Robert Pattinson is set to become one of the most popular movie stars in the world with the release of the highly anticipated “Battalion Russia.” The latest adaptation of the classic War-Games (1983) is a tense thrill-ride that pits a suicidal villain against the world’s best defense forces. In true action-adventure fashion, viewers are asked to choose which side they will fight on as Robert Pattinson’s character, David Banner, struggles to choose between being committed or continuing with his life as a superhero – a role made famous by Bruce Wayne.

The most recent “Twilight” star has become a major movie star, capturing the world’s imagination with unforgettable performances in “Twilight” and “Water for Elephants.” So far, he has starred in seven films, with six being commercially successful. Most recently, he won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance in Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel.” Additionally, Pattinson’s fans have helped to make him one of the most popular social media stars, with over 4.5 million followers on Instagram and over 2.3 million on Twitter.

Which Side Will You Choose?

Whether you’ve been a fan of the star’s since the first “Twilight” movie or you’re just discovering him now, it’s clear that Pattinson is an actor who keeps fans interested. Not only does he regularly post photos of himself on social media, but he also has a way with words that keeps his fans coming back for more. This skill was put to good use as he wrote the script to “Battalion Russia,” a thriller in which he plays the dual role of David Banner and Bruce Wayne.

In the movie, Banner is a brilliant scientist who has developed a serum that allows him to become the ultimate warrior. With the help of his bodyguards, Jeeves (a character inspired by Ian Fleming’s legendary Bond character) and Krug (based on Sherlock Holmes), he sets out to dominate the world as it knows it. When an accident leaves Banner unable to control his superhuman strength, it’s up to Jeeves and the rest of the world to protect the people he loves – his daughter and the woman he secretly loves.

While it was great to see Pattinson step out of his typical “Twilight” or “Water for Elephants” character and let loose as a superhero, there is no denying that he is at his best when playing a more traditional character. In “Battalion Russia,” he portrays two polarizing characters that are at odds with each other, allowing him to showcase his dramatic range.

The Rise Of The Anti-Superhero

Although the character of David Banner was first introduced to the screen in the form of a Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1967, his story predates the cinematic universe. According to the History Channel, the real-life Bruce Wayne was inspired by Richard Nixon’s famous statement about the military-industrial complex, “I think that a superhero is someone who is actively working to make the world a better place.”

Nixon’s comment was in reference to the super-human abilities of his undercover contact, Whistler, who he believed was using his identity to fight crime and corruption. While the president denied that there was any connection between Nixon and Whistler, the two did go on to collaborate on several projects, including a comic book about Superman created for the “Tell Trump to Keep His Promises” campaign in 1978.

The parallels between the real-life Nixon and the fictional Bruce Wayne are uncanny. While both men rose to fame in their respective industries, they became known for their opposition to communism and corruption, eventually gaining the moniker “The Batman” and “The Citizen Kane,” respectively.

The character of David Banner was originally considered a grotesque parody of the star’s real-life persona. The actor who portrayed him originally described him as a “gimmick,” but over time, the character evolved into something more. As a tribute to his roots, Pattinson has named his baby son after his famous character, David Banner.

Why Is David Banner’s Character Important?

As previously stated, the story of David Banner predates the modern-day “Batman” by several years. When it was first adapted for the screen, “The Incredible Hulk” (1978) was described by critics as a campy B-movie rip-off of “Batman.” While that may be true, it is also important to note that “The Incredible Hulk” was one of the first major appearances of the now-legendary Hulk character, a character that would grow in popularity to such a degree that he became his own franchise.

It is also important to remember that “The Incredible Hulk” was a critical and commercial failure when it was first released, earning only $4.2 million at the box office worldwide. But because of its influence on later films, the failure was largely overlooked.

One of the reasons why the film is significant is because it is the first time that Bruce Wayne is displayed as a dark and tortured individual. Previously, he was shown to be an almost perfect specimen, a paragon of strength and skill, an impeccable dresser, and, above all, a very private person, who was determined to solve the murder of his parents. While he did not physically appear in “The Incredibles” (2004), a flashback scene in which his parents are murdered served as a somber pre-cursor to the action-adventure franchise that was to come.

“The Incredible Hulk” also showcased one of the film industry’s first popular transformations, marking the beginning of a fashion trend that has since become commonplace: green makeup.

What Does “Battalion Russia” Mean?

If you’ve been following the news at all, then you know that Russia is currently in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, one that has been plaguing the country since the spring. As the virus continues to spread, there have been several protests held across the nation, with many people demanding – and in some cases, even going as far as to beg – for a better quality of life.

The virus has taken a particularly heavy toll on the elderly, killing thousands and infecting more than 100,000. While there is still no known vaccine or cure, experts have warned that the deaths could be reduced if the public takes a more cautious approach to public health and social distancing.

One of the organizations that has been spearheading efforts to contain the virus is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which today released a statement pledging to support “research and development of a vaccine or therapeutic for COVID-19.”

The Foundation Behind The Screen

It should come as no surprise that one of the most dynamic forces in modern-day pop culture is also one of the most generous foundations in the world. With an emphasis on global health, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is, in the words of Vanity Fair, “[S]uperhuman in its scope.” Since its debut in 2008, the foundation has committed nearly $30 billion to over 600 projects in over 70 countries. Additionally, it is one of the few philanthropic organizations to have a screening room, which serves as a testament to its ongoing commitment to improving global health.

“Battalion Russia” is an important film not just because it features one of the most popular actors in the world and an opportunity to showcase his dramatic range, but also because it is the beginning of a major effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. With production design by Tim Beyer and set decoration by Anna Pippus, the film serves as a visual metaphor for the deadly conflict that is currently ravaging the planet – a conflict that, at least for the time being, has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and infected more than a million, with no end in sight.

When “Battalion Russia” was initially released in theaters, tickets sold out across the country within minutes. Since then, it has continuously remained a popular choice among moviegoers, regularly scoring huge box office numbers and earning the nickname “Putin’s Pet” due to the Russian president’s love for the film.

While it is still too soon to tell how the pandemic will ultimately play out – and whether Russia’s recent efforts to combat the virus will prove successful – one thing is for certain: with each new death that is reported, the film’s message becomes more poignant, its impact more profound.