Both the MCU and DCEU failed Michael Keaton’s roles as Vulture and Batman, despite their initial excitement and potential. The execution of Vulture’s universe jump in the MCU was confusing, leaving many unanswered questions and rendering the character laughable. In the DCEU, Keaton’s Batman was underutilized and primarily used for nostalgia purposes, lacking depth and meaningful development. Both franchises have the potential to fix these mistakes in future projects.

Both the MCU and DCEU failed iconic actor Michael Keaton in the exact same way. In the MCU, Keaton plays sympathetic villain Adrian Toomes aka The Vulture, the first major foe to fight Peter Parker’s Spider-Man (Tom Holland) as seen in Spider-Man: Homecoming. In the DCEU, Keaton’s Bruce Wayne was brought out of retirement to don the cape and cowl as Batman once more as seen in The Flash, agreeing to help Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) fix the fractured timeline. However, both of Keaton’s roles have ultimately been failed.

Initially, Keaton’s involvement in both the MCU and DCEU was incredibly good and exciting. The Vulture is still one of the MCU’s best villains, having a very compelling origin while having a very dynamic rivalry with Peter Parker. Likewise, the excitement for Keaton’s return as Batman in The Flash was huge, having played the Dark Knight in Tim Burton’s films 31 years prior. However, although the exact same missteps occurred regarding Vulture and Batman, they could also be fixed in the same fashion as well.

Related: The Flash Bombshell Makes DC’s Mistreatment Of Keaton’s Batman So Much Worse

DC & Marvel’s Movies Both Wasted Michael Keaton Via The Multiverse

Despite his imprisonment in the MCU since the events of 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, Keaton’s Vulture became a victim of the multiversal mayhem that occurred in 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. Although Spider-Man and Doctor Strange successfully repaired the tear in reality they inadvertently created, Toomes became what 2023’s Across the Spider-Verse refers to as an anomaly, beings who get randomly tossed across time and space in the fallout of multiversal tampering. In Vulture’s case, this meant being transported to Sony’s universe as seen at the end of 2022’s Morbius.

However, the execution of Vulture’s universe jump was rather confusing, leaving several questions such as why Vulture sought out Morbius, why he just assumed it was Spider-Man’s fault, as well as why Morbius himself would be interested in teaming up with Toomes or would also care about Spider-Man. While the goal was seemingly an attempt by Sony to haphazardly build the foundations for an eventual Sinister Six villain movie they’ve been trying to make for years, this first try with Vulture was laughable especially when there were initial plans to have Keaton’s Vutulre appear in No Way Home (but was ultimately discarded).

In the same vein, DC’s multiverse ultimately failed Keaton’s Batman as well. Rather than The Flash taking the time to delve into all that had happened to Bruce Wayne and fully explore several interesting mysteries (like why he retired), Batman agreed to help Barry far too quickly. Likewise, much of Batman’s screen time in The Flash was action-based. While visually exciting, very little dimension to the character was offered making Keaton’s return rather underwhelming. He could have been very compelling, and yet the multiverse essentially made Keaton’s Batman a walking, talking prop primarily for nostalgia purposes (rather than elevating the narrative in any lasting or meaningful way).

Related: DC Wasted 31 Years, 3 Movies & $500M Just To Insult Michael Keaton’s Batman

The MCU & DCU Can Both Fix Their Keaton Mistakes The Same Way, Too

Michael Keaton’s MCU and DCEU roles are both prime examples of what not to do with the multiverse. However, the concept of the multiverse itself isn’t bad per se. There’s both narrative and multiversal potential to get both characters back on track, albeit with intentional and more satisfying methods.

Keaton could still come back to the MCU with allies even with the rocky start featured in Morbius. Despite being killed at the end of The Flash, Keaton’s death as Batman isn’t set in stone after Barry Allen created a new and better DC timeline. Perhaps he could one day have a much stronger return in a future DCU project. After all, Keaton was set to become the DCU’s new Batman before Warner Bros. changed all its plans. With any luck, the MCU and DCU will be able to find a way to do right by both of Michael Keaton’s respective characters going forward.

 Michael Keaton deserved better…  Read More