Robert Pattinson is arguably one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Whether you’ve seen the latest installment of the Twilight series or have loved him for years in the Great Britain comedy series, Sex and the City, you’ll likely have heard of him. And now, this most famous of actors is set to don the cowl and cape of a superhero.
The actor, who is currently filming the highly-anticipated Batman vs. Superman in London, has been spotted on several occasions wearing a grey wool suit and a blue shirt underneath, along with a black cape. On the set of the movie, he’s even been seen wearing a yellow and orange spotted silk scarf around his neck. These are all clear nods to the cinematic kingpin, who first donned the infamous cape and cowl in 1939. During an interview with BBC Radio, the British actor reflected on the enduring legacy of the caped crusader.
“Well, I think it’s been really incredible because he’s not just a superhero, you know? And I feel like it’s been a while since we’ve had a real superhero on screen,” said Robert Pattinson. “I mean, it really is, isn’t it? I feel like we’re in desperate need of a superhero now, you know? I mean, it’s great that he’s finally here.”
Taking Inspiration From the Comics
It is perhaps no coincidence that the most iconic visual symbol of the Batman persona is also one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. Comic books have always been a source of genuine inspiration for creators and artists alike, and the character’s timeless popularity is testament to the fact that he continues to engage with audiences even now, more than 70 years after his first appearance on the comic book page. In an effort to bring a little of that magic to life, the Russo brothers, who are directing the highly-anticipatedBatman vs. Superman, reached out to the actor to see if he would be interested in playing the character. The response was immediate and enthusiastic, and so it was decided that Pattinson would become the next Batman.
The filmmaker and his team took their inspiration from a variety of sources to create a superhero suit and, most importantly, a persona that is distinct from previous incarnations of the character. According to reports, Joe Manganiello, who is playing the lead role of the super villain Deathstroke, described the process of creating the character as “an evolution.”
“I think one of the biggest challenges was figuring out what makes him different from everybody else,” Manganiello said. “There are certain stylistic choices that he makes and certain lines that he says that you can’t find in any other Batman. So, I think trying to figure out what makes him special and sticking to that.”
In addition to drawing inspiration from comic books, filmmakers also drew from other sources such as graphic novels and the Batman : Noël film, which was released in 2010. In graphic novels, the Dark Knight is often depicted with a red hood, a trait that first appears in the early 1960s. Another significant visual influence appeared in the 1946 classic Batman, which featured Kirk Douglas as the Caped Crusader. During production of the recent Batman vs. Superman shoot, fans noticed a few key differences between the onscreen version and previous incarnations of the character, which were perhaps intended to evoke a nostalgic sentiment among viewers.
Among the changes are a more streamlined costume and a new look beneath the helmet. These details were leaked online by fans who were granted early access to set.
What Does This Mean For The Future Of Comic Books?
Comic books are among the best-selling genres across all formats, with graphic novels accounting for a significant chunk of sales. According to Variety, the global book market was worth an estimated $16.9 billion in 2018 and is projected to hit $21.9 billion by next year.
The success of comic books can be attributed to several factors, including their relatively low production costs compared to other genres, the fact that they can be enjoyed by a wide audience, and the fact that they can be used to reflect and comment on society and the world around us. In an interview with CNBC, the co-CEO of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, stated that his company’s successful cinematic iterations, such as Black Panther, owe much to comics, especially the variety of tones and issues that they can represent.
“Even if you’re a fan of traditional superhero stories, there’s something exciting about seeing these characters in a totally different setting,” Feige said. “Having a story that isn’t bound by tradition, but can still have these traditional elements gives us more freedom and allows us to really explore new places and new stories.”
The idea of a superhero movie that doesn’t feature traditional elements is, in a sense, revolutionary. With the rise of comic book movies in the 21st century, we’ve seen a variety of creative takes on our favorite characters, from the comedic to the gritty to the retro. It seems that the era of the modern superhero movie is now, and fans of the genre should enjoy the ride.