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The Director Michael Keaton Says Changed Comic Book Movies Forever

Comic book movies are nothing new — Batman had his own serialized movies back in the 1940s, as did Captain America. But the genre has taken on a whole new life now that cinematic universes have become the go-to model for companies like Marvel Studios and DC Films. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is heading into its 25th film with "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," while the DC Extended Universe has multiple projects in the works, including "The Flash" movie, starring Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck, and Michael Keaton.

Yes, that's right: both Affleck and Keaton are coming back to the DC universe to play their respective Batmen. It's all down to The Flash's ability to run through time and space, while crossing the boundaries into alternate universes, which is likely how he meets Keaton's Batman. The film is currently in production from "IT" director Andy Muschietti, and Sasha Calle also stars as Supergirl. It's an ambitious project that will probably change the way audiences see the DCEU on the big screen.

But Keaton recently opened up about comic book movies and how they've changed over the years, while also explaining who he thinks changed the genre forever.

The director who gave audiences a unique Batman

Fans will know Keaton played Bruce Wayne in both 1989's "Batman" and 1992's "Batman Returns," before joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Adrian Toomes/the Vulture in 2017's "Spider-Man: Homecoming," so he's obviously no stranger to the superhero genre. But the actor says comic book movies wouldn't be where they are today without Tim Burton's incredible work on "Batman."

Keaton explained his stance on the genre in an extensive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, saying, "What Tim did changed everything." He adderd, "Everything you see now started with him. If you really think about what happened between 1989 and now, on a cultural, corporate, economic level, it's unbelievable."

The "Batman" and "Spider-Man" star also confessed that he hasn't seen another superhero movie since working on the 1989 classic. "After the first 'Batman,' I'm not sure I've ever seen an entire [comic book] movie." But when touching on his time working with Marvel, Keaton revealed how surprised he was at the scale of the studio. "When I went down to do the Marvel things in Atlanta ... It's an entire city dedicated to Marvel."

The MCU is hugely profitable for Marvel Studios/Disney, and they'll keep pushing the franchise forward as long as audiences love each new chapter. As Keaton joked in the interview, "I'll be dead, and they'll still be doing Marvel movies," and he's probably not wrong. But the star is right. The genre wouldn't be where it is today without Tim Burton.