The Batman: Hero or Pirate?

After D.C.’s successful release of Joker, news is coming out for director Matt Reeves’ The Batman, with Twilight star Robert Pattinson playing the Caped Crusader. Two of the films roles have been revealed and cast, with Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle’s Catwoman, and Paul Dano as Edward Nashton’s The Riddler. 

While the film is still in the early stages of production, this casting news sheds potential light on what we can expect from this new film. While the most recent Batman, played by Ben Affleck,  was older and grizzled, much like the Batman seen in The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller, Pattinson’s younger Batman could take more inspiration from Batman: Year One, also by Frank Miller, which introduced young Bruce Wayne to the seedy underbelly of Gotham. 

Speaking to the New York Times about his preparation for the role, Pattinson revealed his thoughts on the character of Batman. “Batman’s not a hero… 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. 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.”

While Batman is a very dark and complicated character, as Pattinson remarks, I have to disagree with the idea that Batman isn’t a real hero. The term hero can be subjective and include a number of different qualities and characteristics. But to consider Batman as “not a real hero” seems like a stretch, considering his crusade against the corruption in Gotham, and working to ensure that no one else suffers the same loss of family that he did. 

 Taylor Oliver, an English graduate student, briefly weighed in on the idea of Batman as a hero. “I think Batman has heroic qualities and exhibits the mystery of being a superhero, while also being human.”

However, Pattinson had more to say about his upcoming performance as Batman, specifically his voice. “[Willem Dafoe’s] voice in The Lighthouse was quite inspiring for it, to be honest. It is pretty similar, the voice I’m gonna do, to Willem’s. Batman has a sort of pirate-y kind of voice.”

“Oh no! No!” exclaims biology major Troy James. “It’s messing up our idea of Batman! He’s from Gotham! Not some skinny pirate boy!” 

While I am doing my best to reserve judgment on Pattinson’s Batman until I see it, I share the same fears as James. As good of an actor as Willem Dafoe is, his high pitched and scratchy voice with a pirate (or privateer) drawl doesn’t seem appropriate for the Caped Crusader. Despite it only being one aspect to the character, previous performances of Batman’s voice have been highly ridiculed before, specifically Christian Bale’s rough, raspy, difficult to understand growl. Is this voice heading down the same path before it’s even premiered?

We will have to wait until The Batman’s 2021 premiere date to find out. But until then, some of us may share English graduate student Kirsten Quarforth’s thoughts on the film; “No matter what, I’m always going to imagine Robert Pattinson as a sparkly vampire.”

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