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Robert Pattinson Is the Most Believable Batman

Under the brooding eye makeup and Nirvana records is the sweet scared kid comics readers have long known and loved. One of the many pleasures of The Batman which premiered on HBO Max this week is finally getting another kind of story about being Batman on the big screen. Both the Christopher Nolan and Zach Snyder depictions of Batman were close but not quite for me as a lifelong Batman fan and comic book reader. Having cut my teeth on Batman The Animated Series Christian Bales turn as a billionaire playboy rang true to me but his Batman always felt a little too well adjusted for a guy who decides to become a bat themed vigilante. Ben Afflecks interpretation of Batman as a divorced dad also was not wrong exactly especially given Snyders obvious fondness for the work of Frank Miller. But it was not the kind of Batman story that I have found compelling since I was a child.

Robert Pattison who skyrocketed to fame as Edward Cullen in Twilight has made a career of playing obsessive weirdos starting with Cullen who Pattinson said he played as a 108yearold virgin. From Eric Packer in David Cronenbergs adaptation of Don DeLillos Cosmopolis to Thomas Howard in Robert Eggerss lonely homoerotic The Lighthouse to Monte the prisoner doomed to languish on a spaceship headed into a black hole in Claire Deniss High Life Pattinson is interested in characters who are in search of something that is missing in their lives whether that be Cullens desire for true love Packers desire for the Rothko Chapel or Montes desire for human dignity these are all singularly driven characters past the point of sense in most cases. Pattinsons Batman is also defined by that kind of obsessive hopeless search for purpose.

The story of Batman is pretty simple Bruce Wayne the son of a rich doctor who could want for nothing is orphaned one night by a mugger. In response after years of not recovering from his grief this child decides to dress up as a bat to fight crime. Both Nolan and Snyder pretty much stop there with the decision to dress like a bat and fight crime being the answer to Bruces problems. While Snyder didnt get to tell the complete story he wanted to Nolans trilogy ends with Batman escaping his self imposed cycle of grief and fucking off with Anne Hathaway to France Gotham be damned. Again none of these portrayals are bad but they dont reach the richness that the comics or even Batman The Animated Series are capable of.

Nolan and Snyder made movies about a guy who is broken and for whom being Batman is the reprieve from his brokenness. Its an appealing fantasy of recovering from trauma by simply transforming yourself one that many people wish were true. Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinsons Batman is just a step more complicated. Being Batman cant save Bruce Wayne from his loneliness in this movie. He has to however slowly actually process the emotional pain that drove him to make such an extreme life choice in the first place.

Pattinson reportedly is a real Batman nerd who sat down with Eggers while doing post production work for The Lighthouse and said I need to play the Batman. Like a lot of people his age who grew up when Tim Burtons Batman film paved the way for every single superhero movie that came after it he was obsessed with Batman to the point of wearing the costume as his normal childhood clothes. You can feel this kind of instinctual childhood fascination in his portrayal of Bruce Wayne and Batman. Hes a Batman fans Batman the kind of Batman who shows up in the most famous and acclaimed of his comic books. This is Batman as an emotionally stunted adult a guy who dresses up as a bat to solve crime not as an answer but as a way to find something for which he is still eternally seeking.

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