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Between the Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC Extended Universe, and X-Men franchise, superheroes are everywhere. And since the genre has become such a critically acclaimed and insanely profitable aspect of Hollywood, many actors have the privilege to play multiple comic book characters across their career. Josh Brolin has Cable and Thanos, Chris Evans was the Human Torch before Captain America, and now the legendary Michael Keaton is playing the villainous Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming. But Keaton was also the first live-action Batman for the silver screen, playing Bruce Wayne in Tim Burton's two Batman movies. So how does the experience compare? It turns out, they're completely different.
Yeah, this sounds about right. In addition to being based off of a different comic book conglomerates, the MCU is a group effort, while Batman and Batman Returns were passion projects for Tim Burton.
From the start of his involvement as Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Michael Keaton has made it clear how impressed he is by the massive production that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These movies aren't capsulated; they affect a variety of characters' trajectory in the universe. It's this shared storytelling that seems to be particularly mystifying for Keaton, and it sounds like he's thrilled to be apart of such a vast pool of characters.
Conversely, the first two Batman movies were the brain children of Tim Burton. The iconic director's superhero movies were greenlit after the success of Beetlejuice, which also starred Keaton. Many actors have praised Burton's originality and vision, and his Batman films are the best of the original franchise. But there were significantly less cooks in the kitchen back then, with Burton able to take the reins and steer his films to wherever he wanted them to go. And when the director left before Batman Forever, Keaton went along with him.
Personally, I'm hoping that Michael Keaton's performance as Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming helps to solve the MCU's villain problem. If he's able to be complex, layered, and actually matter in the larger MCU, then fans should be happy. And it'll be even better if he makes a return appearance.