Kraven the Hunter trailer turns Spider-Man villain into anti-hero

The first Kraven the Hunter trailer starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson reveals big changes for the Spider-man villain, turning him into an anti-hero.

Sony Pictures unleashes the first Kraven the Hunter Red Band trailer, revealing the Spider-Man villain will be more of an anti-hero with this cinematic version.

The first Kraven the Hunter trailer starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson reveals big changes for the Spider-man villain, turning him into an anti-hero. (Images: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

It’s no secret that Sony is determined to build its own live action cinematic universe by mining the Spider-Man properties. While the success of this effort has been mixed seen with the results of the Venom films and Morbius, the slate of Spider-verse live action films are moving forward. And Kraven the Hunter is the next in line.

Will Kraven the Hunter be a surprise hit like the Venom films or will it at least be a memorable meme source like Morbius? Check out the details below.

The Red Band trailer for Kraven the Hunter was released on the official Sony Pictures Entertainment YouTube channel and later shared on social media.

The trailer presents the modified origins of the titular hunter. Unlike his comic book origins, this version of Kraven gains superhuman abilities by having a connection with wildlife. This happens after being attacked and bitten by a lion, with Kraven’s blood being mystically imbued by the lion’s own.

Kraven gets his powers by getting bitten by a radioactive lion... well, a mystical one, but doesn't it sound so much like a certain Wall-crawler?

Whereas the comic book Kraven drinks a potion that temporarily increases his physical abilities, this film version can apparently mimic the abilities of predators, enhancing his strength, speed, agility, and senses. This interpretation gives off similar vibes as the cult classic Beastmaster.

We also get a glimpse as to the motivations and relationship of Sergei Kravinoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has with his father played by Russell Crowe. It appears the two will be on a collision course, as the younger Kravinoff attempts to end his father’s corrupt mercenary operations. This is another divergence from the comic books, as it makes Kraven more of an anti-hero rather than a full super-villain.

After playing Superman's father in Man of Steel (2013) and Zeus in Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Russell Crowe plays another father-figure as the abusive parent of Sergei Kravinoff.

There are also glimpses of his relationship with his half-brother played by Fred Hechinger. Kraven’s long-time love interest Calypso (Ariana DeBose) will be involved. And there are subtle hints to Kraven’s phobia to spiders and his future encounter with Spider-Man in at least one brief shot. The trailer ends with Alessandro Nivola’s version of Aleksei Sytsevich and his transformation into another Spider-Man villain, The Rhino.

Fans have had mixed reactions since the trailer’s debut, with some pointing out specifically how the film is painting another Spider-Man bad guy as a vigilante, rather than a criminal. Some fans ask why the title character has to be somewhat heroic. Another reaction is how Kraven is now superhuman with an origin similar to Spider-Man (i.e. being bitten and gaining powers, though in Kraven’s case being supernatural instead of based on science).

Can you have a film about a Spider-Man villain without Spider-Man? Well, at least Kraven the Hunter does hint at the connection between the two.

On the other hand, fans who liked the new treatment of Kraven the Hunter are digging the more serious take on the character. The action sequences have similarities to those of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine or a more visceral take on the combat shown in the John Wick films. This Kraven has no qualms about using weapons to maim, stab, and eviscerate his enemies. At one point, he even fatally bites one of the poachers.

The Kraven the Hunter Red Band trailer isn't squeamish about the violence in the film. At one point, Kraven even bites the nose off of one enemy mercenary.

Will Kraven the Hunter be more like Venom and Venom: Let There Be Carnage? Or will it be another "Morbin’ Time"? Does it bode well for the future of the live-action Spider-verse?
According to the current official synopsis of Kraven the Hunter:

Kraven the Hunter is the visceral story about how and why one of Marvel’s most iconic villains came to be. Set before his notorious vendetta with Spider-Man, Aaron Taylor-Johnson stars as the titular character in the R-rated film.

Kraven the Hunter stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Russell Crowe, Ariana DeBose, Fred Hechinger, Christopher Abbott, and Alessandro Nivola.

Directed by J.C. Chandor and produced by Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, and David Householter for Sony Pictures Entertainment (distributed by Columbia Pictures), Kraven the Hunter is slated for theatrical and IMAX release on October 6, 2023.


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Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.
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