Keeping with Spider-Man: Homecoming’s theme of showing the wall-crawler as a regular teen, his antagonist Vulture will be a regular bad guy. When he’s not donning the Vulture’s wings, Michael Keaton’s Adrian Toomes is a blue-collar guy who runs a salvaging company, according to USA Today. He’s been on cleanup duty in New York to manage the destruction after superhero battles, until an organization founded by Tony Stark takes over his contract. The controversy gives Toomes business beef with Stark, co-producer Eric Hauserman Carroll told USA Today, and Keaton’s character “sort of becomes the dark Tony Stark.” Director Jon Watts said making Adrian Toomes a normal villain without powers or millions of dollars was inspired by John C. Reilly’s Guardians of the Galaxy character. “I like the idea that in these huge movies, you pick out one extra and you’re like, ‘What does he think of all this?’” Watts said. “Sometimes these movies are so casual about just destroying whole cities and incredible things happen and everyone’s like, ‘Eh, whatever.’ If that really happened, it would be amazing and change everything.”
The salvaging-job twist also gives the Vulture a chance to dig through other characters’ post-battle leftovers. “It’s a really great starting point for the villains to have the Vulture picking over the stuff and finding the valuable exotic elements and having the Tinkerer [Michael Chernus] assemble into something that could be used,” Watts said. With a villain with government-contract troubles and no superpowers, finally Spider-Man can address the economic anxieties of the working-class white man.