One of Spider-Man’s most famous foes may not live up to his title. At CineEurope, a trade show for the movie industry held in Barcelona this year, Aaron Taylor-Johnson discussed the just-completed film Kraven the Hunter, in which he plays the title character. Taylor Johnson told attendees that Kraven is “one of Marvel’s most iconic, notorious anti-heroes — Spider Man’s number one rival.” He also said that Kraven is “not an alien, or a wizard. He’s just a hunter, a human with conviction. An animal lover and a protector of the natural world. He’s a very, very cool character,” and that the film was “shot entirely on location.” Kraven the Hunter, which is directed by J.C. Chandor, is set to hit theaters on January 13, 2023.
Either I didn’t know this movie was a thing or I blocked it out, but Aaron Taylor-Johnson playing Kraven is news to me. He’s not bad casting, although I think Kraven should be older than he is. His comments are causing an uproar among fans, who interpret them as Kraven no longer being the big game hunter he’s supposed to be. Far be it from me to defend movie studios nowadays, but I think it’s possible Taylor-Johnson misspoke a bit. He does refer to Kraven as “a hunter;” maybe he means that Kraven is attuned to the natural world and that he respects his prey. They could work with that, although I think it’s more likely they turn Kraven into some champion of environmentalism. (“We must put aside our petty differences, Spider-Man; global warming is the real villain.”) And the anti-hero stuff is annoying. Kraven is a villain for Spider-Man; he was even one of the founding members of the Sinister Six! But because Sony is determined to create a universe around Spider-Man (that doesn’t feature Spider-Man), all of his villains are getting their own films. It’ll also be fun to note which of the people decrying this movie wanted to give Sony full credit for Spider-Man: No Way Home despite it having the same exact creative team as the last two.
I’m actually more interested in the other movie Aaron Taylor-Johnson was at CineEurope to promote: Bullet Train. Based on a novel by Kotaro Isaka, Bullet Train is an action-comedy about an assassin played by Brad Pitt who finds himself at odds with a series of his fellow killers-for-hire on the titular train. Taylor-Johnson refers to Bullet Train as “the summer movie you do not want to miss — I am not kidding” and goes on to describe how good-looking and funny Brad Pitt is. (And even Raylan Givens commented on the former, so I can’t fault him on that score.) He also talks about how committed everyone was to making sure Bullet Train was released in theaters. I agree with that sentiment, and it’s both weird and refreshing to watch the trailer and hear “Only in theaters” at the end. (Not that I’ve been all that good about seeing movies in theaters lately; I still haven’t checked out Top Gun: Maverick.) As for his comments about the film, well, of course he thinks the one he’s promoting is the movie of the summer, but he may also be right. In my heart of hearts, I wish it were less silly and more of a straightforward action movie, or even just had more grounded humor. (The action-comedy is one of many lost arts in Hollywood.) But it still looks like a lot of fun, and I’m hoping for the best.
What do you make of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s comments about Kraven the Hunter and Bullet Train? Are you looking forward to either of these movies? Is it a given that Kraven will one day hunt Venom and Morbius on-screen (but not Spider-Man)? Let us know in the comments, and stick around Geeks + Gamers for more movie tidbits!