Musings on Robert Pattinson casting + Matt Reeves’ noir vision for The Batman

It seems it hasn’t been that long ago that I was blogging about casting for a Batman movie when Ben Affleck was cast. If some of you read it, I was actually lamenting about Affleck’s casting then, but later on I came around and actually enjoyed his performance. Now, Christian Bale remains my favorite Batman – not only was he excellent as both Bruce Wayne and the Caped Crusader, his Dark Knight trilogy by Christopher Nolan is by far the best version.

In any case, just two years after Affleck donned the cape in Justice League, and months after news about him stepping down as actor/director, looks like director Matt Reeves has found the new Batman, and it’s another Brit: Robert Pattinson. Boy, surely Twilight fans, specifically Team Edward, rejoice with delight. Honestly I was quite taken aback by it at first… I’d never think of him as the Dark Knight, and the first thing that came to mind was an image of him as the sparkly vapid vampire in Twilight which is enough to make me shudder. But the more I think about it, I’m more open minded about his casting… and after reading more about Matt Reeves’ vision for The Batman (more on that in a bit). Of course, it didn’t take long for social media to erupt with reactions for the news. Some of the more optimistic fans have come up with some ingenious Photoshop work imagining what Pattinson could look like in the role, here are some of my faves…

I remember seeing this still image from David Cronenberg’s COSMOPOLIS where Pattinson played an eccentric young billionaire. Hmmm, perhaps their casting manager (or his agent) has some kind of magic 8-ball? In a similar way like Christian Bale, Pattinson looks much better when he does NOT smile or show his teeth, but his brooding makes me think he’d make an intriguing Bruce Wayne. Pattinson is 13 years younger than Affleck at 33 (making him the youngest actor ever to play Batman), but I think Bale in Batman Begins looked about similar in age and his character was just coming into his own as opposed to a more jaded/grizzled version of Affleck’s.

Apparently two other Brits were in the running for the role, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Nicholas Hoult. I actually like both actors, but I think both are way too pretty as Batman. Hoult especially is just so sweet looking and can’t imagine him being at all menacing. I actually tried to watch his film EQUALS with coincidentally, Pattinson’s ex, Kristen Stewart, and was bored to tears I couldn’t finish watching.

In any case, I think Pattinson has a dose of madness the role requires and he’s played quite a share of those. I saw a few of his work post-Twilight, though not extensively. I liked him in Remember Me and The Lost City of Z where he’s barely recognizable (see inset pic), and even his small role in Queen Of the Desert as T.E. Lawrence. Not a fan of his work in Bel Ami (he’s woefully miscast) and Water For Elephants was meh. I appreciate that he’s been doing a ton of independent films and seeking interesting roles that don’t necessarily capitalize on his looks or fame. In a way it’s similar to how Leonardo DiCaprio was post Titanic mania where he tried to shed his heartthrob image.

Of course with a casting for such a popular superhero, there’ll be naysayers. Some have even started petitions to remove him from the role, ahah. I think people who’ve only seen his work in the YA vampire saga should give him a chance, plus that was nearly a decade ago and he’s certainly grown as a performer. I was browsing some Cannes reviews and saw many critics praising his performance in The Lighthouse. This one from The Wrap in particular intrigues me as it alludes to the Batman casting:

…Pattinson anchors things with a sturdy physical performance that will no doubt calm those concerned about a certain reported upcoming role.

Casting aside, what I am really curious about is what kind of Batman film are we going to get? I have been so disappointed by DC’s renditions of other superheroes of late (I haven’t even mustered enough interest to see Aquaman). But I was really impressed by Matt Reeves’ Apes trilogy, especially the final one War of the Planet of the Apes, that I was excited that he’s given the reign to reboot the Batman movies.

Here’s what he told THR on his take on The Batman:

It’s very much a point of view-driven, noir Batman tale. It’s told very squarely on his shoulders, and I hope it’s going to be a story that will be thrilling but also emotional. It’s more Batman in his detective mode than we’ve seen in the films. The comics have a history of that. He’s supposed to be the world’s greatest detective, and that’s not necessarily been a part of what the movies have been. I’d love this to be one where when we go on that journey of tracking down the criminals and trying to solve a crime, it’s going to allow his character to have an arc so that he can go through a transformation.

There’s also news circulating that this version will feature a rogues gallery of villains (per THR). Apparently so far they’re working on casting Catwoman, The Penguin and Riddler, boy how cool would that be doing casting for THIS project! I much prefer Nolan’s grounded version of Batman than Tim Burton’s, but it remains to be seen what kind of style Reeves would do here. I am intrigued by his vision however, and I trust he’s the right man for the job. Warner Bros has at least given fans, well me for one, some hope to be more than cautiously optimistic.

So what do YOU think of Robert Pattinson’s casting? If you’re not keen on him, who would you like to be cast as The Batman?


13 thoughts on “Musings on Robert Pattinson casting + Matt Reeves’ noir vision for The Batman

  1. I’m fine with giving Pattinson a shot. He is so far removed from the Twilight days. I loved him in The Rover and The Lost City of Z. He does need to bulk up a tad. 🙂

    1. I agree with Keith, totally. His acting is just fine. He’s handsome enough. But, a tad too skinny. But was Michael Keaton “buff” enough? I like this choice much more than Affleck.

      1. Hi Cindy! Some actors started out skinny but they can bulk up for a role. I mean Henry Cavill was very slim too before he played Superman. And yeah Keaton wasn’t huge either.

        I’m with you, more excited about Pattinson’s casting than Affleck’s.

    2. Hey Keith! Yeah I think people are being unfair that they think he can’t play Batman because he’s done Twilight. I think he’s a talented actor who signed on to a subpar material, but he’s proven himself to be a strong performer. Ahah yeah, I think I read somewhere that he’s ready to bulk up. It’s easy for them as they have trainers and nutritionists on the company roster 😉

  2. I’m willing to give Pattinson a shot. He has made interesting choices as an actor. Cosmopolis isn’t one of them as the film as a whole just fucking sucked. I never want to see that again and I’m a fan of David Cronenberg. From performances such as The Lost City of Z and Queen of the Desert, I think Pattinson could bring something to the table.

    I thought Ben Affleck was alright as Batman/Bruce Wayne but it was the material that didn’t work for him. Here’s my ranking of the best Batmans (live-action):

    1. Michael Keaton/Christian Bale (tie)
    2. Adam West
    3. Val Kilmer
    4. Ben Affleck
    5. George Clooney

    1. I haven’t seen Cosmopolis either, just the trailer and some clips. He looked positively mad in that one, as well as other films. Intrigued by the reviews of The Lighthouse, sounds like he played another unhinged character there, so he’d fit well playing Batman.

      Yep agree with you, the material for Affleck’s Batman just wasn’t strong and didn’t really capitalize on his talents. I’d put Kilmer above Adam West, but yeah, Clooney is dead last by a loooong margin.

      1. And Clooney does admit that he sucked as Batman. We can blame Joel Schumacher for that film and I can forgive him for it. Akiva Goldsman however should get some of the blame yet it astounds me that he still gets work no matter how much he sucks as a writer.

  3. I accidentally hit the POST COMMENT button but I meant to say: It seems fans just gets upset every time a new actor got the Batman role. The only exception was Bale’s casting, most seems to think he’s perfectly cast, including yours truly. I haven’t seen a lot of Pattinson’s work but I’ll make judgement when I see the new Batman flick. Like you, I put my trust on Reeve’s talent and hope he can make a good Batman film again.

    One other thing, most of these “fans” seems to forget or maybe most of them are way too young to remember but when Michael Keaton was cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman, people were so upset that Warner Bros.’ stocks lost a lot of points when that was announced. I could only imagine if there were social media and the internet back then. I don’t think Keaton would’ve stuck with it, all the social media outcry would probably made him quit the role or Warner would demand Burton to cast someone else.

    1. It’s true Ted, people will always be upset no matter who is cast. I think Bale is an exception but I remember people were upset about Heath Ledger’s casting as Joker and now they love him! I really hope Reeves can bring the Batman franchise back to the level of Nolan’s.

      Wow I didn’t realize that WB lost stocks because of Keaton’s casting. Yeah and that was before social media. But I think someone like Pattinson is probably used to the social media hoopla and he survived Twilight mania after all, ahah.

      1. Yeah I remember people were upset about Heather Ledger’s casting, I think at the time Sean Penn was fans’ favorite for the Joker.

        On the behind the scenes making of Batman (1989) documentary, Burton said Warner Bros. executives pressured him to create a teaser of the film just only a few weeks into shooting. Once fans saw the teaser, the outcry stopped and of course the film became one of that decade’s biggest hits and Keaton’s considered one of best Batman/Bruce Wayne.

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