There is a new guy in town, and his name is Robert Pattinson.
The 27-year-old British actor has been in Hollywood for more than a decade, but has only recently started garnering attention for his role as the lead in the highly anticipated new film, The Batman. But before you start dreaming about him playing the Dark Knight, let’s take a step back.
Here is a guy who had a very public split from his girlfriend, FKA Twigs, and has been single since then. (For those of you who are curious, Twigs is an English singer-songwriter who goes by the mononym FKA.)
Pattinson was previously best known for his role as one of the bandmates in the Harry Potter film series. Since the split, the actor has been quiet on the dating front, opting for some PDA (public displays of affection) with his bandmates in the Kings of Leon or hanging out with close friends.
With his new film, however, Pattinson decided to drop the actor-y vibe and instead play a serious character with a sad past. In fact, it was the actor’s director, The Wolverine’s (dir. Gavin Hood) insistence that he play a more emotional character that inspired the actor to go against type.
“Anything that could make the character more of a human being would be appealing,” Hood said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “Even if it was for one moment, simply to give the audience a break from all the intensity and the fight scenes and remind them this is a real person.”
And so we have the perfect storm. A broken heart. A desire to prove his acting chops. And some deep-rooted insecurity stemming from his upbringing and an unrequited love. All of these factors come together in The Batman, which hit theaters earlier this year. (It was also the first film directed by the award-winning duo of David Leitch and Eric Wilson.)
Based on characters from the DC Comics, The Batman revolves around Bruce Wayne, a wealthy entrepreneur whose family was murdered by a mugger. Seeking revenge, Wayne donates his entire fortune to create an organized crime fighting unit of rich kids with a bad attitude. (Think about it: the modern-day equivalent of Gordon Gecko from The Flintstones.)
When the police force is overthrown by Bane (played by real-life ex-boxer Vinny Curran), Wayne forms an alliance with his fellow criminals to liberate their incarcerated leader, Batman (Pattinson), from prison. The rest, as they say, is history.
So here is a guy who spent his teens and 20s playing the funny man on screen, only to discover that beneath that exterior there was a serious side that he had never truly explored. A self-doubt-ridden soul who battles demons from within and without.
What makes The Batman so unique is that it takes place in an imaginary cityscape where Batman’s rogues’ gallery of criminals and villains exist in real-life versions of their iconic costumes. (The costumes were designed by the legendary Frank Miller, who also wrote and directed The Dark Knight Returns.) The result is a world that is just as strange and exciting as the comics for which it was inspired.
While the costumes and set designs are certainly eye-catching, the biggest draw is undoubtedly the acting. (The chemistry between Pattinson and co-star Katherine Tate is off-the-charts good.)
There is a reason why Warner Bros. decided to make a theatrical feature out of the comic book series; they recognized the potential for something special. In the two months since its theatrical release, The Batman has accumulated more than $500 million in worldwide box office sales.
But beyond the numbers, what really makes this film special is its ability to pull you in and not let go. (And yes, that includes the teaser trailer—which does not feature any dialog or sound effects, making it effectively a 1.5-minute long trailer.)
So if you’re looking for a new rom-com to watch, take a closer look at The Batman.