On Thursday, Variety reported that Robert Pattinson, best known for his role as Edward the vampire in the Twilight films, was going to be our next big screen Batman. Later in the evening, Deadline reported that Pattinson was only the front-runner for the role, but that Warner Bros. was still heavily considering Nicolas Hoult for the cape and cowl as well. Regardless, many haters took to the internet to share their sour disapproval of Pattinson as the World’s Greatest Detective:
The spiteful comments go on and though and the only thing they accomplish is making the people who make them look foolish. Fortunately, there are plenty of sensible folks out there defending Robert Pattinson’s casting or even saying to everyone else “Hey, let’s just see how everything plays out.” I thought I’d throw my cowl into the ring and provide those pessimists with a few strong reasons why all this hatred for Robert Pattinson casting is unfounded.
We’ve Been Wrong Before
Bashing Batman castings isn’t anything new. Fans were initially aghast when Michael Keaton was tapped for the role of Bruce Wayne/ Batman in Tim Burton’s 1989 film. Prior to the cape and cowl, Keaton was best known as Mr. Mom and Beetlejuice. Based off those goofier, more whimsical performances, passionate moviegoers and comic book fanatics scoffed at the idea of Keaton taking on the brooding Dark Knight.
Similarly, the backlash against Heath Ledger as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight was legendary. Like Pattinson, many saw Ledger as a teen heartthrob and nothing more. Fans let their discontentment be heard all during the film’s marketing campaign. Of course they all shut up the moment Ledger popped up on screen in the makeup and iconic purple jacket. To this day, Ledger’s performance is widely regarded and the actor eventually won a posthumous Oscar for his efforts as the Clown Prince of Crime. Today, Ledger’s Joker is the golden standard by which fans (including many who initially disliked Ledger’s casting) judge all future iterations of the character, including those brought to us by Jared Leto and Joaquin Phoenix.
Initial backlash against comic book casting goes beyond Gotham City. Let’s not forget Hugh Jackman. Everyone’s favorite Aussie encountered an avalanche of outrage when he first accepted the role of Wolverine in the first X-Men movie. Many criticized Jackman for being too tall for the role and few Americans had ever even seen him on screen before. Twenty years later, it’s nearly impossible to imagine anyone else as the character and you can bet that when Jackman passes, Wolverine will be the role mentioned the most atop all his obituaries.
These are just a few of the more notable examples of initial fan backlash that preceded many of the most cherished comic book performances in film.
Christopher Nolan Trusts Him
Christopher Nolan is one of the most esteemed filmmakers working today and thanks to his Dark Knight trilogy, he will always be a god among geeks. This means that in large part, film fans trust Nolan and that includes Bat-fans. Keep this in mind when you read the news that Nolan has cast Robert Pattinson to star in his upcoming film. If the director who brought us Memento, Inception, Interstellar and SAVED BATMAN trusts Pattinson as the lead in his upcoming film, then shouldn’t that be reason enough to at least give Pattinson’s casting the Bat the benefit of the doubt?
Matt Reeves Is Directing Him
If Pattinson’s raw talent and Nolan’s trust in him isn’t enough to sway you that the actor would be a great Batman, then remember this: Matt Reeves would be directing him.
If you’re not familiar with Matt Reeves, he is one of the most successful proteges of Steven Spielberg. In 2008, he directed the found footage sci-fi flick Cloverfield. In a time where every studio was trying to ride the wave of success of Paranormal Activity and lame found footage films seemed to dominate the theaters, Cloverfield found its footing, both critically and at the box office. The film was so successful that the Cloverfield franchise is still going today.
Reeves’ next film was Let Me In, is an English-language remake of the critically hailed Swedish horror film Let the Right One In. Many consider Reeves’ film to be as good as, if not better than the original and as we near the end of the 2010’s, Let Me In is making many site’s lists of the best horror films of the decade.
Matt Reeves next made the bold decision to take the Planet of the Apes reigns from director Rupert Wyatt, who had just revitalized the old series with Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Reeves finished out the trilogy while maintaining the reverence that the relaunch garnered with Wyatt initially behind the camera.
Matt Reeves first signed on to direct The Batman back in 2017 and has been taking his sweet time in developing the project with the full support of Warner Bros. behind him. Reeves has proven himself an excellent storyteller and with all this time to make sure The Batman is exactly the film he wants it to be, fans should be confident in the confluence of Robert Pattinson working under the careful direction of Matt Reeves and from what is sure to be a thoroughly thought-through script.
He’s An Immensely Talented Performer
This is the most important reason why Robert Pattinson would/will make a great Batman. He’s simply one of the most talented performers of his generation and he’s proven it over and over since walking away from Twilight seven years ago. In that time, Pattinson has worked for the cream of the crop of indie filmmakers, including David Michôd, David Cronenberg, Werner Herzog, Anton Corbijn, Ciro Guerra, and Claire Denis.
In doing so, Robert Pattinson has become one of the industry’s in-demand performers. No, really. Be it The Rover, The Lost City of Z, Good Time or the more recent High Life, Pattinson has demonstrated serious chops and production companies have been lining up to work with him. If you haven’t seen any of Pattinson’s filmography from the last seven years, then you need to in order to truly be informed before immediately knocking him as the Caped Crusader.
In Conclusion (Battinson Begins)
If you’re one of the folks tearing Robert Pattinson down for accepting the role of Batman, odds are you haven’t educated yourself with his filmography outside of Twilight. You’re also falling into the same cycle so many find themselves in every time a new actor steps in to take over an iconic role, a cycle that almost always ends with the boo birds wearing egg on their face.
Hollywood juggernauts recognize talent when they see it, which explains why Pattinson has been in such high demand the last seven years. Even Christopher Nolan, the man who made Batman relevant again, knows well enough to cast the actor as the lead in his new film. Similarly, Matt Reeves clearly believes Pattinson would make a great Batman and Reeves has already established himself as a knowledgeable and detailed storyteller with a knack for casting.
To be fair, The Batman could come out and it turns out that Robert Pattinson truly wasn’t right for the role. It’s unlikely as everything I’ve just mentioned points to the opposite being true; still, it’s a possibility. We won’t know for a couple years. The Batman hits theaters June 25, 2021. However, until that happens (if it happens), more evidence exists to support the argument that Robert Pattison would make a terrific Caped Crusader than not.
What do you think about the casting of Robert Pattinson as the next Batman? Do you agree or are you a part of the opposition? Swing down to the comments below and let me know what you think about this news, but remember to be respectful to all parties!