking the source material seriously. The last thing Sony needs is another meme-movie, so hopefully, the extra violence and gore prove the studio isn't messing around and will do justice to a character that comes with a lot of expectations.