Michael Keaton is no stranger to superhero related projects. After donning the cowl to play Batman in the late 80s and early 90s, he suited up once again for Birdman, a film that oftentimes criticized the Hollywood model and its fixation on superheroes and franchises. But this didn’t keep Keaton from suiting up once more in a new role as Adrian Toomes, aka Vulture, in Spider-Man: Homecoming. And while, Toomes isn’t the only villain Tom Holland’s teenage Spider-Man is set to battle, he will pose the biggest and most immediate threat.
The trailers for Homecoming have shown a few quick glimpses at Vulture’s mechanical suit, but the motivations behind Spidey’s newest foe have not been discussed. Creating compelling villains has been a point of criticism against the MCU, but Keaton makes it sound like his role may well be the part that breaks an unfortunate trend.
While speaking with Keaton about his upcoming film The Founder, Variety asked about his villainous portrayals of the past and the “inherent likability” he brings to those roles. Keaton says that likability may not be there for this role, but he believes the Toomes character brings an element to the screen to which audiences may relate.
“… not to give too much away, but interestingly, he is and he isn’t, that character. He’s a really interesting — and more interesting than I thought — villain because there’s parts of him that you go, “You know what? I might see his point.” Really, really. It makes it interesting to play”
Given Marvel’s struggles in creating memorable villains, and Sony’s previous tendency to have a surplus of villains involved in its Spider-Man films, hopefully the studios have found a way for Vulture to be a strong first villain for the new franchise.
Keaton went on to say he’s happy to be involved in Homecoming and they shifted his busy schedule slightly to ensure his participation in the film. If true, that demonstrates Sony and Marvel’s commitment to securing top-notch talent for what is likely going to be the first of many outings by Tom Holland’s wall crawler. And as the movie’s summer release draws closer, there will no doubt be more information on what drives Toomes and just what kind of threat he poses in the film. While it may be difficult to get audiences to relate to a villain in a pair of mechanized wings, it’s a good bet that someone with Keaton’s talent and onscreen presence will come as close to pulling it off as possible.