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Yesterday, much to the surprise of the Internet, it was announced that Robert Pattinson was the frontrunner to play The Dark Knight himself in Matt Reeves' upcoming superhero film, The Batman. Opinions were varied, as they often are online, but there were certainly many people who were quick to praise the casting decision, particularly the folks who have been keeping tabs on Pattinson's diverse, unique and anomalous career choices of late. Portraying Batman would certainly be a departure from the parts he's played these past eight or more years, but many filmgoers expressed great interest in the decision.
But naturally, there was also ridicule directed towards Robert Pattinson. Since the actor is still best known — at least to some — for his often-mocked role as Edward Cullen in the uber-popular romantic vampire franchise, The Twilight Saga, there were online commenters who decided to dust off their old 2010 jokes and dismiss the young performer for his work in the decade-old fantasy series. And while Pattinson's work in that franchise paved the way for his career today, to suggest that his performance in those four films is his only body of his work would be a tremendous oversight.
Since his departure from The Twilight Saga, Robert Pattinson has gone on to define himself as an exceptionally gifted and dynamic young actor, filled with great versatility, depth, nuance and range. In this article, we'll take a look at the seven Robert Pattinson movies that prove he is much bigger than his work in the The Twilight Saga and hopefully prove to audiences that Pattinson has what it takes to play the iconic Caped Crusader in this film.
In the gritty crime drama Good Time, Robert Pattinson plays Connie Nikas, a bank robber who finds himself in an unsuccessful heist with his mentally disabled brother and turning to extreme and drastic measures when his sibling is taken into custody. It's the type of role that puts you through the running shoes of its main protagonist, forcing the audience to live through one intensive and deeply stressful situation after another as you follow this character through the muck of his own making — and ultimately his own personal unwinding.
It's a film that requires complete and total investment in its central character, a morally grey (at best) person who ultimately puts everyone's lives in danger for his own personal well-being. As you would expect, Good Time's title is intentionally misleading. Capturing the live-wire intensity of other New York-based crime stories of the '70s, it showcases Robert Pattinson as a man of great potential, capturing the same high-level of emotional intensity that was seen in Al Pacino and Robert De Niro before him. It's a stunning performance and a commendable showcase for how Pattinson can find himself in the thick of crime before his turn as The Dark Knight.
In Claire Denis' challenging, confounding and deeply compelling science fiction film High Life, Robert Pattinson plays Monte, an ex-criminal who lives alone on an abandoned space vessel with his baby daughter, trying to find his way back to humanity in the dark recesses of space. A film that prides itself on being sparse., yet profound in its dark, disturbing commentary on the nature of humanity, it is far from an accessible film and it likely only garnered a wide release due to Robert Pattinson's star power.
Thankfully, Robert Pattinson's sullen, moody and subtly moving performance conveys the mystery and mystique of Denis' film in brilliant and engrossing ways. Conveying the loneliness and engulfing melancholy that comes from such a bleak and isolating situation, Pattinson shows a great talent for depicting weighted morality and tender sympathy — something that will certainly play to his strengths in the role of Bruce Wayne. In this space-based tale, he brings the gravity.
The Lost City of Z
In James Gray's The Lost City of Z, Robert Pattinson took on a rare supporting turn as Corporal Henry Costin. It's a bearded, understated performance that depicts his talents for saying a lot while often saying very little. In a tale about a British explorer searching the world's end for a lost city that might not even exist, Pattinson's Henry Costin is caught in the midst of this dangerous and potentially fruitless exposition, and much like the character he played, he needed to commit to the part. The actor dropped 35 pounds for the role, which proves that he'll change his weight and shape drastically in order to play a part. That's obviously something that will be mandatory when he needs to hit the gym to build up his muscles for Batman.
But in addition to changing his weight and figure, Robert Pattinson truly got immersed into the character's time period. His mannerisms, clothes, affect and persona are all true to fit the cartographers of that time period. It's a meticulously crafted performance, and one that showcases the actor full-fledged willingness to dive head-first into the roles he plays and the characters he embodies. Much like these explorers at their wit's end, Pattinson's not afraid to explore the full recesses of his characters, even if it might lead to madness.
For the most part, Robert Pattinson has chosen to lend his talents to serious dramas, often playing brooding characters with a weighted conscious. But the actor has also proven himself to be exceptionally gifted in a comedic fashion, as seen in the absurdist western dark comedy Damsel. In the role of Samuel Alabaster, an aloof, gold-tooth flaunting pioneer who ventures through the American frontier to get reacquainted with the woman he wants to marry, Robert Pattinson plays a pathetic man with an over-inflated sense of self-importance. As a commentary on toxic masculinity, particularly in a genre that flaunts the notion of tough guys saving the day and getting the gal, it's a role that's meant to subvert expectations and play against tropes.
Despite the inherent cleverness of the premise, however, the role would only work if Robert Pattinson captured that right amount of self-delusion without diving fully into cartoonishness. It's a tricky balance and the fact that Pattinson pulls it off, particularly since we've never seen a performance like this from him before. It reminded me a lot of Robert De Niro in The King of Comedy, particularly with Good Time being Pattinson's Taxi Driver. And if you remind me of Robert De Niro in his prime, you must be doing something or another right. With Damsel, Pattinson makes it all the more apparent that his talents range — much like the wandering desert — far and wide.
In the bleak and morose Australian dystopian drama The Rover, Robert Pattinson had no simple task. Left to act alongside the great Guy Pearce for nearly the entirety of the film, in a time when people weren't exactly willing to take the actor seriously just yet, Pattinson had an opportunity to prove his talents as the slack-jawed, mostly empty-headed wanderer Rey. And thankfully, he lived up to that challenge — and then some — with this film.
In a film that's defined by its sullen thoughts on the emptiness of life upon the wipeout of humanity, Robert Pattinson's performance is filled with life. He captures a wide array of mannerisms and ticks that showcase an early glimpse into the actor's full willingness to engulf himself into a character. It's a stunning early display for the rising performer, and it was at that point when I recognized Pattinson's potential to be a truly great modern actor.
The Childhood Of A Leader
In Brady Corbet's commanding directorial debut, The Childhood of a Leader, Robert Pattinson doesn't take the center stage. Instead, he plays the role of Charles Marker, a friend of a wealthy family who has found himself on unstable ground. In a film that shows the rise of a diplomatic sociopath from a young age, Pattinson's sorrowful, emotionally and vulnerable performance is a rare beckon of humanity when such a notion becomes lost throughout the runtime. And that humanity is lost when the film paves the way for a dual performance by Pattinson at the very end of the film — one that is, without diving into spoilers, completely chilling.
Through a wordless performance that nevertheless captures its intended intensity, Robert Pattinson's menacing final minutes of this film showcase a whole new side of the actor that was rarely seen before. Even when, you know, he was playing a vampire and whatnot. It shows that Robert Pattinson has the power to command your attention — and your fear — through just a deep-eyed glance. It's a short glimpse into a side of the actor we never saw before, but we might soon see again. And that'll certainly come in handy playing Batman, particularly when he needs to strike fear into a few foes.
Based on the same-named novel by Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis isn't the most well-known or acclaimed title on Robert Pattinson's resume. The film itself drew mixed notices, and there are some folks out there who view it as a lesser film from director David Cronenberg's late period. While the movie itself isn't a personal favorite of mine either — no offense to Cronenberg, but it's a little too lethargic for my taste — Cosmopolis is nevertheless the film that makes it easiest to see Robert Pattinson in the role of Bruce Wayne, and the one I would show to prove that he has what it takes to sell it.
Through the eyes of Eric Packer, 28-year-old billionaire who wanders around Manhattan with no clear sense of direction or purpose as he inquires the meaning of life from others, Cosmopolis follows Pattinson at a turning point — both for the character and the actor himself. As Eric Packer finds himself at the point of self-destruction, deluded by wealth and no defined morality, the desire to make a drastic change in his life begins to overwhelm him. While that energy is used for ill-moral purposes in this film, it could easily be channeled as a beckon for hope or change in a city on the brink of collapse and filled with corrupt villains and wide-spread mayhem. Through that look in his eyes that screams for change, Cosmopolis might not be the most likely movie to suggest someone should play a superhero, but for me, it's the role that makes the casting decision make complete, total sense.
It's natural for the internet to be spectacle, especially when it comes to superhero properties. People often forget that Michael Keaton's casting as Batman in 1989's Batman was wildly disdained before audiences finally had a chance to see the actor in the role. Additionally, there were several people online who couldn't see Heath Ledger in the role of The Joker in The Dark Knight, with some folks making several jokes in poor taste about his acclaimed performance in Brokeback Mountain.
The jury is still out regarding whether or not Robert Pattinson will make a good Batman. Hell, it's not even official yet that he got the part. Nevertheless, if he does agree to play the role, these seven movies prove he has the talent and capability to rise to the challenge and pull it off. Twilight haters be damned.