For someone with such an extensive background in superhero cinema, it’s admittedly a bit of a surprise to hear Michael Keaton say that he doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. After all, the actor will be fully aware of how well-received his stint as Tim Burton’s Batman continues to be over 30 years later, and in the last few years he’s been making a name for himself in the genre all over again.
He landed an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor after subverting both comic book adaptations and his own reputation in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), and then terrorized Tom Holland as Adrian Toomes in Spider-Man: Homecoming, a role he’s set to reprise in January of next year when Morbius finally makes it to theaters.
To cap it all off, he’s making the comeback nobody thought possible when Andy Muschietti’s The Flash arrives in November 2022, with Keaton revealing that he always thought he’d be able to give the Dark Knight another go. In a new interview, though, the 69 year-old admitted that he’s never understood the appeal of the superhero blockbuster, or how it managed to strike such a fervent chord with audiences everywhere.
“After the first Batman, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an entire comic book movie. I just never got around to it. So you’re talking to a guy who wasn’t in the zeitgeist of that whole world. When I went down to do the Marvel things in Atlanta. It’s an entire city dedicated to Marvel. They’ll be doing Marvel movies forever. I’ll be dead, and they’ll still be doing Marvel movies.”
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In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter if Keaton understands it or not, because he’s an icon of the genre regardless. He’s part of two Marvel universes and hasn’t got the faintest idea of how it all ties together, but when you’re arguably the greatest live-action Batman of all-time, you just need to focus on your own performance and let other people take care of the world-building and connective tissue on your behalf.