It’s been a long time coming. Since 2013, when we last saw Benedict Cumberbatch on the big screen, the world has been trying to find a way for Dr. Strange to return. Since then, we’ve been waiting for him to finally make his comeback in a big way. At last, he has. On Saturday, April 26th, we’ll finally get to see everything that Strange has been preparing us for. When the dust settles, we’ll know whether or not Cumberbatch was able to restore order to the universe. In the meantime, we have Edward Pattinson. Fresh off his turn as a zombie in HBO’s popular series, “The Walking Dead,” in which he portrayed the role of Eugene, an alpha male of the undead, Edward joins a list of prominent Hollywood actors who have donned the bat-suit. Other famous faces in the twilight of their careers that have played Batman include Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sean Connery. What is it about the Dark Knight that still fascinates us today? Perhaps part of it is that Batman is the ultimate outsider, existing outside of the normal social order. He is a creature of the night, and something about that makes us want to know more about him. We’ll get our chance on Saturday. Just how different is Edward’s Batman from the actors that have came before him? Read on, and you’ll find out. For those of you who are curious, you can also read our take on the casting of Edward as Batman here.
The Difference In The Way They Act And How They Dress
At first glance, you might not even realize that they’re playing the same character. Sure, they have the same rough outline of what Batman should look like. They have the same general proportions. But, beyond that, they are a completely different breed. To give you an idea of what we mean, here are some differences between them:
The first and most obvious difference is their choice of attire. While the 1960’s Batman was a blend of the traditional with a dash of the contemporary, with heavy influences from the hippie counterculture, the current Batman costume is much more streamlined. Gone are the flared trousers, and in their place are dark, sleek jeans with a high-waisted bat-leather belt. It’s a look that is much more in keeping with the modern world. This is not to say that the older Batman incarnation was completely obsolete. You can still find pictures of Robert Gordon modelling the flared pants, and they are still being worn by some fans. What is most likely is that the outfit took its popularity as a sign that the traditionalists had finally had enough and were embracing change. Another great example of this difference can be seen in the television series, “The Dark Knight.” In one episode, Alfred Pennyworth helps Bruce Wayne prepare for a masked ball, and the older Wayne begins to question his life as a recluse. He decides to don the traditional circus outfit, only to find that it is too small for him. He goes back to his house, only to find that his butler has altered his clothes so that they fit him perfectly. This exemplifies the difference between the way the traditionalists and the counterculture saw Batman. For the former, he was a man of the cloth, an authority figure who inspired awe, while the latter saw him as a role model whose example could change the way they perceived the world. This theme of dressing differently for different roles is explored in the film, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” In this movie, Batman and Superman are wearing matching suits, and it is quite an unusual sight. This is most likely a reference to the fact that they are both representatives of order and justice, while the villains they face represent chaos and disorder.
Another difference you’ll notice between them is their approach to fighting crime. The older Batman was much more of a cerebral character. He would sit back and analyze the situation, before taking action. You can find him pondering over lines like, “I’ve spent so much time alone that I’ve begun to think that I’m not really cut out for social interaction. I guess I’ll have to settle for staring at the sun and moon for the rest of my life.” This is in stark contrast to the current Batman, who does not think twice about jumping right into action. Gone are the days of being a pacifist and refusing to fight. He’s a man of modern times, and he embraces the use of technology to serve justice. The opening credits sequence for the television series, “The Dark Knight,” showcases this difference. Batman is shown using a Batsuit that had advanced grappling hooks, as well as the ability to fly. This is very reminiscent of how he would later be seen in the Christopher Nolan (director of the “Dark Knight” trilogy) films. The way the show portrays him also provides a great insight into how he evolved as an individual. In the beginning, he is incredibly driven by anger and a desire for revenge. As he became more experienced as a vigilante, his drive for justice grew. This is also explored in the film, where we see Bruce Wayne begin to question his quest for vengeance. But it is too late. Batman has already answered this question. Justice has already been served. At least for the people he originally targeted. He has since then become more interested in helping those who cannot help themselves. The television show, “The Brave and the Fortunate,” explores this theme. In one episode, Batman and Robin apprehend a serial killer who had murdered 14 innocent people. The two-man team tracks the madman to his lair, where they find him standing over a crucible, trying to create a human-animal hybrid. When the beast that he created proves to be smarter than he is, he sets it on fire, killing himself and 15 others inside. Batman saves one man who had been injected with a virus meant to make him immortal. Unfortunately, this man’s heart was not strong enough to withstand the strain, and he dies. After this event, Batman seems to have reached a turning point. He decides to stop hunting down criminals and instead focus on making life better for those around him. This theme of Batman turning from a man of vengeance to a man of helping others is present in practically every version of the crusading hero. In the very first episode of the television series, “Batman,” this theme is discussed at length by Alfred Pennyworth. He tells Bruce Wayne that while he is an excellent detective, the people of Gotham need someone to protect them from villains like Elmo Wayne, a corrupt business owner who uses his position to get exactly what he wants. This is also the basic premise behind the 2016 series, “I, Claudius.” In this historical drama, we are taken back in time to witness the evolution of the great Republican emperor, Claudius. The episode titles in the series are “The Tyrant,” “The Beast” and “The Perfect King.” When we first see Claudius, he is already a tyrant. He subjects the citizens of Rome to torture and death, doing terrible things simply to solidify his power. As the series progresses, we see him overcome his worst qualities and become a better, more just ruler, leading his people to ultimate victory. This is the typical arc that every incarnation of Batman follows. By the end of the series, he has grown out of his loneliness and is ready to embrace a new era of parenthood. The showrunner of “The Dark Knight,” David S. Goyer, had this to say about the character: “He’s the product of a society where people felt disconnected from one another. He doesn’t want to be a part of the social order; he doesn’t want to be connected. He doesn’t want to fit in with the respectable…He wants to be a force of nature, and he will use his resources and connections to become what he was meant to be.” Goyer captures the essence of what it means to be Batman perfectly. While Batman is usually depicted as a crime fighter, this is in fact an alias he uses. Under this name, he is a brilliant scientist who has dedicated his life to discovering the root of criminality, and he will stop at nothing to protect his mission. This is an intense persona that few actors are capable of embodying. It is a character that demands a lot from those who decide to play him. As impressive as Cumberbatch’s performance is, we believe that it would have been even more remarkable had he inhabited this character. It is one thing to play a role. It is another to live it. To truly embody this character, you must be willing to go against type, against all social conventions, against everything that is safe and secure, in order to protect the innocent and uphold the law. That is the mark of a great performance.