What do you get when you cross the British actor Robert Pattinson with the caped crusader who made him famous? It’s not quite clear, but whatever it is, it’s certainly a famous Hollywood ending.
Pattinson’s departure from the Batman franchise is certainly a sad day for fans of the Dark Knight. The English actor portrayed millionaire Bruce Wayne in the 2012 blockbuster Suicide Squad and many hoped he would become the new Batman following the untimely death of actor Adam West. While the role of the billionaire playboy might not be for everyone – especially fans of the darker Batman incarnations – it is a fascinating study in character creation.
Here, we’ll explore how a Hollywood superstar became the final actor to play Batman on film.
The charming and talented Robert Pattinson was born in London on July 21st 1975. He began acting as a boy, appearing in commercials and short films before breaking into the major leagues with the 2005 blockbuster Dark Knights. Since then, he has gone on to appear in many more films, both live-action and animated, often playing wealthy or powerful men. His notable films include The Rover, Water for Elephants, and The Lost City. Most recently, he starred in the critically-acclaimed film Good. He is also the face of numerous beauty products, ranging from body lotions and face creams to lip balms and anti-wrinkle serums.
Pattinson started out as a teen actor, appearing in kid-friendly fare such as The Life of Mammoths and Toy Story 3. He portrayed the young Dick Grayson in the 2006 film Nightwatching, based on the life of DC Comics writer and editor Dick Grayson. The film was mostly panned by critics but it did somewhat better at the box office, bringing in over $48 million worldwide. Another of Pattinson’s early appearances was in 2008’s Valentine’s Day, starring opposite his then-partner Kristen Stewart. In 2019, he portrayed Marvel Comics mutant Domino in the Netflix film The New Mutants. He has also had roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, portraying both Edward Cullen and John Taylor in the 2013 film series House of Gucci and the 2019 film The New Mutants.
Pattinson’s breakout role came in the 2011 film Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer. The film is based on the DC Comics character of the same name, who was originally a Nazi hunter in the Golden Age of Comics and later became the protagonist of a spin-off miniseries. Pattinson plays Rick Flag, leader of the Suicide Squad and the father of Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie).
There are many more characters in Suicide Squad, but it essentially revolves around this ragtag team of villains. Created by Paul Dini and Steve Engelhardt in the 1960s, the Suicide Squad first went on an anti-hero rampage in the pages of The Justice League of America before eventually landing on the big screen. The film also stars Jai Courtney, Viola Davis, and Captain America himself, Steve Rogers.
Ayer’s film was a massive hit, becoming one of the highest-grossing films of all time. It made over $450 million worldwide and was critically acclaimed, with many praising Pattinson’s performance. Suicide Squad still has a considerable following today and is often ranked among the greatest superhero movies of all time.
The Next Batman
While several other actors were reportedly in contention for the role of Batman following Adam West’s death in 2018, Pattinson was ultimately selected as the next actor to play the Dark Knight. He will appear in the upcoming 2021 film Batman #19, which is set to be released on June 4th 2021.
The film will be Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s final contribution to the 80-year-old Batman saga. With the Dark Knight Rises, Zack Snyder brought the character back to his roots, portraying him as a symbol of hope in a world gone mad. Batman #19 will continue this trend, with Snyder exploring the origins of the Dark Knight and how he came to be.
While Pattinson’s casting was met with universal acclaim, it’s worth noting that other actors were in contention for the role as well. Many fans felt that the choice was a bit of a surprise, given that Pattinson is not exactly the first choice to play Batman. Some suggested that the role should have gone to Jared Leto, while Christian Bale was even rumored to be offered the part before eventually turning it down. It is possible that Warner Bros. saw in Pattinson the same commercial appeal as they did with Leto and Bale – but, more importantly, they saw an opportunity to end an endless string of dismal Batman films with a high-profile name. At the very least, we can rest assured that this will be Snyder’s final Batman film, as he has publicly stated that he is done playing with superheroes forever.
From Batkid To Batman
Many were surprised when it was announced that Batman would be played by the same actor in all of the upcoming films, given that it will be Pattinson’s first time playing the iconic character. The decision was made in an effort to maintain a sense of continuity and minimize the effects of aging on the actor’s appearance.
The only previous actor to play Batman in a consecutive series of films was George Clooney, who portrayed the Dark Knight in the 2005 film Batman Begins and its two sequels. Although these movies are generally considered to be among the best superhero films ever made, there were nevertheless some fans who felt that they were a bit too similar to previous incarnations. Clooney’s Batman was inspired by Michael Keaton’s darker interpretation of the character and some said it lacked the satirical and comedic elements of previous films. In an effort to recapture these elements, Warner Bros. will be giving Clooney’s Batman a makeover, changing his costume (expected to be revealed at Comic-Con 2020) and adding anachronistic elements to the design.
While there is certainly much to praise about Robert Pattinson’s performance as Batman, it is important to put it in the right context. Yes, he is a fantastic actor and he brings a very humanistic touch to the role. He also happens to fit the body language and mannerisms of the character very well. But he is playing a billionaire playboy who cares only about himself and his own interests. This version of Batman will not be for everyone, as it doesn’t offer the same satire or self-deprecation that other actors have brought to the character.
Even still, given his considerable talent, it is rather sad that this will be his last starring role. With the exception of Nightwatching, all of his other films have been relatively small productions and he has primarily worked behind the scenes, providing his voice for animated films. As much as we might like to see him in more significant roles, it is important to realize that this is essentially the end of an era for Batman.
The road to 2021 will not be easy for the Dark Knight. After Snyder’s departure, a wave of writers and directors have come forward to replace him. One of the most highly-anticipated films is 2021’s Batman vs. Superman and this time, fans can expect a more conventional superhero tale. Many have expressed their hope that Batman will be seen as more than just a “one-note” character and that he will be explored as a socio-political commentary on class and privilege. We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.