Aaron Taylor-Johnson's Kraven the Hunter will be rated R.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson is no stranger to genre films, having starred as Quicksilver in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before his untimely exit. More recently, he starred as a quirky killer in the Brad Pitt film Bullet Train. Now he is set to appear in his biggest role ever, starring in Kraven the Hunter, and Variety reports that this Sony movie is going to be rated R.
This news comes soon after the Kraven the Hunter footage wowed audiences at the recent CinemaCon in Las Vegas. Aaron Taylor-Johnson was in attendance at the con, where he claimed that what sets his own movie apart from the rest of the MCU is that it’s “a Marvel movie grounded heavily in the real world.” Reacting to rampant speculation about whether or not such footage would require more than a PG-13 rating, the star confirmed for the audience that “f*** yeah, it will be rated R.”
If you’re not an active reader of Marvel comics, though, you likely have a big question right now: just who the hell is Kraven the Hunter? As his goofy name implies, this is a man who considers himself the ultimate hunter, and he travels the world in search of greater and greater prey. And in the original comics, this eventually makes him a nemesis of Spider-Man, somebody that he considers his worthiest foe.
Of course, that brings us to the biggest concern about a Kraven the Hunter movie: Sony is greenlighting yet another movie focusing on a Spider-Man villain that won’t actually star Spider-Man himself. So far, Sony has created a successful Venom franchise as well as the complete box office bomb Morbius. Clearly, the studio is hoping that this newest movie is a success and that Aaron Taylor-Johnson becomes their new Tom Hardy: a handsome leading man headlining a moving about a villain.
While making these movies without Spider-Man seems like a desperate move since that character’s film appearances are firmly locked down by Disney and Kevin Feige, it’s worth noting that Sony has been making similar plans for a long time. Remember that awkward ending to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 that went out of its way to preview Sony villains we’d never see, including Vulture and a new Doctor Octopus? That’s because Sony wanted to create a Sinister Six movie featuring all of Spider-Man’s villains without the webhead himself, an idea that seemed crazy until the immense success of Venom guaranteed we’d get future movies such as Kraven the Hunter.
Still, movies like Kraven the Hunter occupy this interesting space in Hollywood where they both are and are not Marvel movies. The studio is clearly cashing in on the name-brand appeal of these characters as well as the famous Marvel brand itself, but we know from Spider-Man: No Way Home that these characters don’t exist in the MCU as we know it. That means that, even if all the negotiations went in Sony’s favor, it would be narratively difficult to have Kraven fight Spider-Man, so we’re left with another movie focusing on a less-than-captivating villain (in other words, true believers, it may be Morbin’ time yet again).
Given the positive reception to its unveiled footage, though, we’re trying to be cautiously optimistic about Kraven the Hunter. Aaron Taylor-Johnson kicked ass in movies like Bullet Train and, uh, Kick-Ass, and he never got the chance to shine in his one MCU role before writer/director Joss Whedon had him killed in Avengers: Age of Ultron. And even though we’ll likely never get Spider-Man, this film’s sequel might show us Kraven hunting down Venom, and that’s a box office match-up we’d certainly pay to see, preferably in another film rated R.