John Malkovich & Anne Hathaway vs. Spider-Man?

Here’s the latest weird rumor about the villain plans for Sam Raimi’s long-awaited Spider-Man 4. Although everyone’s been waiting for Dylan Baker’s Dr. Curt Connors to make his inevitable transformation into the Lizard, that may still be on hold in favor of always-excellently-villainous John Malkovich stepping into the role of the surly bald creep Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture. That actually sounds like an inspired bit of casting, and that should work well if it turns out to be true.

The weird part comes in with the rumors of Anne Hathaway being considered for Felicia Hardy, who Spidey fans know and love as the sultry thief calling herself the Black Cat. FYI, we can thank Marvel and DC comic book universes feeding off of each other’s creativity quite often for the fact that both Spider-Man and Batman have insanely sexy black-clad cat burglars who get far too close to them for comfort. Now it’s not that weird that casting folks would think it’s a good idea put Hathaway in a form-fitting catsuit – she’s even got that weirdly feline philtrum working for her. But it is weird that there is talk that Felicia Hardy will not be the Black Cat, but rather a wholly new costumed identity called “The Vulturess.”

Anne Hathaway (Bryan Bedder/Getty) as Felicia Hardy

Anne Hathaway (Bryan Bedder/Getty) as Felicia Hardy

If this were to pass, the anguished cries of fans would drown out the wind.

However, it may behoove us to wonder why these decisions would be made, so here is some completely idle speculation. Delaying the Lizard yet again may mean the suits are concerned about the middling response to Spider-Man 3 and its decidedly inhuman bad guys, and heading back towards a more human Doc Ock type might make for better audience reaction. If that’s the case, it can’t be their call to keep Hathaway out of the aforementioned cleavagey black catsuit with fluffy white trim, which would cause an entirely human reaction in viewers, if you know what I mean. So one could think that putting her in a birdsuit instead is a creative decision by Raimi and his writers to try and avoid the inevitable comparisons to Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, since the smart money says Nolan needs to go in the Catwoman direction for the next film to change things up after The Dark Knight eliminated all their female characters, and since Selina Kyle is a much more famous comic-book cat burglar anyway.

But the Vulturess? Yeesh.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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