Minor spoilers to follow.
Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman
Now that Matt Reeves's The Batman has finally debuted in theaters all around the world, we can finally put it under our scrupulous microscope to determine what worked and what did not work within the film. For the most part, Reeves’s film does a phenomenal job in ensuring that audiences are given a unique interpretation of Batman and the seedy Gotham city that he watches over.
And yes! After having waited for over two years for this movie to appear on the silver screen, we have finally been given the chance to see Robert Pattinson’s take on the Caped Crusader. From our perspective, Pattinson did a splendid job embodying a Dark Knight that is still new to vigilantism. There were plenty of moments whereby the character showcased his “rookie” and questionable actions in the pursuit of apprehending the Riddler and saving lives. Pattinson’s Batman is one that is still yet to be in control of the things that happen around him, giving off a characterization that is somewhat vulnerable and uncertain of his role as Gotham’s protector.
That being said, any analysis of a live-action Batman character would be rendered incomplete without an inspection of his alter-ego. This boils down to how the actor portraying the Batman is able to pull off portraying an interesting Bruce Wayne at the same time. This is where we believe Pattinson’s portrayal falters ever so slightly within the film, as his depiction of Bruce Wayne is almost forgettable or non-existent throughout the film's ginormous three-hour runtime. In comparison to earlier portrayals of Bruce Wayne in film, Pattinson does not shine as the billionaire-slash-elitist-slash-playboy that we have come to associate with the character. Of course, we get the idea that the Pattinson version of Bruce Wayne was meant to be a young and inexperienced character in the grand scheme of things, but the characterization often felt like Pattinson was honing in his Batman persona all the time, even when he was out of the batsuit.
We got the same kind of brooding, analytical look that Batman is known for when Bruce Wayne is seen in public, and his very few interactions with members of the public make him out to be somewhat of a recluse rather than a wealthy business owner that craves the spotlight with his outlandish behavior. Pattinson, instead, chooses to linger in the shadows as Bruce Wayne, silently watching the people of Gotham, almost vicariously, as if he was not a part of the city himself.
This portrayal came across as a little too odd for the Bruce Wayne character that fans have come to know over the years. If anyone in Gotham was to pay just a little more attention to his behavior, they could certain deduce that the billionaire Bruce Wayne is, in fact, the Batman, and that is precisely what we take issue with.
The fact of the matter is Bruce Wayne is not real. He is merely a “suit” that Batman wears to conceal his true identity as the Caped Crusader. He is a distraction from the wandering and questioning eyes that might poke a little too hard at who he might be and discover the truth. Therefore, Pattinson, in our opinion, was not given much to do as Bruce Wayne, and this made him appear as a one-dimensional character that could have been something more.