While we’ve caught glimpses of the Vulture in the Spider-Man: Homecoming trailers, along with some background on where Michael Keaton is taking the character, we haven’t learned what causes Adrian Toomes to become a villain… That is, until today. Read ahead to get a look at the Vulture’s backstory and some surprising connections to other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.
It’s previously been mentioned that Spider-Man: Homecoming will not open in the “present day” of the MCU – in fact, the very first scene will be set shortly after the events of The Avengers before jumping forward to the time frame when most of Phase 3 takes place. It’s here that we’ll be introduced to Toomes and his crew, a group of blue-collar workers who are hired on contract to help fix up areas after significant disasters take place. However, by the time that they arrive to help fix up the mess that the Chitauri made of New York City, they’re told that a government agency sponsored by Tony Stark has made their jobs unnecessary. Needless to say, Toomes is not happy about this, given his own disdain for Stark – someone who got rich off of selling weapons and conveniently had a change of heart, especially since this decision comes at the cost of ordinary workers like himself.
Since he and his crew are now out of a job, they decide to steal whatever Chitauri weaponry that they can for themselves and repurpose it for their own ends for lives of crime. As incidents with superheroes piled up over the years, so did Toomes’ crew’s arsenal – Dark Elf technology was taken from the incident in Greenwich, scraps of Ultron drones were stolen from Sokovia, and even the gauntlet Crossbones used to fight Captain America in Lagos. By the time of Homecoming, Toomes’ crew is armed to the teeth as he takes on the moniker of Vulture, while two of his employees (Herman Schultz and Phineas Mason) take up monikers of their own (Shocker and Tinkerer) as they test their arsenal out on New York City. Michael Keaton commented on how the boss-employee dynamic makes for an interesting villain team-up:
“They are just his boys, you know? I really like the relationship with the Tinkerer–with Michael (Chernus)’s character–it’s great. He’s real funny, so we goof around a lot and make up very, very funny backstories. They’re funny, but then you think, ‘Well, that’s probably their relationship. They probably get on each other’s nerves sometimes.’ I have a lot of the ideas and then I just say, ‘Go make that. Go make that for me. I want to have a thing that does all this stuff. Just go make that stuff for me.’ And he’s great. I’m having a lot of fun in that relationship.”
While people naturally got anxious when they heard that Homecoming was going to have three villains (since overstuffing the narrative with baddies is a problem that bogged down both Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, two of the least popular movies in the franchise), it seems like this is a more natural way to handle a crowd of baddies – since they’re all connected from the beginning, you don’t really have to waste the audience’s time with three separate origin stories. Director John Watts also commented on the nature of the antagonists of the movie being ordinary people instead of megalomaniacs:
“I like the idea you could have someone who becomes a villain and they’re also a regular person. It’s just a grounded take on where [bad guys] like that could come from… and just trying to root it in something that is believable, so it’s not just this arch-villain plot that comes out of nowhere.”
Given that the character Spider-Man is more or less based around the idea that anyone can be a superhero, perhaps it ought to be interesting to see this concept flipped on its head with the villains. Hopefully, Vulture should prove to be one of the most interesting villains that Spider-Man has faced on film.
Spider-Man: Homecoming swings into theaters on July 7, 2017. The film features a cast that includes Tom Holland as Peter Parker (Spider-Man), Robert Downey Junior as Tony Stark (Iron Man), Zendaya Coleman as Michelle, Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds, Tony Revolori as “Flash” Thompson, Laura Harrier as Liz Allan, Marisa Tomei as May Parker, Jon Favreau as Harold “Happy” Hogan, Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes (Vulture), Bokeem Woodbine as Herman Schultz (Shocker), and Michael Chernus as Phineas Mason (Tinkerer). A sequel is planned for release on July 5, 2019.
Source: Coming Soon