Michael Keaton is the original Batman

Michael Keaton: “I Have Other Sh*t To Do” Than Watch My Comic Book Movies

As an actor, Michael Keaton is a superior example. As a comic book movie fan, he’s not the greatest portrayal of loyalty. Here’s why.

It may surprise you that more than five dozen actors have been in both DC and Marvel movies–among the top of that list is Michael Keaton. During the second half of his decorated career, Keaton has enjoyed acclaim and awards for his fantastic skill.

  • An Oscar nomination for Best Actor in Birdman in 2015
  • An Emmy nomination for Best Actor in Dopesick in 2021
  • Four SAG winners for Dopesick, Birdman, Spotlight in 2016, and The Trial of the Chicago 7 in 2021
Michael Keaton was once only a comedic actor.
Beetlejuice: The man, the freak, the legend.
Credit: Jane O’Neal via Warner Bros./The Geffen Co.

Michael Keaton has proven his talent to the masses. Yet, the former comedic actor of the 1980s needed help breaking out of that mold.

Watch Michael Keaton’s early work if you want to see an actor execute some fantastic writing. Note him as Bill Blazejowski in Night Shift (1982), Jack Butler in Mr. Mom (1983), Hunt Stevenson in Gung Ho (1986), or the titular lead role in Beetlejuice (1988).

Yet, he seemed to be pigeonholed in slapstick roles. Perhaps he wanted out. Maybe he whispered some angst about that to his 1988 director, Tim Burton. And he, being of mercurial mind and visionary work may have told Keaton, “Hold my beer.”

The result was 1989’s Batman, which changed Michael Keaton’s career forever.

Back in a Flash

Michael Keaton in "The Flash" may have to come face-to-face with an old foe -- his comic book movies.
Hit him, Bruce! (Credit: Chiabella James via Warner Bros./DC Entertainment)

In 1989, Michael Keaton shocked the world as Bruce Wayne and Batman. In 1992, he returned, left, and never looked back. While building his image as a serious actor, he dabbled in fandom projects. You know the films: Cars as “Chick Hicks” (2006), Toy Story as “Ken” (2010), and RoboCop as “Raymond Sellers” (2014).

But, it wasn’t until 2017 that Michael Keaton returned to the comic book movie world. There he was as Adrian Tommes or “Vulture” in Spider-Man: Homecoming. It was glorious, and fans of the OG Batman were thrilled to hear he may return–again.

Despite the fanfare and hoopla about his appearance on the Silver Screen back in the warm embrace of nerds, he admitted to Variety that he has never seen a DC Comics or Marvel Studios movie from start to finish.

I know people don’t believe this, that I’ve never seen an entire version of any of those movies — any Marvel movie, any other. And I don’t say that I don’t watch that because I’m highbrow — trust me! It’s not that. It’s just that there’s very little things I watch. I start watching something, and think it is great and I watch three episodes, but I have other shit to do!

Michael Keaton to Emily Longeretta, Variety, August 1, 2022

Among the collection of turds he finds himself entangled, Keaton is donning the cape and the cowl again in the June 2023 film, The Flash. In what will be DC Comics and Warner Bros. stroll into the multiverse, fans are delirious to know that Keaton is back (allegedly along with Batfleck). There have been bat signal sightings in an HBO Max Batgirl movie.

So, why come back to the role that catapulted him into drama?

It seemed like fun. I was curious what it would be like after this many years. Not so much me doing it—obviously, some of that—but I was just curious about it, weirdly, socially. This whole thing is gigantic. [DC and Marvel] have their entirely own world. So, I like to look at it as an outsider, thinking ‘Holy moly!’

Michael Keaton to Emily Longeretta, Variety, August 1, 2022

Fun?! I guess once a comedic actor, always a comedic actor. The man likes to laugh. Can’t wait to see the OG next year.

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