Not a day goes by without the internet nearly shutting down completely over a breaking news story. The most recent threat of total implosion came on May 16th, when word got out that Warner Bros. and director Matt Reeves were nearing a deal with Robert Pattinson to become the new Batman, taking over for Ben Affleck. Even though Pattinson has been in plenty of films, most only know him from his role as the glistening vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight film saga. So to imagine him donning the cape and cowl in Reeves’ The Batman was simply too much for people.
Pattinson fans, those who aren’t down for the English actor to portray the famous superhero, and everyone in between is completely freaking out about his reported casting. One person tweeted:
“It is official, the DCEU should be canceled. This is a HORRIBLE choice to play the character.”
Someone else practically shouted into the Twitter-sphere when Pattinson’s name started trending on the site: “Robert Pattinson getting casted proves that @DCComics @TheDCUniverse @warnerbros HATES its fans!!! Awful just awful!!! I’ve never been so disappointed in a Batman casting!!! Dammit!!!”
Anger over Pattinson assuming the Bat-mantle from Affleck got so intense that naysayers started various online petitions demanding that Warner Bros. and Reeves replace the actor with someone else. At the end of the day, it’s unlikely that any of the appeals will amount to much more than extra internet noise. “And Bruce Wayne? Why are you dressed up like Batman?”
The other side of social media couldn’t be happier about Pattinson lining up to become the new Batman, and have some advice for those who are criticizing the casting choice two years ahead of the film’s June 2021 release date. One user posted on Twitter: “Robert Pattinson is the PERFECT. CASTING. FOR. BATMAN.”
Another fan rallying behind Pattinson pointed to the actor’s work outside of the Twilight franchise as evidence that he can deliver an incredibly powerful performance, and will likely do the same when it comes to Bruce Wayne in The Batman.
“Robert Pattinson playing Batman sounds awesome. The man truly proved himself as a wonderful performer in these few years and I’m certain he’ll play the part well.”
A Twitter user by the name of Josh Price also urged those skeptical about Pattinson’s ability to give a solid performance as Batman to check out the actor’s post-Twilight movies namely Good Time, Cosmopolis, and The Rover. He wrote: “If you’re in any doubt over Robert Pattinson being cast as Batman because you only know him from Twilight, then please watch these three movies. Then try to tell me he isn’t an amazing choice.”
Eisner Award-winning comic book writer and Hugo Award-nominated novelist Saladin Ahmed gave a tongue-in-cheek response to the uproar. In a post shared to his Twitter page, Ahmed pointed out the irony in the fact that many of the people mad about Pattinson portraying Batman are apparently failing to remember how inherently silly the costumed vigilante really is. Ahmed tweeted:
“‘ugh [they] picked an angsty pretty boy who spent his early 20s pretending to be a vampire’ I have bad news for you about batman.”
JoBlo editor-in-chief Paul Shirey had arguably the most pragmatic reaction to all the hullabaloo: he reminded everyone that three previous Batman actors, Affleck, Christian Bale, and Michael Keaton, starred in their fair share of so-so films before they became Batman. Some of them were downright goofy.
“It’s showtime,” In Shirey’s eyes, people shouldn’t gauge Pattinson’s acting abilities solely on Twilight, as they wouldn’t judge Affleck, Keaton, or Bale on their wackier pre-Batman works. The best thing is just to withhold extreme judgements one way or the other about Pattinson succeeding Affleck as the Caped Crusader until The Batman hits theaters in 2021. Hopefully once The Batman gets closer to its premiere date, the Pattinson-lovers and the Pattinson-haters can settle their differences and a general consensus about the situation can be established. For now, keep it civil. Remember, Gotham’s watching.