There are few actors who’ve had careers that are quite as eclectic as that of Michael Keaton.
From Beetlejuice to Batman, from Birdman to Spider-Man, he’s seen it all.
Okay, so maybe there’s one big defining genre if you take those four movies into consideration, but that’s beside the point. Colorful costumes might be the order of the day, but each role is something very, very different for Keaton to take on.
Throughout all that Keaton has seen in his career, though, he has some particularly high praise to give the folks at Marvel when it comes to putting a movie together, Those guys know how to get stuff done:
“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.”
So what’s the defining attribute of Marvel, from a filmmaking perspective?
“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... 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.”
Let’s be honest, it’s hardly a surprise to learn that Marvel is efficient to the extreme, and organized better than most military compounds. You don’t pump out two blockbusters a year without running your entire filmmaking empire like clockwork.
It’s unusual to hear this side of Marvel getting some praise, though. Either Michael Keaton is being deliberately diplomatic, or he found the experience of being a tiny cog in a much larger machine less grating than most who get sucked into the comic book movie factory.
Everyone from actors to directors, to even the director of The Arrival, has decried Marvel’s consistent factory-style filmmaking as being bad for Hollywood as a whole. This method of efficient, conveyer belt movie manufacturing leaves no room for artistic experimentation or unique expression, and Marvel’s movies are poorer as a result.
Of course, it’s hard to argue with results, and if Marvel’s formula is so finely tuned by this point that the studio can create two of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful movies of the year, every year, who can stop them?
Certainly not Michael Keaton, but then, he doesn’t have to endure life in the “well oiled machine” indefinitely.
He’s cashed his paycheck, he’s appreciated that it was paid promptly and without hassle, and he’s happy to move on to new projects.
Meanwhile, Tom Holland is doing endless backflips in a basement somewhere, wondering whether his instructor’s whip contravenes child labor laws.