Batman Backlash: The Pattinson Decision

A few years ago I voiced my opinion on the casting of Ben Affleck in the role of Batman in then fledgling DCEU because the internet was in a tizzy regarding the news. When it was announced that Robert Pattinson is a front runner to take over the role from Affleck in Matt Reeves’ upcoming film noir inspired film “The Batman,”  the internet tizzied up again. As my opinion on this casting differs in no way from my opinion on Affleck’s casting, I’m just going to post my original piece, with some notable changes: 

Recently, fanboys got their Underoos in a bunch when Warner Bros. announced that Ben Affleck Robert Pattinson will be portraying Batman in  the Man of Steel sequel The Batman. This, as far as the internet was concerned, was End of Days (in the biblical sense, although the movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger is a suitable comparison as well). Outrage swept the comic book world, and nerds from every facet of geekdom united in their protests. Now before people start burning Daredevil Twilight movie action figures in effigy, let’s pump the Batmobile brakes a bit and take a breath.

This is not the first time Batfans have expressed their dissatisfaction with a casting choice. If you recall, everyone lost their guano when it was announced that Heath “Brokeback Mountain” Ledger was going to attempt to fill Jack “Caricature of His Former Self” Nicholson’s shoes. Ledger not only nailed the shit out of the Joker, but earned himself a posthumous Oscar for the role (one might argue it was earned only because of his death, but the nomination was at least deserved).

While Nicholson’s performance in Tim Burton’s Batman is cartoonish comparison to Ledger’s, it was still dynamic, and every fanboy with a keyboard and room in their parent’s basement was enraged that someone else was going to try to attempt a go at it. And let’s not forget the reaction to the news that “Mr. Mom” was going to attempt to portray Batman. “Wait a minute,” said the 1989 pre-internet comic book community. “You mean to tell me that an actor, who possesses the ability to act in a humorous way, may also possesses the ability to act in a non-humorous way? Why that’s preposterous! ” Well it turns out Keaton wasn’t that bad either.

Not that Keaton was spectacular, mind you. In fact NO actor that has portrayed Batman has been spectacular. Every actor that has played the role has been overshadowed by the actors around them, good or bad. Which has not been a reflection on the actors playing Batman themselves. Batman just has not been written all that well. Keaton, Val Kilmer, and even George Clooney, have all been fine. They are all great actors. They just weren’t given much to work with. Even Christian Bale, who is an equally great actor, wasn’t given much either as far as Batman/Bruce Wayne was concerned. But he had the benefit of being in much better movies over all. Any one of his predecessors would have been successful in Christopher Nolan’s films playing the role.

Look, these movies are not Shakespeare. While they have achieved a level of credibly and believability, it’s still a bunch of movies about a guy in a cape. And the role has been written as such. Go watch every portrayal of Batman since 1989. Go ahead. I’ll wait. That’s what everyone thinks Ben Affleck Robert Pattinson can’t do? Really? I’d venture to say most actors in Hollywood with a chin and a voice box could pull that off with equal proficiency. This is not a hard role to portray. Affleck Pattinson is a competent actor. He’s not Brando, but he’s managed to pull of a few good performances in recent years.

Ben Affleck Robert Pattinson will be just fine. He’ll easily be able to handle the suave, debonair Bruce Wayne part, and he already has the chin for the Batman cowl. The rest is just stunt coordinating and a gravelly voice. So just relax, internet, and stop judging things before you see them. But I suppose that’s what you do best. On second thought, never mind, internet. Carry on.

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