Countless actors have slipped into the tights and utility belt of Batman on the small and silver screen.
From Adam West’s camp, tongue-in-cheek take on the superhero to Christian Bale’s dark, brooding persona, the Gotham crime fighter has undergone countless personality changes through the years.
It would be fair to say that the latest incumbent of the role, Ben Affleck, was greeted with scepticism when he signed up for a multi-movie deal that featured Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad and Justice League.
In the end, ‘Batfleck’ managed to win over many of his most scathing critics, even if the source material he had to use wasn’t of the best quality.
It has been confirmed that Affleck has hung up his cape for good after delayed preparations for The Batman, the next release in the franchise. The actor told Jimmy Kimmel: “I tried to direct a version of it [The Batman], but I couldn’t crack it. So I thought it was time to let someone else take a shot at it.”
Matt Reeves is onboard as director, and a number of potential candidates have been rumored to step into Affleck’s shoes.
However, just recently a rather surprising name has been added at the top of the shortlist.
Be honest: if you had 20 guesses to name the next Batman actor, would you have gone for Robert Pattinson?
Nope, us neither, but it seems the former Twilight man heads the shortlist to take the lead in Matt Reeves’ caped crusader vehicle.
That’s according to Variety, anyway, who claim that Pattinson is ‘in negotiations’ to replace Affleck, with sources claiming he is a ‘top choice for the part’.
The 33-year-old certainly has the dark, handsome vibe going on, but whether he has the acting chops to pull off both the dialogue and the fighting scenes is open to debate. DC will certainly be hoping so as their flagging franchise needs a boost given the critical kicking that Justice League received.
Incidentally, Pattinson takes the lead in the next feature film from Christopher Nolan called ‘Tenet’. In truth, the Batman franchise has never quite hit the heights of Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy.
Batman Seeks New Identity
For so long, the Batman franchise became something of a laughing stock.
The 1990s was beset by bad Batman efforts, with Batman Forever and Batman & Robin the nadir of the series. Something needed to change.
Warner Bros took their time, but eventually, they opted for Christopher Nolan to come on board as director for Batman Begins, the title of which was no coincidence; this was a reboot both in style and in name.
Christian Bale was hired as the caped crusader, and immediately everything began to make sense: Nolan was taking Bat fans into darker territory.
But it was The Dark Knight that really cemented the return of the franchise. Heath Ledger’s turn as The Joker proved to be a masterstroke, and the outstanding cinematography led to the movie getting eight Oscar nominations.
In 2012, Nolan’s trilogy was completed with The Dark Knight Rises, which enjoyed commercial success to the extent it remains the 27th highest grossing film of all time.
Such was the popularity of Bale’s Batman and Tom Hardy’s entertaining outing as Bane, The Dark Knight Rises remains a commercial phenomenon. It spawned all manner of merchandising opportunities, from Bane-designed Converse All Stars, which you can still buy from Amazon to a Dark Knight Rises-inspired slot game, which is available at sites like Buzz Bingo. Your mission is to save Gotham and ride off into the sunset with Selina Kyle.
Whether The Batman can achieve such heights as The Dark Knight trilogy remains to be seen, and for many, the choice of Robert Pattinson as Batman may just backfire. But as ever, we await the trailer with interest.