We’ll never know if Christian Bale was born to play Batman, but we do know that he died playing Batman. Since the character was first introduced to comics in 1934, he’s been portrayed by nine actors (seven of which were British). For the most part, they’ve all filled the role pretty well, and it’s quite an intriguing list.
With Christian Bale gone, the world seemed to lose its mind as to who would play Batman. A brief respite came with the introduction of a couple of TV series in the mid-2000s, but it wasn’t until the release of The Dark Knight in 2008 that things really started to change. To a point where now we have our very first British actor in the role: Robert Pattinson. And although he’s more than capable of playing the part, is he actually the best choice? Let’s take a quick look.
Who Is Robert Pattinson
Before Robert Pattinson became known for his role as Edward Cullen in the Twilight films, he was most known for his work in theater, with a part in the original London production of Rent playing the lead character, Mark Morial. He also appeared in the films How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Thirteen. In 2010, he landed a role in the highly-anticipated film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. The following year he appeared in the sci-fi action comedy, Attack on Titan, which was based on the popular manga of the same name. In 2014, he co-starred alongside Charlie Hunnam in the action adventure film, Nexus 6.
On the flip side, his acting career has had its ups and downs. While he was lauded for his performance in the 2005 film, A Knight’s Tale, he was panned for his work in David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence. However, despite these setbacks, he’s continued to act and has appeared in the critically-acclaimed Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on DVD, as well as the award-winning The Lost Honour of Elizabeth I. Most recently, he starred in the second season of Mr. Robot, portraying the mysterious Nomad.
Why Is Robert Pattinson the Right Choice For Batman?
So…why Robert Pattinson? Why not Tom Hardy, who was once considered the front-runner for the role? Or Hugh Jackman, the current Wolverine, for that matter? Or even Joseph Gordon-Levitt (JGL for short), the young actor who was first rumored to be playing the role of Batman back in 2012?
Well, if you’ll pardon the pun, it’s been a long and winding road for Batman to finally make it to the big screen. And although he’s appeared in various forms of media throughout his existence (including comic books), Warner Bros. still had to go through a lot of legal troubles to get the rights to the character.
First they had to secure the rights to produce an entire film series, establishing the DC Universe which eventually led to the creation of the Dark Knight and the Arkham games. And then they had to secure the rights to use the likenesses of the actors playing the characters in their media releases. This meant creating iconic images of the actors and using them in various formats including t-shirts, hoodies, and mouse-pads. It’s quite the process.
The Pros And Cons Of Robert Pattinson
Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of casting Robert Pattinson as Batman.
There’s a rather large pro-Robert Pattinson camp. The actor has quite a bit of experience, having played some interesting and complex characters in previous roles. He also has a rather unique charm that some actors might find rather endearing. Here’s a short list.
- He’s rather like Batman in terms of personality (they share the same soul, apparently).
- He’s a rather good actor. Even if he doesn’t always get the recognition he deserves, his fellow actors know what he’s capable of.
- He has a rather good screen presence. When you see an actor with presence, you usually know that they can act as well (although, this isn’t always the case).
- He has an interesting, somewhat quirky look that might work well for Batman. It’s been said that he has a more adult look that suits the part rather well. And, as we’ve established, Batman definitely requires an adult appearance.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s the con-Robert Pattinson faction. Let’s examine their arguments, shall we?
He’s Too Young
One of the main arguments against casting Robert Pattinson as Batman is that he’s still too young. Now, this might just be a case of sour grapes. After all, he isn’t the first actor to be considered for the part, and, in fact, he might not even be the best option available. Even back in the 1920s, when Bruce Wayne was first introduced to comics, the character was originally intended to be played by a much older actor.
The argument here is that since Bruce Wayne is the adopted son of Benjamin and Martha Wayne, he might not have spent as much time growing up in Gotham as other characters. This means that he might not have developed the necessary skills to pull off the role effectively. Now, it might also be the case that, since Pattinson is still rather new to acting, he simply hasn’t had enough time to show his full potential yet. Either way, this argument isn’t without merit.
He Doesn’t Look Like A Real Batman
An even more serious con with this particular casting decision is that, as we’ve established before, Batman needs to look like a real Batman. This means that the actor playing him needs to possess a set of skills that place them firmly in the reality of the role. So far, this is rather difficult to achieve. Many have tried, but, as of yet, no one has really succeeded (at least, not in a big-budget film).
He’s Not A Realistic Choice
Another con with this particular decision is that it’s unrealistic to think that a young actor can pull off a character as complex and iconic as Batman. The general consensus here seems to be that since the character is rather unique and complex, it’s better to go with an experienced hand. Or, at least, someone who has the appearance of an experienced hand.
There is one other argument against Robert Pattinson as Batman that seems rather trivial, yet still applicable. The general consensus here is that Batman is rather vain, and it’s difficult to imagine a young actor portraying such an important and self-sufficient character. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Batman is actually a rather vain character (just take a look at some of the villains he’s fought over the years).
The Dark Knight Is Different
One of the main appeals of casting Robert Pattinson as Batman is that he’ll bring something different to the role. He’ll have to develop a set of acting skills that the role requires, as well as learn to swim (Batman can’t swim). But beyond that, he’s got a rather unique set of personal qualities that will make him, well, different. It might not be easy, but it’ll be interesting to see what he’s able to do with the part.
While it’s rather difficult to choose a favorite of the Batman actors who’ve played the part, one thing is for sure: With each new iteration, the character will continue to evolve, and we’re certain to see something new and interesting from Pattinson.