Spider-Man Reboot: Kraven might be the Villain

The Amazing Spider-Man #15, by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
Another day, another comic book movie rumor. This time, Heroic Hollywood claims Marvel Studios and Sony's Spider-Man reboot in 2017 could have Sergei Kravinoff, a.k.a. Kraven the Hunter, as the big bad. Thanks to great stories like Kraven's Last Hunt and Grim Hunt, Kraven has not only become my favorite Spider-Man villain, but he's also one of my favorite comic book characters. There's a lot of potential with Kraven and I even wrote about why I think he deserves his own series. (That'll probably never happen, but a man can dream, right?) So, when it was revealed that Kraven could possibly be appearing on the big screen, you would assume I'd want to throw some confetti. Instead, I'm left with very mixed reactions.

Based on all of the statements that have been made in interviews and the information that has been officially released about Tom Holland's Spider-Man, it sounds like he's still very new to being a hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Him being in High School is no big deal to me - there's plenty of material in that era, and Ultimate Spider-Man and the show Spectacular Spider-Man proved that time period can be revisited in a fun way. However, Kraven going after a rookie Spidey feels like it could be wasting the character's potential. Sure, this can plant the seeds for having him eventually join the Sinister Six or the creation of movie inspired by Kraven's Last Hunt, but as much as I love the villain, he really doesn't seem like the best choice for young Spidey's first big challenge.
In the MCU, that title goes to Star-Lord. Good luck in the dance off, Sergei.
Why I think it shouldn't be done: In Amazing Spider-Man #15 (the villain's first appearance), Kraven goes after Spider-Man because Chameleon tells him all about the powerful hero in New York. It's to save his own skin from the web-slinger, but Kraven's excited by the challenge.While Parker's still very young at that point, he already faced several big threats (e.g. Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Sandman, etc.) and earned a name for himself. He's still new to the game, but he's overcome a lot of enemies and he's become a public figure. But in a cinematic world that includes Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, and more, why would Kraven go after a rookie hero instead of one of the heroes that has saved the world twice now?

Even if Chameleon tries to sell Sergei on it, he could still view it as being below him and he would instead set his sights on someone far more worthy of a hunt. Obviously, he realizes people such as Thor and Hulk are out of his league (it is worth noting Kraven took on Hulk, but that was after he was brought back from the dead and gained an accelerated healing factor), but he could totally view someone like the super-soldier as a potential target - one that's more worthy of his attention than a young and seemingly inexperienced hero. If Spidey is still a novice, I can't help but feel like Kraven should be reserved for a later date - a time when Spider-Man has become a household name in New York and criminals are hesitant to go outside because they know he's out there.
Kraven: 90% confidence, 10% leopard print.
Why I think it could work: Even if Kraven thinks Spider-Man poses no threat to him, it's definitely possible Chameleon could convince Kraven to help him out. Perhaps Kraven owes Chameleon a favor or maybe he just sells the new and young hero especially well. While this would be changing a small part of how the two initially met, it could still build the same conflict they have in the comics. Kraven's confidence could get the better of him and he'd be surprised by the wall-crawler's speed and strength. The plot that appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #15 would be a good way to give Spider-Man new challenges without really interfering all that much with his High School life - and according to the co-writers and directors, the High School story plays a big part in the movie. \

This conflict - taking on the world's deadliest hunter - could turn Holland's Spider-Man into a more clever and experienced hero. Battling someone as skilled and as tactical as Kraven will make him emerge as a more efficient hero and it'll also leave Kraven with a new objective: to one day prove he's superior to Spider-Man.
Scarlet Spider #23, by Christopher Yost, Erik Burnham, David Baldeon, and Chris Sotomayor.
My knee-jerk reaction to this news was mostly a negative one. I'm sure they can use the villain well and I of course want the movie to be great, but I believe Kraven seems more fitting to include when Spider-Man has already earned a reputation. I'd love to see him appear in the second movie, and the first one has a threat like Mysterio or Scorpion. But hey, we still don't have all of the facts about the new cinematic version of Spider-Man. Maybe his cameo in Captain America: Civil War will be impressive enough to put him on Kraven's radar. Either way, it's just a rumor right now, so only time will tell whether or not this pans out. No matter what happens, I'll obviously keep an open mind about it until we get a chance to watch the movie in 2017.



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