Nerd Talk: How to make a great villain, staring Michael Keaton

Michale Keaton stars as Vulture in Spider-man: Homecoming and nails it.

Over the weekend I saw the new Spider-Man movie, which I’m sure shocks everyone who reads this column.

I’ve tossed around the idea of reviewing the movie, but ultimately decided against it. I don’t think I can accurately review the movie with out getting too critical, spoiler-y and ranty.

Instead I want to focus on just on part of the movie for this column. The villain, wonderfully played by Michael Keaton, of Batman fame.

What Spider-Man: Homecoming did particularly well was in regards to the main villain. In fact, I would say some other franchise should pay attention to how it was done.

Michael Keaton played a fabulous, and more importantly, a believable villain. Even with the wings and the weird alien tech, Adrien Toomes aka Vulture, was exactly the right kind of villain.

In the comic books, Vulture is not a great villain, I’ll come right out an say it. Generally speaking, he would be one of those extra villains thrown in to make things interesting, but the main villain would be someone like Doc Oc or Green Goblin or Venom.

That being said, he does consistently rank in the top 20 best Spider-man villains. though that could just be because he was the second ever villain Peter Parker ever faced as Spider-man, appearing in Amazing Spider-man No. 2 May, 1963.

Maybe what I’ve never liked about the character is how ridiculous he is, even for a comic book character.

Adrien Toomes is an older gentleman who regenerates into a younger version of himself using biometrics and some devices he invented. He creates a flight suit, which somehow – i don’t think it is ever actually explained – gives him super strength. To control the flight suit he uses a pair of wings he invents.

Ridiculous really.

I never found him particularly threatening. This is why I was really unsure about putting Vulture as the main villain in this new version of Spider-man.

I don’t know if it was Michael Keaton, the script, or a combination of the two, but Vulture was a real threat, just like a good villain should be.

He wasn’t crazy, he wasn’t out to create chaos. He wasn’t even out, initially, to destroy Spider-man.

What was great was he was a man, put in an awful situation and did what he could to come out alive and strong for his family.

That makes him real. A person many can relate to.

He uses his intellect to create everything he has become. By doing so he not only made himself quite wealthy, but also invented weapon no person should have any busy touching.

Adrien Toomes in the new Spider-man movie does everything right, right down to the confrontation towards the end of the movie.

He is a quiet, intimidating figure that blends in to his surrounding. What makes him more compelling is he is a family man, as can be seen at points throughout the movie.

Where he really shines is in the scenes against Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-man. He doesn’t go off ranting, he is cool and collect. He doesn’t immediately use brute strength to beat his way through. Instead he uses his wits and lulls not only Spider-man, but the audience, into a tense anticipation.

This is what we need in these movies. We don’t need crazy, over the top villains.

We need ones like Michael Keaton, who cause the audience to think, to hold our breath and to feel for them.

Even if they are comic book character, and those can get a little weird, make the character believable. Make them real.

I don’t care if it is some monster from outer space, hell-bent on taking over the planet Earth. I want to see the character think, the do something unexpected.

I guess, I want to see more than what is being seen.

Movie execs everywhere, take note. Be more like Michael Keaton.

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