Michael Keaton is a man who knows superhero movies, so who better to compare films like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Batman? In 1989 be played the title role in Batman. He played Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego again three years later in Batman Returns. And in the movie Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) he portrayed an actor who became famous after playing a superhero — a role that haunted him throughout his life. Now he is set to see things from the other side, as villain Adrian Toombs/Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Toombs is a classic Spider-Man villain, the second bad guy that Spider-Man encountered in the comics. In the film, he’s a man who runs a salvaging company and uses a set of mechanical wings to aid him in his crimes. Vulture is meant to be a more grounded bad guy than some of the others seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rather than trying to rule the world or take over the city, he is someone turning to crime simply to improve his life.
To promote Spider-Man: Homecoming Keaton recently made an appearance on Ellen. The talk show host pointed out that Keaton’s portrayal of Batman was 28 years ago and asked him the difference between the two superhero films. Keaton started off by keeping it simple. “One’s a bat and the other’s a spider.” But then he went further in depth as to how the films are different:
“It’s really different. Really really different in terms of how they’re made. You know, when you think about what Tim did, Tim Burton, who to me is an…there’s just no one like him. He’s truly unique and he’s an artist and I just love working with him… The Marvel people are kind of amazing. You know, there’s all that interconnected lore of Iron Man and all those… I’ll tell you, there are so many characters. You have no idea how many characters there are in the Marvel world that we haven’t even heard of yet.”
A little bit vague, but it sounds as though Keaton finds the scope to be the biggest difference. Spider-Man: Homecoming is very much a part of the MCU whereas Batman was an individual story with its own focus.
Keaton went on to explain that he was unfamiliar with Vulture and Spider-Man, so he reached out for a little help in understanding the character and the history. He would call his friend Mary and ask to speak to her two daughters — ages 9 and 11 — to ask them questions about Spider-Man. Keaton went so far as to claim he formed his character out of his conversations with the two little girls.
They also touched on the film’s young star, Tom Holland — who Keaton describes as “Extraordinary” before bragging about “Kicking his little butt in the movie.” To which Ellen points out that in Marvel, the bad guys rarely win in the end.