While nothing is finalized yet, all signs point to Robert Pattinson donning the cape and cowl to become the next Batman. Pattinson would play the Caped Crusader in Matt Reeves‘s The Batman, a fresh start to the character not connected to Ben Affleck‘s most recent incarnation. This casting is excellent, and many seem to agree. But there’s already some backlash. This backlash appears to be coming from fans who only know Pattinson in regards to his role as sparkly vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight franchise.
However, Twilight ended many years ago, and since then, Pattinson has been delivering captivating performances in challenging films.
He’s A Great Actor
First – forget Twilight. If that franchise is all you know Pattinson from, you’re missing out. After Twilight, Pattinson did perform in a few duds (anyone remember Remember Me?), but he’s also built up one hell of a respectable career. In David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, Pattinson delivers a cold, calculated performance as a young narcissistic billionaire becoming slowly unmoored. The Childhood of a Leader has Pattinson playing two very different roles, one completely silent but still haunting in its intensity. The young performer goes for full-blown character actor, sporting a big beard and firing off pithy, memorable lines in the criminally under-seen The Lost City of Z. Good Time has Pattinson doing the best acting of his career, playing a low-life New York City dirtbag over the course of one very long, nasty night. Claire Denis’s sci-fi oddity High Life traps Pattinson in space, with the actor delivering a hard-edged, rough, emotionally fractured performance. The fact of the matter is, Robert Pattinson has proved himself to be one of the most interesting actors of his generation, always up for a challenge, always willing to stretch himself beyond his comfort zone.
He’ll Bring Something New and Unique to the Part
The role of Batman is only as complex as the actor makes it. Batman is a highly introverted, brooding character – and there’s only so many ways you can play that before it gets boring. Michael Keaton played up the inherent craziness of the situation in his two Batman films. Val Kilmer seemed to be cashing a paycheck. George Clooney had the billionaire playboy angle down, but not much else. Christian Bale embraced the loneliness of the part. Ben Affleck turns his Batman into a kind of xenophobic nut working his way back to redemption. Pattinson has a knack for playing damaged, hard-edged characters, but he also has a playfulness that comes out in certain parts. The closest Bat-example so far would probably be Keaton’s weirdo take, and that’s not a bad thing. I’m not saying Pattinson will be imitating Keaton – I’m saying the way the actor plays his Batman is likely to be unlike anything else we’ve seen before.
He’s Not Who You’d Expect – And That’s Exciting
Besides having the perfect jawline for the part, Robert Pattinson probably isn’t who you immediately think of as Batman – and that’s exciting. Because that same criteria applies to nearly every good-to-great Batman of the past. When Michael Keaton was cast for Tim Burton’s Batman, he was primarily known for comedic work like Mr. Mom and Beetlejuice. Fans balked, worried that Burton was making something campy like the Adam West TV series – but that’s not what happened, and Keaton ended up being a great Batman. While he had been acting since he was a child, Christian Bale was relatively unknown to mainstream audiences when he landed the part in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, yet he quickly became the gold standard for the role. Fans flat-out went ballistic when Ben Affleck inherited the role of the Dark Knight, but while the films he appeared in were lacking, Affleck’s performance was often singled-out as the lone bright-spot. With all that in mind, it sounds like the biggest criteria for making a memorable Batman is to find someone you would never see coming. And that’s exactly what’s happening here.
The Batman opens June 25, 2021.
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