Michael Keaton famously starred as Bruce Wayne/Batman in Tim Burton’s 1989 film, Batman, which changed the trajectory of the superhero genre. As it turns out, Keaton watched Batman in its entirety then never saw a single comic book-based film ever again.
“After the first Batman, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an entire [comic book] movie,” Keaton said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
The actor doesn’t have a particular reason, other than simply being too busy to sit down and watch the mountain of superhero films made since 1989. “I just never got around to it. So you’re talking to a guy who wasn’t in the zeitgeist of that whole world,” the Birdman actor said. “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.”
Keaton recently reprised his role as Vulture for Marvel’s 2022 feature Morbius, where his lack of background on the MCU caught up with him. “I’m nodding like I know what the fuck they’re talking about. I go, ‘Uh-huh.’ And I’m thinking, ‘You may as well be explaining quantum physics right now to me. All I know is I just know my guy. And I know the basics,’” Keaton said. “So finally, they were looking at me, and they just started laughing. They said, ‘You don’t know what we’re talking about, do you?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t, no idea what you’re talking about.’”
In addition to playing Vulture, Keaton recently suited up as Batman once again for Andy Muschietti’s The Flash starring Ezra Miller, which allowed him to see if he still had the chops needed to ace the character over 30 years later. “Frankly, in the back of my head, I always thought, ‘I bet I could go back and nail that motherfucker,’” Keaton explained. He walked away from the superhero franchise when he disliked the script for the 1995 Joel Schumacher movie Batman Forever. “And so I thought, ‘Well, now that they’re asking me, let me see if I can pull that off.’”
The Flash will not only bring back Keaton’s version of Batman, but also Ben Affleck’s, in the time-bending film based on the Flashpoint comics. However, it took more than a couple of reads for Keaton to fully understand the multiverse aspect of the film. “I had to read it more than three times to go, ‘Wait, how does this work?’” Keaton recalled.
“They had to explain that to me several times. By the way, I’m not being arrogant, I hope, about this. I don’t say it like, ‘I’m too groovy.’ I’m stupid. There’s a lot of things I don’t know about. And so, I don’t know, I just kind of figured it out, but this was different,” Keaton added. “What’s really interesting is how much more I got [Batman] when I went back and did him. I get this on a whole other level now. I totally respect it. I respect what people are trying to make.”
The Flash is set to premiere sometime in November 2022.