I have a confession to make. Not only have I been a massive fan of Robert Pattinson ever since he first graced our screens in the 2004 Oscar-nominated film, Waterwall, but I have also been a fan of his work long before that. It was back in 1995 when I first became aware of his talent, and ever since then I have followed his career with interest. When the news broke that he would be playing Batman in the much-anticipated upcoming Batman Begins film, I had to admit that my interest was piqued. But as the months passed and the release date neared, I feared that my interest would become over-whelming anticipation and that my love might turn to rage if he didn’t live up to my high expectations.
Thankfully, my fears were unfounded. Even before the film was released, I could see that Robert Pattinson had managed to capture the essence of the Dark Knight in a single performance, and I could tell that director Christopher Nolan had hit upon something special when he cast him in the lead role. Now that the film has been released, I can’t recommend it enough. Not only does it feature one of the greatest ensemble casts of all time, Batman Begins also marks the beginning of a new era for the caped crusader, one in which he can finally be considered an established icon in his own right, not just a rebooted version of the legendary detective, Dick Grayson.
If you’ve been wondering where all of this was going, then here’s the quick primer for you. Batman Begins is the first of a trilogy of films that will be collectively known as the Batman Trilogy. It was only ever meant to be the starting point for a larger narrative that will span multiple films, but since its release, it’s become the iconic movie that it is today, single-handedly creating a new era for the Dark Knight. That being said, it still stands as one of the best films of the past decade, so if you’ve never seen it, then I highly recommend checking it out. And if you have, then here’s hoping that it holds up to your expectations.
Robert Pattinson’s Batman Begins Background
Before we get started, it might be a good idea to spend a few minutes talking about the man behind the mask. As I mentioned, Robert Pattinson has been acting for well over a decade, but prior to Batman Begins, his major screen credits consisted of a handful of indie films and a small number of mainstream releases, most notably Oliver Stone’s Wallace and Steven Spielberg’s Munich. In fact, it was Spielberg’s film that arguably put him on the map, and the rest, as they say, is history. Batman Begins is the culmination of everything Robert Pattinson had developed as an actor prior to this point.
In truth, we know very little about Robert Pattinson’s life as an actor, other than the facts that he was born in London in 1986 and that he was raised in the United Kingdom and later Australia. His parents are David and Deborah, and he has an older brother named Louis. His childhood was far from normal, as he spent a great deal of time traveling with his family, which often saw him appear in multiple locations at once. After finishing high school, he went on to study English literature at the University of London. While he was there, he appeared in a number of plays and even made a short film, Swan Lake, which was selected for the York International Film Festival. When he wasn’t acting, he was working on his novel, The Waking Dream. At some point during this time, he decided that he wanted to become a full-time writer and abandoned his dream of becoming an actor.
The Waterwall Years
Before we get to Batman Begins, let’s take a step back in time and reacquaint ourselves with the man behind the mask. In 1995, Robert Pattinson landed his breakout role as the lead in Richard Linklater’s Waterwall, an adaptation of the Frank Miller comic book series. The film was directed by Linklater and stars Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and Keanu Reeves. The supporting cast includes Gary Oldman, Bonnie Hunt, and Julie Delpy. The plot centers on a man (Reeves) who returns home after having gone on the lam to escape the law, and his attempts to reconcile with his family and settle down.
The role of Batman was originally intended for Richard Harris, who turned it down, demanding more money. In the end, Harris only appeared in a brief cameo as a police commissioner.
Waterwall marks the beginning of a new phase in Robert Pattinson’s career. Up until this point, he had mainly played secondary characters in small indie films, but here he gets to shine as the eponymous hero, engaging with the audience in a series of witty one-liners and playful exchanges. It was a far cry from the serious side he had displayed up to this point. The following year, he played a different kind of character, that of an aspiring poet, in Luc Besson’s romantic comedy, The Tourist. Directed by Besson and starring Pitt, Atoni, and Marlon Brando, this was a major turning point in his career, and it led to further big-budget studio collaborations, including Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! (1996) and Mike Newell’s Honeymoon (2009).
Aside from acting, Robert Pattinson has also pursued a career in music. He’s collaborated with the production team behind Adele’s album, 25, contributing to the songs “Skyfall” and “Hello.” He’s also released a number of solo tracks, including the Oscar-nominated song, “On My Own.”
As I mentioned, 2004 was a significant year for Robert Pattinson. That was the year he first appeared in cinemas worldwide, thanks to the success of the Oscar-nominated film, Waterwall. He had previously received critical acclaim for his performances in Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! and Danny Boyle’s A Life Less Ordinary. He played an alien, and the general consensus seemed to be that he was an excellent job. One of the major turning points in Waterwall‘s Oscar-nominated campaign was the music video for the title track. Directed by Alexis Floreal, it showed a very different side to Robert Pattinson, portraying a more playful and childlike character. The video also featured cameos from a variety of musicians, including Jeff Beck, Moby, and the movie’s co-star, Helen Mirren.
Let’s get back to the present. Now that we’ve spent a little bit of time getting to know Robert Pattinson better, it’s time to dive into Batman Begins. As I mentioned earlier, this is the first of a trilogy of films that will be known as the Batman Trilogy. The film was released in theaters worldwide in February 2005 and went on to become one of the biggest and most successful films of the past decade. It earned over $500 million worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing films of all time, not adjusted for inflation.
It’s not just the box office figures that bring this one to my attention. This year also marks the 15th anniversary of the film, and it’s been viewed, collectively, over 500 million times, according to Box Office Mojo. To put that into perspective, that’s about 15% of the population of the world. And for those of you who have yet to see it, be sure to add it to your Netflix queue. You’ll thank me later.
What makes Batman Begins special is the perfect synthesis of all of the elements that make up its unique DNA. It features one of the greatest ensemble casts of all time, with Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Brad Pitt taking turns at the forefront. But behind the scenes, there’s also a fantastic supporting cast, including John Goodman, Gary Oldman, and Caine, who plays the role of Lucius Fox, a legendary computer scientist who creates the B.A.T. (Batman Analogue Technology) suit, which allows the Dark Knight to assume the persona of a bat.