Robert Pattinson is now Batman, which means for three hours he broods around the dimly lit city of Gotham clad in all black, while solving crimes and shirking his responsibilities as head of Wayne Enterprises. The actor does a bang-up job of bringing a new Caped Crusader into the cinematic world, enough that it’s easy to forget that his casting was once thought controversial.
Some fans griped that the dreamboat star of the vampire romance saga Twilight could never embody the gruff caped crusader. Others countered that Pattison had taken on some very eclectic roles since his Twilight days, and that proved his acting chops. Both of these factions are missing the point: Bruce Wayne is already the perfect evolution from Edward Cullen. No one could be more suited to take on the role than Robert Pattinson.
Isn’t it Byronic?
If you paid attention in high school literature class, you may remember the Byronic hero, but for those of you who have filtered out that information, it’s a core character archetype of Gothic Literature. The broody, tortured, sullen, but honorable, man who wanders the moors (or similar) with a heart full of secrets and/or vengeance. Sure, sometimes he has a softer side buried deep deep down, but on the outside it’s all brooding in the halls of Forks Community High School — or on the edge of tall buildings.
Yes, Batman is a Byronic hero and, as someone who spent four years of his early career channeling that energy, Robert Pattinson is uniquely suited to take on the role. For instance, when playing Edward Cullen, Pattinson specifically chose not to portray the vampire the way that author Stephenie Meyer penned, as the super beautiful guy who is amazing at everything.
“I think a lot of actors tried to play that aspect,” Pattinson infamously told Empire Magazine back when the first movie came out. “I just couldn’t do that. And the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy, so that’s how I played him, as a manic-depressive who hates himself. Plus, he’s a 108-year-old virgin so he’s obviously got some issues there.”
Clearly, he knows his way around self-tortured characters! Think about it: Both Batman and Edward Cullen are very rich. Both of them are sullen brooders, burdened by their own pasts. Edward is big sad because he drinks blood. Batman is big sad because his parents died and the city of Gotham is festering in crime. They both live in eccentric big houses. And in their original media, both have a large found family, but that seems to be forgotten in most pop culture conversation. They’re both tortured bad boys on the outside, but super sad and in need of a hug on the inside — need I go on?
A role to sink his teeth into
In The Batman, Batman keeps a very sad diary and at one point he writes, I am the shadows. He sulks around Wayne Tower and when he puts together his big evidence board — on the floor, for some reason — he does so whilst shirtless, his dark hair flopping dreamily in front of his face. Edward Cullen would do the exact same thing, were he in a thriller and not a romance. And if this version of Batman were actually the subject of a paranormal romance?
I am certain that if he got whiff that the love of his life were dead, he too would journey to the Vampire Vatican and step out, shirtless, into the sunlight so that he could be swiftly executed and reunited with his lost love. It’s all about the drama; the commitment to the bit — whether that be saving yourself for 108 years before finding the love of your life, or having a shirtless sword fight in the desert with Ra’s al Ghul even though you’re in love with his daughter.
It’s unclear how much time, Pattinson spends as Bruce Wayne in The Batman. It could be that there’s nary a gallery opening, charity ball, or public date with a socialite to obfuscate his secret identity in the film. So the jury is still out on whether or not he’s able to translate that Edward Cullen charisma into Gotham’s most beloved member of the himbo riche, Bruce Wayne. But when it comes to the brooding caped crusader, well, there should be no question as to whether playing Edward Cullen makes you wrong to play Batman. What better preparation for the mantle of the bat than a vampire?
The Batman comes out in theaters on March 4.