Recently, pop culture sites have been all about the rumor that Kraven the Hunter is gonna be the villain in the next Spider-Man: Home-something, and I think that's pretty cool. Kraven has always been on the cusp of being an A-lister comic book villain. Yet, he's continuously held back by the fact that his special powers aren't being able to control sand or mechanical tentacles but rather having some traps and dope facial hair. This frustrates the heck out of him, culminating in the classic "Kraven's Last Hunt" story, where he finally gets the better of Spider-Man. Kraven buries Spider-Man alive Kill Bill-style, impersonates the web-slinger, beats a villain that gave Spider-Man trouble, then, having proven himself superior to his greatest enemy, commits suicide.
It's the kind of story that proves that, like DC was doing around the same time with epics like The Dark Knight Returns, Marvel was also willing to throw down. And it would make for a terrible movie. The whole thing is built upon the fact that, for decades of comic book history, Kraven has just been embarrassed over and over by a broke arachnid kid from Queens. Unless you're willing to build him up over multiple movies as a guy who just can't get the job done, it would mean having a story where the first two acts are Kraven fumbling all over the place and then a third act where the film gets darker than any Marvel film ever has. Just 90 minutes of banana peels and then 45 minutes of Requiem for a Dream.
So, if they happen to loosely adapt a comic story that happens to include Kraven, I'd recommend last year's "Hunted." Now, it's not a perfect story, but it's built around Kraven getting his groove back by tracking a bunch of Spider-Man's animal-themed C-list foes like Beetle, Kangaroo, Cottonmouth, Squid, etc. and some of the villains that have managed to transcend their nature-themed outfits and become popular like Rhino, Scorpion and Vulture. It's a story that hits you in a cool "That's so awesome that they should've done it, like, 30 years ago" kind of way. But I think it would make for a good Spider-Man movie for three reasons:
1) It would finally give us a chance to see an expanded rogues' gallery for Spider-Man, who has one of the best ones on the planet. Spider-Man films have had villain team-ups like 3, Amazing 2 and Homecoming in a way, but I'd love to hint at a larger world where, after the credits, Spider-Man has to go pummel some dork named "Stegron."
2) It would kinda display a version of the what the beginning of Spider-Man 4, a film I'm still sad about, was supposed to be. In an opening montage, Spider-Man was to be seen taking down a parade of his less notorious villains, and I desperately want to see on the big screen. Ya know, if big screens are still a thing and the world exists whenever Spider-Man: Home ... Depot(?) comes out.
3) It would build Kraven up to be a credible threat before pitting him against Spider-Man. Look, it's 2020. Kraven's "I used to fight lions, but now I want to fight a spider dude" sounds very cute after Spider-Man has helped defeat Thanos. But there's a reason that, when they introduce a new extra-buff character in professional wrestling, they have him face a bunch of 70-pound dudes from Idaho. Ya gotta lend him some presence. If a dude with a goatee and a big cat vest shows up threatening to kick Spider-Man's ass, your only sense of fear comes from him maybe becoming your new step-dad.
But if that dude shows up after kicking the shit out of 16 other super-villains, you start to get nervous for Peter Parker.
Anyway, I'm all for Kraven being the next Spider-Man villain. I just want him to live up to his potential and star in the second-best Spider-Man 3 ever.
Daniel Dockery is a writer for the internet. You can follow him on Twitter!