After a protracted – and really needless, given the eternal mega-hype that surrounds the Caped Crusader – PR campaign by Warner Brothers, it has been officially confirmed. Robert Pattinson will be the new Bruce Wayne/Batman in the Matt Reeves’ movie which has been officially given a summer release in 2021.
As if on cue, there have been plenty of people, fans and critics alike, debating the merits or lack thereof of the English actor (and one-time biggest hearthrob on the planet) taking over the role of the iconic superhero after Ben Affleck pulled the pin on his controversial tenure in the role. I personally am on the side of Pattinson – in fact I have been convinced that he would be a great fit for the role ever since he led David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Don Dellilo’s Cosmopolis. And I want to tell you why.
Pattinson’s career thus far has seemingly been about getting away from both Twilight and the dull roles of his early career (looking at you Water for Elephants – Remember Me, hang your head in shame). Even if a very vocal section of the Batman fanbase, and all those publications that still describe him as “the Twilight actor” seem dead set against it. Breaking Dawn Part 2 was seven years ago, if we can get our heads around Kristen Stewart being a serious actress, then her co-lead deserves the same chance.
I could spend the rest of this article recommending films in which Pattinson is brilliant in, but I’ll try to condense it to must-sees: the aforementioned Cosmopolis, Map to the Stars, The Rover, Good Time, Life, and The Lost City of Z. I could go on, but what is more striking than the controversy of this casting choice is that it is completely in keeping with Batman. Think about it – Michael Keaton and Ben Affleck both had petitions to stop them from playing the role; one became iconic, the other a joke. Perhaps the most notable example is the reaction to Heath Ledger’s casting as The Joker for The Dark Knight. I myself was horrified by the thought, mainly because I was judging Ledger on his earlier American film roles like A Knight’s Tale and 10 Things I Hate About You. Look how that turned out. If you’re not courting a little controversy, you’re just going to end up with another Clooney-style dullard of a Dark Knight.
Robert Pattinson is not Edward any more, he only played him. And, based on his exquisite back catalogue, he will play the hell out of Batman. With the pairing of a great actor in Pattinson with a great director in Matt Reeves, Batman looks to be in safe but exciting hands.
By Kevin Boyle
Header Image: IGN