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Is Keanu Reeves Going to Play An Iconic Spider-Man Villain?

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Kraven the Hunter is a bit of an anachronism in Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery. He’s often portrayed as a famous big-game hunter who people kind of love when he shows up to hunt Spider-Man, the most dangerous game. The issue is that in 2021 people hate big game hunters. Lions killed by big game hunters have Wikipedia pages.

In the most recent Spider-Man cartoon, Spider-Man, Kraven is a reality TV star which kind of makes sense but I still can’t imagine people watching a show about a big game hunter on TLC or whatever.

At the same time, Kraven is the central character in one of the best Spider-Man stories ever, Kraven’s Last Hunt. Kraven does something that comic book villains don’t often do and he defeats Spider-Man. It ends with Kraven killing himself, essentially because he has nothing left to accomplish in life. It leaves adaptations in a rough spot because Kraven is a big part of Spider-Man’s mythology but he also has a concept that doesn’t really fit in today’s world.

So when I saw the rumors that Keanu Reeves was being approached by Sony to play Kraven in a stand-alone movie (sort of like Tom Hardy’s Venom), I was skeptical.

Sony definitely wants to milk the Spider-Man license for everything they can get from it, so the idea that they would look at Kraven for a spin-off isn’t surprising. CBR says the project is “a ‘mashup’ between Logan and Man on Fire,” which says to me it’ll have Kraven with a little kid sidekick.

One of the problems with adapting Kraven’s Last Hunt is that Kraven had been fighting the old Webhead for like 25 years when it came out. They had a history between them and it meant something for Kraven to finally defeat him. It needs build-up and space to breathe, which Logan also needed. That wouldn’t have worked as the first appearance of Logan or Professor Xavier.

But it is believable because Sony is pretty bad at making superhero movies. Really, Spider-Man 2 was a high point for superhero films, but they followed that up with Spider-Man 3 and the Amazing Spider-Man movies. Based on their track record and the leaks we’ve seen of their internal discussions, this is just the sort of thing they’d think was great.

Let’s just hope it falls apart like that Sinister Six movie they were planning.

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