Most people have either heard of or know someone who’s seen Batman. The Caped Crusader first appeared on the big screen in Batman (1966), which remains one of the most popular films ever made. Since then, the Batman franchise has continued to thrive and now boasts a total of nine films (not including this year’s The Dark Knight Rises), with the most recent entry, The Lego Movie (2014), earning over $500 million at the box office.
The success of the Batman franchise inspired many Hollywood A-listers to don the cowl and pursue acting on the big screen. One of the most notable instances is Robert Pattinson, who played the iconic role of Robin in The Batman (1966). Since then, Pattinson has gone on to appear in a string of successful films including Twilight (2008), Water for Thought (2013) and Good Time (2018). Most recently, Pattinson can be seen in Robert Pattinson’s Batman stl (2019), the first ever Batman spinoff that he has starred in and produced. Let’s take a look…
First Off, The Man Behind The Curtain
There’s no question that Batman is one of the most recognizable and influential characters in modern popular culture. The success of the Batman franchise has undoubtedly inspired many filmmakers to take on the Batman persona and the associated tropes and characteristics. Hence, we have a veritable cottage industry of films focused on the Dark Knight.
Among these are The Adventures of Batman & Robin (1968), Planet of the Apes (1968), Revenge of the Jungle (1969), The Long Halloween (1973), Black Wax (1974), Batman: The Movie (1966), and Ra’s Al Ghul’s League of Shadows (1966). In some ways, these darker films serve as a prequel to the more family-friendly iterations of the Batman franchise, giving us a glimpse into the roots of the Dark Knight.
The fact that these prequels are often overlooked or derided as inferior due to their darker tones testifies to just how influential and popular the Batman franchise has been. These sorts of films helped to establish Batman as a dark and complicated figure whose motives are often ambiguous and whose actions are often perceived as selfish or unethical. Even more notably, many of these films helped to pave the way for the Dark Knight and his larger-than-life persona in future installments of the franchise. As a result, it’s no exaggeration to say that the Batman franchise—which now boasts over 40 years of content—has had a monumental impact on pop culture.
The Dark Knight is unquestionably the quintessential Batman film. While some might argue that The Dark Knight Rises (2011) is the best of the franchise (and it is a wonderful film), we’d have to disagree. Despite its popularity, The Dark Knight is most notable for laying the foundation for the Batman franchise as we know it today. It’s also the first film in the franchise to feature Gordon (Gary Oldman) as the film’s main protagonist. Prior to this point, the Batman films had largely featured B-list villains like Oswald (Perlman) and Jack (DeWitt) whom the audience would root for simply because they’re not The Joker. This sort of artificial suspense is what made The Dark Knight stand out; here we have The Joker as the main antagonist, which automatically made him the most interesting character in the movie. It also meant that the audience was invested in the character’s fate, as they had invested their time and emotions in a movie villain whom they know the filmmakers are trying to portray as a sympathetic character.
What Is Robert Pattinson’s Batman Movie About?
The film opens with shots of an American city at night, which transitions into a montage of news reports about a serial killer who has been terrorizing the populace for the past few weeks. After an anchorwoman (played by Sigourney Weaver) lists a litany of the murders, we cut to the Joker (played by Jack Heldman) as he addresses the American public through a televised press conference. In order to prove to the world that he is indeed the definitive voice of The Joker, he proceeds to taunt and insult the police, the FBI, and even the president of the United States (played by Bill Clarke).
The Joker’s press conference ends with him offering a bomb-packed motorcycle to the American public. As many of you may know, The Joker is a notorious biker, and the inclusion of his signature weapon, the Harley Davidson motorcycle, in this scene, is not a coincidence. It sets the stage for the film’s main conflict, which pits the Joker against Gordon, who is now The Batman. The Joker seeks to prove that he is far more clever and resourceful than any scared villain ever before seen on the big screen.
Is It Better Than The Dark Knight?
This is probably the most pivotal question of all because, while most people know and love The Dark Knight, many did not have the pleasure of experiencing The Joker. The fact that Robert Pattinson’s Batman stl is the first Batman spinoff to successfully stand on its own and not feel like a cheap sequel to The Dark Knight (2011) is a testament to how good this film is. The Robin franchise failed to generate the same level of success as The Batman, but Robert Pattinson’s Robin is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and compelling characters in the comics. It’s been over a decade since we’ve seen him on the big screen, and even then his scenes were largely confined to cameos, so it’s very much a joy to see him finally get a solo film. Seeing as Robin is one of the most prominent characters in the Batman comics, it’s not a huge stretch to assume that The Batman franchise has inspired this film, but it’s also important to note that The Joker is largely responsible for the success of Robin. His twisted sense of humor and psychological profiling of characters made him the perfect foil for Robin, inspiring a generation of comic book readers to don Robin’s bearskin and get on The Internet to tell all their friends that they love the Joker and that he’s the best antagonist ever.
The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
While The Joker is clearly the central character of Robert Pattinson’s Batman stl, it also stars some of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood. Its ensemble cast includes Christian Bale (whose résumé includes The Dark Knight and The Lord of The Rings), Lucy Lawless (whose work includes X-Men 1 and X-Men 2), Samantha Lee (whose work includes Sleepers and The Nanny 2), Dane Decker (whose work includes Raising Phillip McCarthy and Outbreak ), and Julia Roberts (whose work includes The Notebook and On Laura).
The film also features one of the greatest acting duets of all time, delivered with magnificent comic timing and impeccable chemistry by Bale and Pattinson. While The Joker is clearly the main character, it’s often very hard to tell where Pattinson’s Robin leaves off and Bale’s The Batman starts. The two share an amazing screen chemistry that is on full display in The Joker and makes for some of the most entertaining scenes in the film. The pair also work wonders with Lee’s Cassandra Chase, who is unfortunately reduced to little more than a plot device and sex kitten in The Batman. Despite this misstep, the remaining cast members make up for it in other ways, with Christian Bale continuing to prove that he is not only The Batman, but one of the greatest actors of our time.