ByRodrigo Mariano, writer at
I'm that one guy you get annoyed with because he talks about movies too much, but I'm also the one guy you love to talk movies with.
Rodrigo Mariano

Michael Keaton has had a long history with the superhero genre. Since his debut as Bruce Wayne in Tim Burton's Batman in 1989, he has been synonymous with his iconic portrayal as the Caped Crusader. No one expected him to go back to the genre — that is, until picked him up to portray Adrian Toomes in its fresh new iteration of Spider-Man. With Sony and Marvel teaming up to introduce Spidey into the , choosing Keaton as the antagonist was a huge step in the right direction.

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One film that figured into that decision was also one that was instrumental in the veteran's comeback as a leading man. or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) was hailed for its layered themes and meta story, including the portrayal of Keaton as a washed-up former superhero performer. Birdman, which is in part about an actor who is trying to make a name for himself beyond the character, clearly mirrors events that occurred in Keaton's career.

But it may have also predicted Keaton's turn as the Vulture in a most likely unintentional though unexpected way.

The Birdmen

First off, and most obvious of the connections, is the fact that Keaton is playing both birdmen, and if you're counting Batman, it's clear he has had an established history portraying flying creatures. Starting as the titular hero in Batman, Keaton continued to follow the character of Bruce Wayne in a sequel. When director Burton left the franchise, the actor refused to do another sequel because it simply "sucked." Like his character of Riggan Thomson in Birdman, he refused to do another one.

In the film it is revealed that Thomson now sees Birdman as a villain, one that hovers over his life, refusing to let this character overcome him. In Spider-Man: Homecoming he will become that villain, and of course it is one resembling a bird. It's interesting to see how Keaton's career has a character arc of its own, one deserving of an actor with range like himself.

The Times Square Scene

Beside the fact that he's playing another birdman, in addition to the fact that both films take place in New York City, this specific scene is the very core of the argument. In the Times Square sequence, Riggan finds himself in a situation where he is forced to walk into the streets of the busiest place in the whole city. He is faced with desperate fans, as well as haters, following the former superhero all while he is running in his underwear.

But what is most striking is the appearance of a few familiar characters in the background. It's pretty cool how the only characters from other superhero properties, Iron Man and , are the ones that appear in this one.

This is especially due to the fact that they are the exact same heroes Keaton is going toe to toe with in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Though it was most likely a huge coincidence.

Do you think Michael Keaton's cinematic past foreshadowed his coming appearance in Spider-Man: Homecoming? Sound off in the comments below and check out the trailer for the film below, which hits cinemas on July 7.

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[Sources: The Hollywood Reporter; Vanity Fair]


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