Robert Pattinson’s latest turn as the modern day version of Bruce Wayne was met with a lukewarm response by movie-goers who flocked to see The Batman in theaters last month. While the film was praised for its dark take on the caped crusader and his quest for justice, the actor’s transformation into the billionaire playboy’s persona left something to be desired.
Pattinson’s physical appearance as Wayne, complete with tailored clothing and decadent accessories, was compared unfavorably to his previous work in TwiLight and Water For Elephants, for which he received critical acclaim. While there was no denying that The Batman represented a vast improvement over his previous outings, especially considering its R-rating, audiences did not seem entirely convinced to embrace Batman as their new favorite movie character. Reviews aggregating website, rotten tomatoes, gave the film a rating of 38 out of 100, based on 276 critic reviews. The audience score, as determined by crowdsourcing website, IMDb, was 66%.
While The Batman underperformed at theaters, it was a massive hit on digital platforms, scoring $850 million worldwide on IMDb, with a score of 7.4/10.
The performance-devoid cinematic universe surrounding the Marvel Cinematic Universe has helped establish the term “MCU fatigue” in the minds of movie-goers, so much so that audiences are seeking out more independent and original content. The success of films like Black Panther and A Quiet Place have proven that there is an appetite for cinematic stories that aren’t linked to ongoing comic book series. Audiences are now searching for films that reflect their interests, whether it’s superhero movies or horror flicks, and are less likely to be satisfied with anything that’s associated with a long-running franchise.
While movie-goers in Gotham are still pondering Wayne’s true identity, other fans have taken the opportunity to scrutinize his physical appearance in great detail. On film forums like reddit and Twitter, there have been countless debates over whether or not to believe that Pattinson’s casting was a homage to the 1939 film, and if his transformation into Wayne was actually believable. There are even discussions over whether or not the actor’s work as Batman in the upcoming Black comedy, Joker, will make the transformation into Wayne more convincing. (It probably will, doesn’t hurt to have James J. Gordon in the outfit either.)
For those who have questions about the authenticity of Pattinson’s portrayal of Wayne, there is now a new resource available; the makeover challenge that was issued last year. The challenge, which was open to the public, tasked users with transforming Pattinson into the iconic billionaire playboy by taking a pic before and after their makeover and documenting their journey along with tips and tricks from experts. While the goal of the initiative is to highlight the transformative power of makeup, the forum has also been a place for fans to compare pics of Pattinson before and after his transformation and come to their own conclusions about whether or not the actor’s work as Batman is genuine.
Is It Genuine?
The results of the challenge are pretty spectacular. As the name would suggest, the makeup transformations for Gotham’s most luxurious denizen are truly something to behold. From a somewhat pale and wan Michael J. Fox to a fully glowing and radiant Charlize Theron, the forum members have certainly delivered when it comes to making Pattinson look like some sort of superhero. (Or a vampire, depending on how you look at it.) While many of the transformations were rather natural, there are a few standout examples that were truly praiseworthy.
Before And After
Take a look at Michael J. Fox’s photo before and after his makeover, which was completed by artist Stephen Williams. (The image is cropped from Fox’s Instagram account.) In addition to transforming him into a fully realized version of the Marvel Comics character, Stephen also gave him a tan, fixed his teeth, and highlighted his cheekbones with an orange tint. The end result is a rather stunning example of just how effective makeup can be when used in the right way.
As you can see in the image above, Pattinson’s skin is significantly more illuminated in the after photo, which is a direct result of the artist’s work. The difference in tone between the two pics is also rather remarkable, something that Stephen attests to in the comments below.
“I used a medium brown color on his lips, which I think makes them look fuller. And on his cheekbones, I used a dark orange color,” he wrote. “I used a warmer orange on his cheekbones than on his lips, which I think brings out the best in his features. I think he looks great and you can’t go wrong.”
Take A Closer Look
One of the biggest questions surrounding the authenticity of Pattinson’s portrayal of Wayne is whether or not the actor’s transformation into the billionaire playboy was actually convincing. While many of the transformations were rather seamless, there were several examples where the makeup artist had to go back and fix some minor details in order to make it seem more realistic. (The forum also included a few videos of members trying on different looks, which you can check out below.)
“I tried to give him a more youthful appearance,” said Makeup Artist Laura Miller about her work on the challenge. “I used a glow product on his face to illuminate it more. I tried to make him look like a perfect, elegant young man. When you glow something in general, you brighten it up and make it more youthful looking. So I used a glow product on his face to illuminate it more. And then, I used a bronzer to give it that extra glow. So it’s a little bit more realistic looking.”
While there is no denying that Pattinson’s work as Wayne, particularly in the theater, is rather incredible, it’s rather difficult to accept that he’s embodying one of the world’s most recognizable fictional characters. This is largely because of the uncanny resemblance between the actor and the character he is portraying. It’s very difficult to look at a photo of Robert Pattinson and not think that you’re witnessing a modern day Sherlock Holmes or Dr. Jekyll. (Although, to be fair, the actor’s Holmes is rather gentlemanly, if a little eccentric. Dr. Jekyll, on the other hand, may bear more than a passing resemblance to disgraced pharmaceutical mogul, Martin Shkreli.)
The forum member known as MrTutu, who transformed Pattinson into a hybrid between Marvel Comics character Wolverine and Francis Ford Coppola’s George Raft, agrees that the transformation into Wayne is rather difficult to believe.
“I think there was a part of you that really wanted to believe that this was the real Bruce Wayne, because he looks so damn good. But there’s just so much evidence that this is not the real Bruce Wayne,” he said. “When you combine the fact that his mannerisms are not at all in line with how Bruce Wayne would act in real life, with the uncanny resemblance, it’s almost impossible for me not to believe that this was a complete makeover. Especially when you look at how good he looks.”
While most of the transformations were rather impressive, it’s rather frustrating to see the amount of attention that they’ve garnered, considering that there are several photos where he appears to be fully makeovers. (This is something that the members of the forum are well aware of.) It would have been more convincing if the members of the group had been more selective in their choice of pics to share, something that artist Stephen attests to in the comments below.
“I think there was only one that I liked where he had the entire face done,” he said. “But with the exception of that one, all of the other ones were rather botched. So I gave him an A for effort, but for the most part, it was rather disappointing.”
In the interest of authenticity, the members of the forum seem fairly certain that Pattinson’s work as Wayne was a full makeover, something that he himself has acknowledged. They’re also rather certain that his work on the Charlie Hunnam-led Netflix series, The Mask, was also a full makeover and, further, that the entire season was a disguised version of the events that unfolded in the Batman series, with a couple of minor exceptions. (The entire first season of The Mask is available to stream on Netflix now, by the way.)
The Pros And Cons Of Transformation Makeovers
While many of the transformations for the challenge were rather convincing, there were several instances where members had to go back and fix some details, particularly on the lips. The problem is that, much like with most forms of digital art, it’s rather easy for someone with a little artistic skill to manipulate images or videos and make it seem like someone else is doing the work. (Think of all the questionable gifs that have been circulating on TikTok and other platforms.)