The internet went crazy when news broke that Robert Pattinson is the new Batman, as per usual when we get a new actor under the cowl. However, fans of the Bat worried about the Twilight star’s take on the character went crazy again yesterday. In an interview, Robert Pattinson said that Batman is not a hero, but he isn’t trashing the Dark Knight. In fact, from the context in the interview, it seems that the new Bruce Wayne was making a bit of a joke. Yet, the idea that Batman isn’t a hero isn’t something Robert Pattinson came up with. It’s a thing that various incarnations of Batman have said, including the Batman in the most heroic of his films The Dark Knight. Let’s take a look at what Pattinson said, in context, and explain where he’s right and wrong.
What Robert Pattinson Really Said About Batman Not Being a Hero
Image via screengrab
People react passionately when the topic of Batman comes up. So, many fans felt anger when they saw tweets or headlines saying that Robert Pattinson thinks Batman is not a hero. Yet, if you look at his remarks in context, this is a somewhat common modern take on the very idea of Batman. The interviewer asked why Pattinson was skeptical about actors who want to play “a hero” but also taking up the mantle of the Bat.
Pattinson responded, via The New York Times:
“Batman’s not a hero, though. He’s a complicated character. I don’t think I could ever play a real hero — there’s always got to be something a little bit wrong. I think it’s because one of my eyes is smaller than the other one…. I love the director, Matt Reeves, and it’s a dope character. His morality is a little bit off. He’s not the golden boy, unlike almost every other comic-book character. There is a simplicity to his worldview, but where it sits is strange, which allows you to have more scope with the character.”
Essentially, what Pattinson seems to believe is that while troubled and flawed, Batman is a moral character who sometimes does heroic things. He’s driven more by obsession than he is a sense of duty to do the right thing. The idea that “almost every other” superhero is a “golden boy” is reductive, but there is no denying that Batman stands alone in how he practices the art of superhero-ing.
The Purpose of the Dark Knight Detective
Image via Warner Bros.
The Batman mythos is so ingrained in the culture, we sometimes forget all we know about it. The costume is both a mix of function (protection, gadgets, etc.) and a desire to be symbol that strikes fear into the hearts of evildoers. However, the other side of that, as espoused in The Dark Knight is that the symbol of Batman is not one that people should look up to. He’s a necessity in a city that’s corrupt and doesn’t care about its citizens. Unlike Superman or Captain America, he’s not a symbol of the “best” of humanity but rather the shadow cast by the worst parts of it. Hopefully, as the Batman movie leaks suggest, this is a noir murder mystery focusing mostly on the detective side of the character.
Noir detectives are often not depicted as heroes. They are drunken, sad, and even callous people who ultimately end up solving a crime or doing something heroic almost by accident. This is perhaps what Robert Pattinson means when he says that his Batman is not a traditional hero. We will likely follow him as he solves a mystery, which will serve to illuminate a character study of what compels someone like him to do what he does.
What do you think about what Pattinson said? Do you think Batman is a hero or something else? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments below.
Featured image via DC
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.