'Spider-Man': Check out the first photos of Michael Keaton as Vulture
Meet the Vulture, the Marvel supervillain with the most fitting nom de crime.
He might have a cool name but Michael Keaton’s bad guy in Spider-Man: Homecoming (in theaters July 7) differs from the likes of Avengers villains Loki and Thanos in one important sense: He’s an everyman.
“My whole approach for this movie is that we’ve seen the penthouse level of the (Marvel) universe,” says director Jon Watts (Cop Car). “We’ve seen what it’s like to be a billionaire inventor and to be a Norse god. We’ve seen the very top of this world. But we’ve never seen what it’s like to be just a regular joe.”
A feathered fiend from 1963 who was the second villain Spidey faced in comic books, the Vulture is getting a modern makeover with a wicked high-tech wing suit and even a relatable day job.
Fourteen previous Marvel films have seen a number of huge superhero battles leave a ton of destruction in their wake, and Adrian Toomes (Keaton) is a blue-collar sort who runs a New York salvaging company that cleans up after these messes. However, he becomes irked when after one altercation, a new government organization, founded by A-list businessman Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), steps in to take over.
Toomes “has a bone to pick” with Iron Man’s high-profile alter ego, says co-producer Eric Hauserman Carroll, and "sort of becomes the dark Tony Stark": He and his crew — including the Shocker (Bokeem Woodbine) and the Tinkerer (Michael Chernus) — use scavenged alien artifacts and stolen advanced tech to put together amazing weaponry to sell to other criminals. "He thinks once he has this money and power, he'll have more control of his life," Carroll adds. However, it doesn’t take too long before they get on the radar of their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man (Tom Holland).
“Some people see themselves as victims — he sees himself a little bit like that,” Keaton says of Toomes. “He probably would have a strong argument that he never got a fair shot — a lot of ‘Why not me? Where’s mine?’ ”
Watts found inspiration for Vulture’s “ground-level perspective” in John C. Reilly’s supporting character in Guardians of the Galaxy who's a normal guy who gets caught up in a cosmic life-or-death situation.
“I like the idea that in these huge movies, you pick out one extra and you’re like, ‘What does he think of all this?’ ” Watts says. “Sometimes these movies are so casual about just destroying whole cities and incredible things happen and everyone’s like, ‘Eh, whatever.’ If that really happened, it would be amazing and change everything.”
Plus, with his new baddie Watts gets to use "this neat junk from all the other movies," he says. "It’s a really great starting point for the villains to have the Vulture picking over the stuff and finding the valuable exotic elements and having the Tinkerer assemble into something that could be used.”
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a place “where you can be a villain and a real person, too,” Watts says. “Being a supervillain isn’t necessarily your full-time job.”