Vampire Batman: Robert Pattinson Confirmed as New Caped Crusader

Holy Hufflepuff Switcheroo, Batman! Rumors have finally been confirmed that Robert Pattinson will be donningImage result for batman the famous Batman cowl in 2021’s The Batman. While there will undoubtedly be hue and cry from every corner, as there always is with the casting of such a culturally important character, Pattinson is both an interesting and a promising choice.

No matter who slides behind the wheel of the Batmobile, there are always voices of dissent. When Michael Keaton took on the role in 1989, there were those who thought he was a terrible choice, unable to see him as anyone other Image result for batman moviesthan Mr. Mom or Beetlejuice. However, Keaton has much more to offer than screwball comedy (although he is good at that; I recently introduced my daughter to Kenneth Branagh’s glorious Much Ado about Nothing, and we were both hooting over Keaton’s hilarious constable). He actually made a solid Bruce Wayne/Batman. Val Kilmer and George Clooney, who took on the role next, both had to deal with criticism even before the films were released. Even though Clooney still hates his Batman experience and wishes Batman & Robin would vanish off the face of the earth, both actors made suitable Dark Knights. Christian Bale had more support for his turn in some of the darkest Dark Knight installments, but there were still critics, as there were for Ben Affleck in his Justice League-era Batman. But each of these actors brings something to the iconic role, whether it’s Kilmer’s steely glare, Clooney’s comic-book chiseled jaw, Bale’s growly voice, or Affleck’s gravitas.  In fact, it is Affleck’s choice to hand over the keys to the Batcave and let someone else have a go that has both paved the way for Pattinson’s turn and demonstrated his good grace in passing the torch to another. Even if Nicholas Hoult, the other front runner, had gotten the utility belt, there would be snarky comments about his past “Beast”ly behavior.

Although Pattinson will doubtless endure the slings and arrows of those who cannot see him as anything other than a teen heartthrob, this is nothing new (plenty of fans sneered about Ben Affleck’s love life instead of seeing his potential in the role). It also does not mean he is a poor choice. He certainly has the tools in his box to play both Bruce Wayne and his vigilante alter ego: he’s attractive, with a lower face structure that will work under the cowl; he can also manage an American accent, like his fellow non-American actor Bale; he has the emotional range to be both charming and brooding; and he can handle the physical rigors the role requires.

Of course, here at Hogwarts Professor, we have to note how amusing it is that someone we see as good old CedricRobert Pattinson in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) Diggory will be playing such a complex, and often morally compromised, character (even though those characters are standard Pattinson choices). Bruce Wayne’s courage makes him a solid Gryffindor (even with all those Slytherin undertones), but it’s fun to see a Hufflepuff in the role instead.

The Joker himself would also be hard pressed to make a better crack than a Batman who is best known for playing a vampire. The role reversal is amusing, of course, even though Pattinson, as Edward Cullen, defied most of the usual vampire stereotypes: Stephenie Meyers’s vampires don’t turn into bats, sleep in coffins, or crumble into dust in the sunlight. In fact, Edward resembles Bruce Wayne much more than he does Count Dracula. Both Cullen and WaynePeter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Nikki Reed, Robert Pattinson, Kellan Lutz, Jackson Rathbone, and Ashley Greene in Twilight (2008) are rich, charming, aloof, and secretive. They both take the law into their own hands, using their considerable abilities and resources to right wrongs. Although Edward “outgrew” his vigilante phase in the early twentieth century, he is still apt to give the scales of justice a little nudge when needed, seeing to it that miscreants, human or not, are stopped. They are both morally ambiguous characters as well. Although it’s Spiderman to whom Bella alludes with her speculations about the source of Edward’s supernatural strength (bitten by a radioactive spider?), he actually has much more in common with Batman than he does with more straight-laced heroes like Superman or Captain America.

Both Edward and Bruce also have interesting connections to the ever-thought-provoking Severus Snape, whose many vampiric  qualitiImage result for snapees crop up throughout the Hogwarts adventures: his pallor, the dark, bat-like robes, the flight out the window in the Battle of Hogwarts, and so on. In addition, his contentious relationships with both Remus and Siruis Black, the wolf and the Grim, emphasize the traditional werewolf/vampire conflict also evident in the Quileute and Cullen dynamic. Like Batman, Snape is also a man of secrets who often lurks underground, burying his misery by doing a difficult job that has to remain concealed.

So perhaps this casting will lead to some further interesting analysis and insights. It will certainly lead to strong opinions. Hopefully, it will lead to some good comic book hero movies and even better conversations about complex characters.

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