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Robert Pattinson Batman Casting Controversy
Even though he hasn’t officially been cast, and even though he’s a pretty damn good choice for the role, superhero fanboys were worked into a frenzy on Thursday evening when news first broke that Robert Pattinson might be the next Batman.
Variety is reporting that the former Twilight star is the top choice for Matt Reeves’ upcoming The Batman, and the internet is mad about it already. Pattinson, who has since asserted himself as a formidable leading man in quality productions from the likes of David Cronenberg and Claire Denis, still somehow has a reputation among superhero fanboys as “the teen vampire guy.” Guys, Twilight came out in 2008. Let it go.
In fact, mere hours after the news broke, online petitions to replace Pattinson have already garnered hundreds of signatures (before the guy has even been cast). One petition on Change.org says “Don’t make the Batfleck mistake again. Don’t do it. For the love of all that is holy, stop trashing the DC Universe.”
Whether you agree or not that Pattinson has the perfectly anemic, sullen vibe to fill the cowl of Bruce Wayne. Fanboys forget that prior to being cast as Batman, Michael Keaton was a sitcom goofball and a slapstick stand up comedian. Christian Bale made a name for himself singing and dancing in the musical, Newsies. Later, he became one of the most beloved leading men to portray the Dark Knight in the history of the character.
Actors are multifaceted. The good ones have long, diverse careers, full of projects that range from so-called “high” art films, to Broadway shows, to popcorn blockbusters, to goofy sitcoms, and everything in between. It’s their job to act. Let them make money and try on different roles. Hell, Robert De Niro just put out a killer performance in a bagel commercial, and nobody’s knocking him for that.
For those of us who saw and admired David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, we already know that Pattinson has that special dour affectation that’s the secret ingredient for the pressure-cooker cocktail that is Bruce Wayne. He can be charming while still resonating as a brooding, icy sociopath who’s crazy enough to dress as a bat and grapple hook off of skyscrapers. In Twilight (and Harry Potter, for that matter) Pattinson demonstrated his chops for big budget action, proving that he’s as capable of charismatic movie fist fighting as much as the next guy.
Thankfully, the entire internet isn’t singing the same tune as the whining fanboys. In fact, the general consensus over on Film Twitter is that Battinson is a huge win for cinema nerds. Fans of the actor’s recent indie films like the incredible albeit little-known Good Time are reveling over the news, saying that Pattinson is finally getting the mainstream respect that he deserves.
Give the dude a chance. Hell, after Batman V Superman, the bar is pretty damn low.
Dom Nero is a staff video editor at Esquire.com, where he also writes about film, comedy, and video games.