Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture, in the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming, might not be the first MCU villain to be a father, but he’s definitely the first villainous character defined by his status as a struggling working-class dad.
In a recent interview with Screenrant, the actor spoke about his character’s potential as a more sympathetic villain, who feels victimized by Tony Stark and the newly established Department of Damage Control for taking his job cleaning up after superhero battles, especially since he’s a father struggling to provide for his children.
Adrian Toomes has “kid’s drawings on the fridge” in his hideout, according to interviewer Rob Keyes. And Michael Keaton explains, “He takes things in that he feels like a victim, and some of it is justified actually. He believes that there’s an upper echelon of society of people who are getting away with a lot and have everything. And there’s a whole lot of folks who are working hard, and don’t have much.” Tony Stark represents that “upper echelon,” and the Vulture fights back against the social climate just as much as he does with Spider-Man and Iron Man.
Whereas previous Marvel bad dads like Thanos and The Incredible Hulk’s General Ross did more victimizing than they did playing victim, the Vulture’s origins are much more humble. And while Baron Zemo from Captain America: Civil War was also a father victimized by Tony Stark, his villainous arc was shadowed in secrecy and much less politically charged. For the Vulture, it’s perhaps less about revenge and more about righting society’s wrongs.
“He’s built this business, this company,” Keaton explains. “He works hard. And they took it from him.” Keaton agrees that his character is more of a blue-collar villain that the MCU has ever seen, and he’s even got his loyal crew of coworkers than join him. “World’s changing boys,” he says to them in the international trailer below. “It’s time we change, too.” So who knows if this working-class dad of a villain will remain sympathetic throughout Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into theaters July 7, 2017.