Christian Bale arguably played the best version of Batman in recent times. While enthusiastic about Robert Pattinson taking on the role initially, the veteran actor seems to have changed his stance on the actor in recent days.
‘The Dark Knight‘ is many things, but it will be remembered for the excellent additions provided to the superhero genre. Over the years, the film has turned into a bonafide classic, influencing fans and movies globally. And the man at the centre of it all is Christian Bale.
- Bale as Batman
- Pattinson as Batman
- Bale on Pattinson
Now, over a decade and two Batmans later, Bale might be taking some offence to the recent Batman on screen.
The Bale Batman
Very few films have the privilege of changing an entire genre. For Christopher Nolan to direct a trilogy on Batman was a rare privilege. Nolan was coming off a high-flying career as a filmmaker of repute. In some years, he had made ‘Prestige’, ‘Memento’ and other films that made their place in the classics folder.
Bale himself was a charismatic force. He was known for undergoing extreme transformations for his role, and ‘American Psycho’ had earned him a reputation for being a method actor. So, when ‘Batman Begins’ dropped, the film immediately climbed up the charts. Roger Ebert didn’t mince words when he described the film, saying, “This is, at last, the Batman movie I’ve been waiting for. The character resonates more deeply with me than the other comic superheroes, perhaps because when I discovered him as a child, he seemed darker and more grown-up than the cheerful Superman. He has secrets”.
The movie turned heads, but then there was ‘The Dark Knight’. It has long been rumoured that the success of the movie is what made the Academy tinker with the number of nominations for their Best Film award. It was a disappointment when the film missed out on the nominations for the Oscars, and the Academy increased the nomination slots to 10 to give space to films like ‘The Dark Knight’ in the future.
Health Ledger came in with a chilling portrayal of the Joker, for which he won a posthumous Oscar and changed the cultural lexicon around Joker forever. Even though there has been a portrayal by Jared Leto, its Ledger’s Joker that is commonly referenced when the character is mentioned, and even the single movie ‘Joker’, starring Joaquin Phoenix, borrowed liberally from Heath’s portrayal.
Then came ‘Dark Knight Rises’. The film was a disappointment. Not only did Bane lack the panache of Joker, but the movie also tried to criticize “Occupy Wallstreet”, a fact that didn’t go down well with moviegoers. However, Bale shone. Through the three films, Bale became an internationally renowned voice for Batman. Till today he remains relevant as an authority on the character because of the effect he had.
RPattz as Batman
Finally, a younger Batman. Ben Affleck did an admirable job of portraying the old, tired version of Batman. However, the fans know Batman as the tireless sleuth interested in bringing down the criminal underground of Gotham city.
Affleck’s role seemed like a drawn-out trailer for some movie that didn’t need to be made with the Snyder films. It was a Batman that belonged in a retirement home and not on the streets fighting crime. Matt Reeve’s portrayal of Batman is going to change that. Christian Bale, on Robert Pattinson as Batman, also said, “He’s interesting. I’m sure he’ll come up with something really interesting”.
The trailer shows Pattinson saying the famous line “I am vengeance”.
Robert himself has described the role as: “He doesn’t have as much control over his personality. The delineation between when he’s Batman and when he’s Bruce is not so clear. In other iterations, he knows what he’s doing when he’s putting on the cowl. I kind of really liked this idea: it’s a little bit out of control. He hasn’t completely defined what Batman is. He gets lost in it. Whenever he’s putting it on every night, he’s not sleeping and becoming this quite sort of odd creature.”
So, why is Christian Bale not happy with Robert Pattinson’s Batman?
Bale on RPattz
Bale was initially optimistic about Robert Pattinson, saying that he could put out an exciting role. However, with the release of the trailer, he might feel threatened. After all, Robert is explicitly trying to rewrite the vengeful story of Batman that Bale played more than a decade earlier.
It’s also a younger, more muscular Batman who plays around with camp, something that Bale did not get the chance to do while he played the detective. With all these factors, Bale’s rejection of Pattinson seems more in line with jealousy than any meaningful critique.
Yes, Bale redefined Batman for the modern era, but the dark knight is opening a new chapter. With Pattinson taking in cues from Bale to create the contemporary persona in Matt Reeve’s vehicle, Bale is miffed about missing out on the once-in-a-lifetime role.