How I learned to stop worrying and love Robert Pattinson as Batman

how i learned to love robert pattinson as batman twilight

I didn’t expect to be okay with Robert Pattinson playing Batman.

Up until recently, the combination of DC Comics’ Dark Knight and the sparkling vampires of the Twilight franchise seemed best represented by a Venn diagram with two distinct circles that never overlap. And yet, here we are, and I can’t help thinking Pattinson-as-Batman is actually some pretty clever casting.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m approaching the news that Warner Bros. Pictures has chosen the former Twilight star to be the new face of Bruce Wayne with more than a little caution. Still, the more I ponder the potential of Pattinson starring in The Batman, though, the more I like it.

When you look at the roles Pattinson has played up to this point — yes, even including the Twilight films — there’s actually more in his resume that suggests he’d make a good Batman than a bad one.

In the time since the Twilight franchise ended, Pattinson has had an impressively wide-ranging resume.

Batman is DC Comics’ greatest detective, but he also makes a strong case for being DC’s most angsty high-profile hero. Being dark and brooding is (and has always been, despite what the Adam West television series suggests) the closest thing to a superpower Batman wields.

Similarly, while Pattinson’s Twilight vampire Edward Cullen had fantastic strength, speed, and baseball-playing abilities, it was his ability to metaphorically darken a room — even while sparkling — that made him the hottest thing in Hollywood.

To his credit, a lesser actor might have been able to pull it off for just a film or two, but Pattinson managed to keep Edward’s moping game on point across five films that grossed more than $3 billion collectively worldwide.

That’s some superhero-level brooding, my friends.

So he’s got the “dark” aspect of DC’s Dark Knight down, but what about his other acting chops — or maybe more importantly, his action chops?

In the time since the Twilight franchise ended, Pattinson has had an impressively wide-ranging resume. The characters Pattinson has played since his vampire days cover a colorful spectrum from wealthy playboys and globe-trotting adventurers to deadbeat thugs and space travelers, offering him a wealth of elements from which to draw and a very Batman-esque quality of being a man capable of wearing many faces.

how i learned to love robert pattinson as batman cosmopolis

The disaffected billionaire Pattinson portrayed in David Cronenberg’s 2012 drama Cosmopolis offered some hint of what he might bring to Bruce Wayne, for example, while impressively nuanced performances in recent films such as Good Time and High Life have earned him high praise from critics.

If director Matt Reeves’ The Batman is indeed focused on the early days of the Bruce Wayne’s costumed adventures, with a focus on how the man became the vigilante, the intense introspection and other-ness that Pattinson has brought to some of his best roles is a surprisingly good fit. Batman has always maintained a level of managed detachment from the people around him — even when he’s Bruce Wayne — and that plays well with the roles for which Pattinson has delivered his best performances.

So he can act, but can he throw a punch and strike terror into the hearts of Gotham’s criminals?

The Twilight franchise wasn’t exactly known for its action sequences, despite having some decent opportunities for vampire (and werewolf) brawls. There’s some missed potential there, but fortunately, well-established action chops aren’t exactly a prerequisite for being a good Batman.

Batman’s big-screen history is filled with actors who did just fine despite not having an action-movie background. Before he got nuts as Batman, Michael Keaton was better known for wacky comedy than superhero fare, and neither Val Kilmer nor George Clooney were generally regarded as action heroes before donning the cowl.

Ben Affleck as Batman

Christian Bale had some action experience, certainly, but Ben Affleck was still better known for being Matt Damon’s pal in Good Will Hunting before he became the most recent Batman. Affleck’s grizzled Batman is widely regarded as one of the best parts of the much-maligned Batman V. Superman and Justice League films — particularly due to his action scenes — which just goes to show that even a silly nickname like “Batfleck” (or “RBattz,” in Pattinson’s case) can’t keep a good Bat down.

All of that just goes to show that a wealth of brilliantly choreographed fight scenes aren’t exactly a necessity for getting the best out of a Batman.

In the end, it’s director and co-writer Matt Reeves’ screenplay that will likely be the deciding factor in whether Pattinson lives up to his Bat-potential. All the pieces are there for a great Batman, but the script can mean all the difference between The Dark Knight and a Batman & Robin fever dream full of corny lines and Bat-nipples.

Sure, I wasn’t prepared to accept Pattinson as Batman, but if this Twilight-ridiculing comics fan can learn to like the idea, so can you.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Emerging Tech

Stallone in Terminator 2? How one deepfake prankster is changing cinema history

Ever wanted to see The Shining with Jim Carrey instead of Jack Nicholson? How about Stallone in Terminator 2: Judgement Day instead of everyone's favorite governator? Thanks to deepfakes, it's now possible -- just ask YouTuber Ctrl Shift…
Movies & TV

From Hawkeye to Hit-Monkey, here’s every Marvel show and movie coming your way

The MCU's third phase might have ended, but Marvel's takeover of theaters and TV screens is just getting started. If you're hungry for more superhero action, here's every upcoming project to look forward to, from the MCU and otherwise.
Movies & TV

Skip the sunshine this summer and watch the best shows on Hulu

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best movies streaming on Hulu right now (July 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

Comic-Con 2019 preview: The biggest movie and TV panels you won’t want to miss

Even with more competition than ever, Comic-Con International is still one of the biggest pop culture events of the year. For the latest news about your favorite shows and movies, these are the biggest panels to follow.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream this week: Cities of Last Things and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Cities of Last Things, Phoenix, and Gone Baby Gone.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Apple TV+: A very early comparison of the streaming rivals

Apple is lining up to compete with Netflix in the streaming video environment, so how does Apple TV+ compare to Netflix? Here's how they stack up, from price and content to the devices they're available on.
Movies & TV

The best new stories of the week for July 6, 2019: 1865, Freaknik, and more

Feel like you’re drowning in podcasts? In this weekly series, we’ll help you pick out the best of the new and returning shows. This week’s picks include Lincoln's assassination, beauty by women of color, and Atlanta's legendary…
Movies & TV

Terminator: Dark Fate’s new assassin is front and center in latest movie poster

The latest posters for Terminator: Dark Fate put the spotlight on the film's updated android assassin and returning franchise star Linda Hamilton, and offer a peek at the showdown to come between these two characters.
Movies & TV

Terminator: Dark Fate: Everything we know about the new movie so far

The most recent Terminator films didn't do so well, but now James Cameron has returned to reinvigorate the franchise. Here's everything we know about the cast, crew, and story of the upcoming Terminator: Dark Fate movie.
Movies & TV

Sit down and watch some of the best stand-up comedy on Netflix

Feeling a little funny? There are hundreds of hilarious comedy specials out there, and you can't be expected to comb through them all. Lucky for you, we've compiled a list of the best stand-up specials on Netflix.
News

Game of Thrones and HBO lead in nominations for the 2019 Emmy Awards

Game of Thrones and HBO led the pack in the nominations of the 2019 Emmy awards, which were announced on Tuesday. Critical darlings like Chernobyl and Veep also received numerous nominations. Here's the complete list of nominees.
Home Theater

Five questions we need answered after watching Stranger Things season 3

Stranger Things expanded its world quite a bit in season 3, but the hit Netflix series still left audiences with plenty of questions about what the future holds for the show and some of the core elements of its mythology.
Movies & TV

Director Taika Waititi is back for Thor 4, and that’s all we needed to know

Director Taika Waititi and actor Chris Hemsworth, the team that brought you Thor: Ragnarok, will reunite once again for Thor 4. That's good news for MCU fans. For Waititi's live-action Akira? Not so much.