Michael Keaton is in a unique position these days. Long before there were "cinematic universes," or a cultural landscape where superhero movies were everywhere you turned, he was the first big-screen Batman. His work with Tim Burton was considered seminal at the time and, aside from the work Christopher Reeve had finished up when he wrapped his Superman series two years prior, he was the "face" of DC and of Superhero Movies in general for a few years there.
A lot has changed in that realm since Keaton stepped away from it following Batman Returns in 1992.
Keaton is set to revisit the world of comic book movies when Marvel's Spider-Man: Homecoming comes out in July of 2017, and he sounds super impressed with the infrastructure Marvel Studios has created for its ever-expanding universe.
"I have thought about the way things have changed, because I just did Spider-Man, and Marvel? That is one well-oiled machine. It is remarkable how they have got that whole thing covered in a really qualitative way," the actor told Deadline during a recent interview.
Asked to elaborate, Keaton went on about his experience working with Marvel on Spider-Man: Homecoming. "Just how efficient it is, in the best sense, and how it operates on a practical level. How organized they are about what they make and how conscientious they are about what they have," the actor said. "They’ve got really wonderful actors for one thing, but I guess that has always been the case. Batman always had great actors surrounding that character. We had Pat Hingle and all these terrific actors. They really get that script is important, and they really protect their lore and that culture and they see the enormity of it, on a capitalistic level."
He also referred to new Spider-Man Tom Holland as "A great kid."
Keaton's effusive praise was somewhat limited by one simple fact, though: He's never seen a Marvel Studios movie.
"I haven’t seen any of those movies, though. I just haven’t. It’s not a judgment," Keaton revealed.
Regardless of how invested he is in the current Superhero Boom, one thing's for sure: Fans are excited to have him back. The response to the first glimpses of him as Vulture in last week's Spider-Man: Homecoming trailers was rapturous.
You'll get to see Keaton's return to the comic book genre when Spider-Man: Homecoming comes out on July 7, 2017.