Sony is in the bad guy business. Since the studio lent out Peter Parker to the MCU, despite owning the right to make movies about Spider-Man, Sony has tried to construct its own shared universe around the wall-crawler’s sinister foes. Thus far, the results have been mixed. Venom and its sequel Venom: Let There Be Carnage found an audience for their zany rom-com takes on the symbiote, while Morbius inspired memes instead of box office receipts.
Sony hopes to avoid ironic support with its third Spider-verse live-action movie Kraven the Hunter by going even darker than its movies about literal monsters. A trailer released at CinemaCon not only revealed an R rating, but also a hint at the language and visuals that earned that distinction. The description from DiscussingFilm captures the general tone of the trailer, in which the title character is “killing everyone quite literally like an animal,” using “everything from huge spears to fully-sized bear traps to decapitate and chop up goons to pieces.”
The hard-edged approach breaks not only from Sony’s supervillain movies but from all Spider-Man films. Despite being helmed by Sam Raimi, the horror director who gave the world Evil Dead, 2002’s Spider-Man and its two sequels earned an audience-friendly PG-13 rating. The same is true of the Spider-Man movies starring Tom Holland, in keeping with the rest of the MCU, as well as The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel, which did show hints of Sony’s edgier house style.
But while an R-rating is new for Spider-Man and his amazing spider-foes, it’s not unique to Marvel movies. While 1986’s Howard the Duck, the House of Ideas’ first foray onto the big screen, had a PG rating, the company accepted an R-rating for its second movie, Blade — and with good reason. Both the 1998 original and its two sequels featured copious amounts of blood and strong language, as the Daywalker gleefully slashed through some motherfuckers trying to skate uphill. Anything less than an R-rating would have likely been a disservice to the character.