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Once upon a time, Michael Keaton made a splash on the big screen as the first live action Batman since Adam West’s version in 1966. It’s been over 20 years since Keaton last put on the cape and cowl, and although he has no interest in revisiting superhero movies (other than playing off the genre in Birdman), he still holds the Dark Knight in high regard. In fact, he’s willing to use Batman to insult Spider-Man in front of other people.
Keaton recently recounted a tale of how he was at a phone repair store waiting to get his phone fixed, but the guy behind the counter was too busy watching one of the Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider-Man movies. As Keaton explained to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, eventually a scene came up where Peter was crying in front of Gwen Stacy. To get a reaction, Keaton called Peter a “pussy,” and when the repairman turned to look at Keaton, the former Caped Crusader stated:
Batman never cried.
The way Keaton told the story, it sounds like he said it more for shock value rather than as an actual opinion. After all, imagine that guy’s reaction when he finally realizes his customer is the former Batman, and all because Keaton used the movie to call Spider-Man a wimp. Still, we live in an age where gender norms are being overturned, so just because Batman doesn’t often shed a tear doesn’t make him better than the Web-Slinger.
Frankly, his repressed emotion is not only why he's distant from almost everyone, but also why he’s so violent towards criminals. If he didn’t have that outlet, his mind probably would have snapped long ago, and Alfred would have sent him to Arkham Asylum. Spider-Man’s just as capable a crimefighter, but more in touch with his emotions. In the end, what matters is that he’s protecting the innocent and webbing up the bad guys…though of course it’s more enjoyable when he’s dropping wisecracks.
This is just the latest dig Keaton has directed at a Marvel superhero. He recently went on record saying that Batman could easily beat The Hulk in a fight. Unless Batman created a device that reverted Hulk back into Bruce Banner, it’s fairly obvious that the Green Goliath would pummel him, but a fight between Batman and Spider-Man would be more of an even match. Spider-Man may have special abilities and a brilliant scientific mind, but Batman is also a genius, skilled fighter, and master strategist. Of all the Marvel vs. DC fights that would be great to see in live action, this ranks near the top of my wish list.
You can check out the clip below to hear Keaton’s full story of what led to his Spider-Man dig.
Keaton is currently starring in the new movie Spotlight, but as his press tour continues, we can only hope that he keeps putting Batman on a pedestal to knock down Marvel heroes.