With director Matt Reeves' release of blood-red test footage, showing Robert Pattinson in costume for The Batman, one question comes to mind: Is it even possible to care?
It seems like just yesterday people were freaking out at the prospect of Ben Affleck playing Batman. After Christian Bale's virtuosic performance as a gravelly mumble personified, people scoffed at the notion of this iconic character being taken up by the star of 2003's smash hit Gigli. And they were kind of right. Not that Ben Affleck's performance was particularly bad, but the casting choice may have reflected a general lack of respect for the Batman legacy that would manifest in Batman shooting a bunch of people and the infamous "Martha" revelation.
And now Affleck has departed from the DCEU, Robert Pattinson has been brought on, and people who can best be described as terminally online are picking apart the minute details of the costume—comparing it to Affleck's Daredevil (from 2003's Daredevil), speculating about the out-of-frame ears, and doing some CSI photo enhancement to show that the bat symbol is made of guns. But does anyone really care? Is it even possible?
The outrage that would have erupted over this casting in 2015 would have set fire to server towers across the globe—"The fuc*ing guy from Twilight?! OMFGN%E^%$"—but Zach Snyder and DC have already done so much to erase the fan sentiments that Christopher Nolan's films built up. Even the shocking critical acclaim for Birds of Prey isn't enough to get people excited for the DCEU. The only thing that is still capable of working the fandom into a lather these days is imagining an alternate reality in which Zach Snyder is actually a secret genius who made a better version of 2017's Justice League that's hidden away in a vault somewhere—because, yes #ReleaseTheSnyderCut is trending again.
Honestly this might be the best scenario for Pattinson. He's had a chance to prove his chops as an actor with movies like The Lighthouse so—while he still seems a little improbable as an action hero—at least he's not just an emo heartthrob anymore. And as of last week, he's also riding high with his laughable ascension to the title of "most handsome man in the world." Couple all this with the fact that expectations for The Batman are so low, and Pattinson and Reeves have the chance to duck the fan pressure and really surprise us. It wouldn't be the first time that Batman has bounced back from an embarrassing era—even George Clooney's bat-nips and Schwarzenegger's Mr. Freeze couldn't kill the bat brand. But all of this is assuming that any of us will have the capacity to care, since caring takes hope.
Wherever you go, the bat-nips follow you...
The Batman is scheduled for release in June of 2021, so they still have a year and change to work up some enthusiasm for Pattinson's turn in the batsuit. Failing that, they could just say "fu*k it," and bring back Michael Keaton.