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Michael Keaton tastes other side of the cape as villain Vulture in 'Spider-Man'

Keaton's portrayal of Batman was wildly popular in the late 1980s and early 90s. But the landscape of superhero movies has changed quite a bit since.

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Michael Keaton arrives at the American Riviera Award ceremony held at the Arlington Theatre on Feb. 5, in Santa Barbara, Calif.

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Actor Michael Keaton, a veteran of the “Batman” film series, will star in the upcoming “Spider-Man” film “Spider-Man: Homecoming” as the villain the Vulture. 

Mr. Keaton is, of course, no stranger to the superhero world, having starred in two "Batman" films as the Caped Crusader in 1989 and 1992. But much has changed in the superhero movie world since Keaton portrayed Bruce Wayne some 25 years ago.

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Their cultural presence has of course grown enormously. When “Batman Returns” was released in 1992, it was the only superhero film to be anywhere near the top of the list of highest-grossing movies domestically that year. Another major superhero series, the “Superman” films starring Christopher Reeve, had ended several years before with “Superman IV.” 

Both network and streaming TV is full of superhero programming today, with Fox airing Batman series “Gotham” and ABC airing “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and both the CW and Netflix presenting multiple superhero TV shows. 

Superhero programs were much less of a presence in the 1980s and 90s.

In the early 1990s, network television was still the highest-profile form of TV and the schedules of the networks included shows such as “Married... with Children,” “Murphy Brown,” and “Roseanne.” The WB (the precursor to the CW) and Netflix, now the homes of multiple superhero shows, had not yet appeared.

ABC's "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" enjoyed a four-season run from 1993-1997, but a CBS version of “The Flash” that debuted in 1990 only lasted one season.

Keaton retired his portrayal of Batman in 1992 after the 1992 film "Batman Returns." He donned the superhero cape once more in the 2014 drama "Birdman," in which he played a faded movie star who had previously found acclaim playing the superhero Birdman. That performance earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. His performance in "Spotlight" the following year helped earn that film the Oscar for Best Motion Picture of the Year.

“Homecoming,” which will also star Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Zendaya, and Donald Glover, will be released in the summer of 2017.


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