Hey have you heard there's a sixth Spider-Man movie coming, the second reboot of the series in the last few years? It's true! And where there's a Spider-Man movie there's Spider-Man villain speculation.
I recently spoke with Kevin Feige and he told me that this film would be using a new villain, one we hadn't seen onscreen before. I like that - we've had enough Goblins for the time being, and Spidey has a rich and odd rogues gallery that could be explored in this New Model Spider-Man. But which villain will it be?
According to Heroic Hollywood the people at Sony's story department (yes, Sony is still involved) are doing research on none other than Kraven the Hunter. I don't have any insider info on this, so I can't confirm or debunk any of it, but I can say - from a pure fan standpoint - I like it!
Here's why Kraven works for me: he's small scale. We've seen a lot of destruction in Spidey movies, and we've seen even more in Marvel films. Spider-Man needs to stake out his own corner of the MCU, one that's bigger than the stuff on Daredevil but not as extreme as what we see in the solo Avengers' films. Kraven won't be knocking over many buildings (although if he gets enhanced he could go toe to toe with Spider-Man), thus keeping the scope limited. It definitely helps explain why the Avengers don't show up and take care of this business for Spidey.
What's more, Kraven breaks the Spidey movie villain mold - he is not connected to Spider-Man in any way, shape or form. That's key, as only Doc Ock has been truly disconnected from Spider-Man in the previous five movies, and even then he was sort of a dark mirror of Peter Parker. Kraven comes into town looking to bag Spider-Man, a menace hated by the Daily Bugle and wanted by the NYPD, and that's all the motivation we need. That allows the script to spend more time with Peter Parker at school and home, rather than establishing lots of moments to tie him in to Kraven.
But it gets better. What if Kraven manages to track Spider-Man to Midtown High, where he makes the assumption class jock Flash Thompson MUST be Spider-Man? He captures Flash and Spidey has to rescue his worst enemy at school. Meanwhile Flash is a huge fan of Spider-Man but hates Puny Parker. I love that ending! I love that it doesn't require one of the women in Spidey's life to be kidnapped and menaced. Now that I've written it out here it will never come to pass.
Kraven's a cool villain in terms of the modern zeitgeist - the recent kerfuffle over the killing of Cecil the Lion has proven that we're kind of past trophy hunting. When Kraven was introduced in the 60s his safari stylings were sort of badass; today they're retro and a little pathetic. He's more centrally and obviously villainous than he was fifty years ago. That gives this character a lot of pathos, and it allows the students of Midtown High - and Spidey's supporting cast - to have complicated feelings about him when he comes to America and throws a press conference. Some, like Flash, will be Spidey fans. Some will be cheering Kraven on. And some will oppose Kraven on basic ethical grounds - the motherfucker is wearing a lion's head for a vest.
Finally, Kraven's story could be a big one - he shows up, gets defeated by Spidey and then turns to OsCorp for help. For enhancement. That ups the ante for the final confrontation, one that Spider-Man walks into thinking he's still going up against a low level guy. And perhaps this enhancement comes with a cost, and perhaps this ends up being Kraven's Last Hunt? Jesus, why am I not writing this movie?
Anyway, I don't know if Kraven is the villain, but I think he's got real possibility.