While Spider-Man movies usually pivot between fantastic flights of fantasy and god-awful depending on the outcome of a groundhog seeing its shadow, the same can’t be said for the villains who harass the wallcrawler on the big screen. Spider-Man has a fantastic rogues gallery, a collection of villains who represent everything from totem animals through to high tech folklore running riot.
But after several movies, there is at least one other villain who has never made an appearance: The Vulture. Sure, the idea of a geriatric in a flying suit sounds like a minor-league threat at best for the spectacular web-slinger, but he’s so much more than that. And who better than a former Birdman to portray the complex foe? I’m not talking about Tony Hawk, but rather Michael Keaton as Marvel officially confirmed that the dark knight of the 1990s will be suiting up for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
“We’ve had a wish list and most of them in the near-term are coming together,” Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige said to the Toronto Sun via Newsarama about the upcoming selection of villains in their movies.
Cate Blanchett is playing Hela in Thor: Ragnarok. Michael Keaton’s Vulture in Spider-Man is something. And of course, finally, we’re showcasing Josh Brolin’s Thanos (in Avengers: Infinity War). We’re looking forward to that very much.
In the Spider-Man comics, the Vulture is usually Adrian Toomes. An inventor by trade, Toomes teamed up with Gregory Bestman to handle his finances and set about creating all manner of gadgets. And then he discovered that Bestman had managed to embezzle all of his profits in a manner that he couldn’t legally fight so he went ape and strapped on his new flying harness and turned to crime. The harness allows Toomes to not only fly, but also gives him a considerable strength boost towards superhuman levels.
Years back before Disney and Sony settled on a new Spider-Man deal, it was rumoured that John Malkovich would eventually portray the Vulture in a Spider-Man movie. Fortunately, things changed and Keaton became linked with the role. And that’s one hell of a choice, as Keaton can still act circles around anyone these days. Go check out Birdman to get a taste of his avian acting skills.
UPDATE: And thanks to some leaked concept art, we now have another, more detailed look at Keaton’s Vulture will look like. This new piece fits in for the most part with the previous bit of concept art up top, but here the wings are a lot smaller and the exo-skeleton a lot more subdued.
As you can see, there appears to be some kind of stand behind the figure in this piece, so it’s more than likely that this is artwork created for the inevitable tie-in action figure.
Spider-Man: Homecoming swings in next year July, and also stars Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Robert Downey Jr., Kenneth Choi, Donald Glover, Zendaya Coleman and Jon Favreau.
Last Updated: November 9, 2016