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1. Surprisingly Good Acting Chops - Most of the people who are really dismissive of Pattinson playing Batman are only familiar with him from some of his earlier roles in other franchises. Basically, if you only know Pattinson from Harry Potter or Twilight, then it’s easy to dismiss him as a vapid pretty boy. However, Pattinson has been busy acting his heart out in plenty of indie movies. And he has done so largely because he wants to work with certain directors that he idolizes. This includes the Safdie brothers, Werner Herzog, David Cronenberg, and more. This gives us high hopes because just as Pattinson was passionate about working with those directors, he seems passionate about working with The Batman director Matt Reeves. He was so excited about the script (Reeves also wrote the movie) and downright pestered Reeves for a chance to audition. In other words, we have an actor with serious blockbuster and indie chops (no, seriously, go watch him keep up with Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse) who wants to do something new and exciting with a tired and worn-out genre, and we are here for it.
2. Understanding Batman’s Psychology - When it comes to who should play Batman, comic nerds and movie buffs always end up evaluating new actors with the same question: “but does he really understand the character?” In a word, “yes.” Pattinson actually raised quite a few eyebrows when discussing Batman’s morality with the French publication Premiere Magazine. “There is the rule with Batman: he must not kill. It can be interpreted in two ways. Either he only wants to inflict the appropriate punishment, or he wants to kill and his self-control prevents him from doing so.” Continuing, he describes the revelation that occurred to him while practicing for a fight scene. “something in him just wanted to slit the guy's throat! I told myself that if he spends his nights chasing criminals, it is impossible that he does not take pleasure in it. He suffers and it is a desire that overwhelms him." Finishing up, he concluded that "by dint of knocking, his mind clears, he calms down, he reaches a state close to plenitude. I'm sure in this first fight, he manages to convince himself that every guy in front of him is the one who killed his mother. And so that allows him to vent all his rage." It’s not like we haven’t seen an enraged Batman onscreen before. In fact, Batman v. Superman introduces a Caped Crusader who is happy to brand his victims. But while Affleck’s Batman just seemed angry in a directionless way, Pattinson has given clear thought to what drives Batman right up to the brink as well as what brings him back from the edge.
3. The World’s Greatest Detective - As Batman nerds know, one of Batman’s more famous titles is “The World’s Greatest Detective.” But we rarely get to see this onscreen. In fact, there is more actual detective work at play in the hokey Adam West Batman movie than there is in any of the Batman films that came out in the next half-century.That’s going to change with this new movie, and Pattinson is hyped about it. Speaking to Moviemaker Magazine, he claimed that both he and Reeves wanted to lean into the “‘world’s greatest detective aspect’” and have the film “be a detective noir movie.”Perhaps realizing how cynical fans can be, Pattinson clarified what he meant. “Normally when directors say that, they just do, like, a mood board, and it’s just about the imagery. But I read the script, and it is a detective movie. It happens all the time in the graphic novels, but it’s always kind of on the backburner in the movies.”A movie about the World’s Greatest Detective that has detective work more complex than feeding stuff into the Batcomputer or punching Joker in the head? Count us in!
4. Not Taking Things Too Seriously - Want to hear a simple statement that will piss off half the movie fans in your life and most movie fans online? Here is it: comic book movies are silly, and the source material they are based on has always been silly.The MCU and DCEU (is that even still a thing?) may be billion-dollar industries, but they are based on comics that used to cost a quarter a piece. Each comic was filled with colorful characters, high-flying adventures, and a deeply unrealistic plot. And yet comics fans loved every minute of it.But after the success of Batman begins, the creators of comics media and their fans thought everything had to be serious and grimdark all the time. This is how you get a Green Arrow TV show where he spent the first few seasons trying to sound like Batman. It’s how you get joyless dreck like Batman v. Superman. Sometimes, the darkness is quite literal: ever notice that Disney thinks what we loved best about Endgame was how everything looked like a muddy blur in the final fight, so now all their fight scenes look like that?And then there’s Robbert Pattinson. In a 2020 interview during quarantine, he joked to GQ about not really working out for The Batman. “Literally, I'm just barely doing anything,” he said. This triggered a wave of weirdo fans worried that there might not be enough real muscles under the fake muscles of the Batman suit.It got bad enough that Pattinson had to later clarify that he was joking. But here’s the thing: it’s perfectly fine for an actor not to take playing a comic book character all that seriously. And anyone that got deeply offended by his joke will be distracted by some jangling keys any minute now, so we don’t need to worry about them.
5. Becoming the Batman - Part of why Pattinson has been such a divisive choice for this role is that he brings a lot of duality and contradiction to it. For example, in that same interview with Premiere Magazine, he laughs about how dirty and grimy his Batman really is. “Anyway, I could only play a superhero if he was really dirty!”This, like the crack about not working out, help showcase a certain irreverence Pattinson brings to the role. But one thing he is perfectly reverent about is the suit itself. In a cover story for Variety, he described what it was like to don the cape and cowl for the first time.“You do feel very powerful immediately," he said. "And it's pretty astonishing, something that is incredibly difficult to get into, so the ritual of getting into it is pretty humiliating. You've got five people trying to shove you into something. Once you've got it on, it's like, 'Yeah, I feel strong, I feel tough, even though I had to have someone squeezing my butt cheeks into the legs.'"This is basically Pattinson’s approach to the role in a nutshell: he understands the power and totemic potential of Batman as a character. But he also understands the inherent silliness of having a five-man team shove his butt into a rubber suit. Considering that Batman himself is a creature of duality (he must be both the fearsome embodiment of vengeance and a goofy, vapid playboy), we’re confident the franchise is in good hands right now.
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