Sony has silently taken off El Muerto from the January 2024 release schedule. Now, this was likely due to the writer’s strike, which is having a huge impact on the industry as a whole. There’s no telling how long the strike will last, but studios like Sony and Marvel are having their release dates ruffled because of this movement. However, could this be a blessing in disguise for Sony?
The Sony spin-offs aren’t exactly off to a great start. Financially speaking, Venom tracked extremely well. Critically, the franchise is faltering due to the lack of Spider-Man. Same thing with Morbius. That isn’t to say that great material can’t be made out of these features, but the Spidey spin-offs feel pointless without the masked vigilante because they lack any true purpose.
El Muerto Just Isn’t A Rich Character Like Most Of Spider-Man’s Big Villains
Infamous names like Kraven the Hunter, Green Goblin, or Doc Ock are compelling villains because they have a rich backstory. El Muerto does a layered backstory, but it’s nothing original and exciting. There hasn’t been much development of the character as he’s still a relatively new name in the Spider-Man world.
A quick summary of El Muerto is that he grew up in a family full of masked heroes. The character wears a black mask with a skull that carries incredible supernatural strength. The powers were expected to carry down to Juan-Carlos Sanchez. However, Sanchez wasn’t keen on receiving the power and refused to fight El Dorado as part of a ritual for the mask.
El Dorado decided to try to kill Sanchez but ultimately failed. Sanchez took the mantle of the mask, but he needs to unmask a hero. That’s where Spider-Man comes in. He never unmasks the vigilante as Spider-Man gets the better of him in a wrestling match. The two would eventually team up when Dorado returns to kill Muerto. And that’s it.
There isn’t a lengthy history of the character fighting alongside other heroes. Nor are there more stories about him being a villain. His claim to Spidey fame is trying to wrestle the web-slinger. It’s quite a lame story, to be honest. Is it possible to make a strong film out of this little snippet? Yes! A good filmmaker can make a great story out of anything.
There’s Not Much Appeal To The Comic Book Character
However, there’s simply not much interest in El Muerto. His powers are generic. The Hulk has super strength. So does Bane. Or Superman. The list goes on and on. His backstory can produce something compelling, but it’s just not original as the luchador storyline has been explored in both movies and television previously.
His rivalry with Spider-Man doesn’t have much heat as well. El Muerto comes off as an anti-hero, but even that element isn’t intriguing enough. As previously mentioned, it’s not impossible to make this character work. However, the writers will surely have their work cut out for them trying to make him a unique character that’s worthy of a Spider-Man spin-off.
Should Sony Move Forward With The Spider-Man Spin-off?
The one good thing is that El Muerto’s story heavily plays off Mexican culture. It allows audiences into a different and vibrant world that makes the anti-hero stand out from the other heroes on display. Realistically speaking, it would be best if Sony scrapped this film altogether. Will Spider-Man and El Muerto ever do battle in the squared circle? In fact, will Spider-Man ever pop up in one of the origin spin-offs?
It would be great if he did, but the comic book isn’t good enough to warrant a solo feature. I could easily be wrong as Jonas Cuaron is a good enough filmmaker to make this the best entry out of the Spider-Man spin-offs.
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