Can Bloodshot and Vin Diesel Launch the Next Marvel Cinematic Universe?

If you’re getting tired of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and can’t keep up with the DC franchise’s terribly inconsistent batting average, Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot would like to offer you an alternative.

The movie, which stars Diesel as a super-soldier turned superhero, just dropped, and it seems promising—even if it’s hard to fathom that it could actually be a serious contender for the MCU’s throne.

As the trailer explains, Diesel plays Ray Garrison, a soldier who is killed in combat and then revived by a shadowy organization that provides unwanted technological enhancements to its “recruits.” Garrison is implanted with nanobots that provide him with super strength and the ability to instantly regenerate from any wound.

The visuals of Garrison’s healing are just gory enough and a unique take on a common superhero trope, and they’re a good sign that Bloodshot will be more than just an updated Robocop—especially because, like the cybernetic hero of that cult ’80s movie, Garrison is being used by his creators, and he’ll eventually turn against them.

Bloodshot is based on a comic series from Valiant Comics, a publisher that’s been around in various forms since the late ’80s and offers readers a superhero comic universe, not unlike its more popular competitors DC and Marvel. Valiant’s universe, which relaunched in 2012 and therefore is a lot less bloated and confusing than the Big Two’s continuity-tangled webs, has a lot going for it, and Bloodshot was intended to launch a film franchise to match its competitors’ big-screen exploits.

Bloodshot is essentially the Valiant Cinematic Universe’s Iron Man, with more movies focusing on other characters intended to follow before leading up to an Avengers-style crossover based on the comic event Harbinger Wars.

Except, there was a problem. Bloodshot is being made by Sony, but the rights to Harbinger, the next planned film about a group of superhero teens, recently switched over to Paramount Pictures in September. As the repeated battles between Marvel and Sony over Spider-Man have shown, getting rival studios to play nice isn’t easy. As a result, Bloodshot might just end up being a standalone film—more of a Venom or a Morbius than an Iron Man.

Still, watching Fast & Furious mainstay Vin Diesel essentially play a more gruesome version of Hobbs & Shaw’s superpowered villain might be fun enough to make Bloodshot worth your time, even if it can’t dangle shared continuity in front of audiences.

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