Dear Walter Hamada,
As president of DC Films, you must have seen the trailer Warner Bros. Pictures posted teasing the upcoming movie The Batman starring Robert Pattinson as the billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne/masked vigilante of Gotham City. Pattinson inherits a lucrative cape and cowl from big names like George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Val Kilmer, Michael Keaton, and Christian Bale. What really caught my attention in the trailer, though, was the impossibly tiny and thin sunglasses Pattinson wore and how absurd they looked. My PTSD from Twilight got triggered when I expected his pale skin to sparkle as it contrasted the doom and gloom of Gotham’s dark lighting. Who honestly thought casting Pattinson was a good idea? But truthfully, what live-action adaptation of Batman has ever really been good?
Let’s break down a franchise of poor casting decisions.
Ben Affleck? His first appearance as the caped crusader was overshadowed by the fan favorites, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Superman (Henry Cavill), as well as the random alien born in the last thirty minutes of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. His robotic Batman voice, hypocritical hatred for Superman, and Affleck’s own confession that he couldn’t “crack it” playing Batman, is why his last appearance as the gruff and grim Batman will be in The Flash.
Christian Bale? When I rewatched Batman Begins, I promised myself I would keep an open-mind and not judge Bale’s lack of facial expressions, but I couldn’t help it. The way his mouth stays open consistently and yet says nothing makes me think I too got sprayed with Scarecrow’s fear toxin as I wait for bugs to just swarm out of his mouth. I will admit though, his training with Ra’s al Ghul and the beat ‘em to a pulp but leave a pulse rule matches Batman’s moral code. But the actual fight scenes, like the one against Carmine Falcone’s goons at the shipping yard, are horrendous.
George Clooney? The way in which Clooney confidently admitted to Vanity Fair, “I f-ed up so bad they won’t let me near the set” should honestly be enough as it is, but to say his Bruce Wayne was flatter than my tires in freezing cold weather would be an understatement. It’s honestly a shame, too, because he looked so handsome in his hyper-sexualized Batsuit.
Val Kilmer? A lot of people don’t realize this, but the whole bat-nipples scandal that rocked Batman & Robin originated here with Batman Forever. The costumes were probably the least of everyone’s worries in the screening room considering the acting itself was atrocious. The Riddler (Jim Carrey) and Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) carried this entire movie on their backs, and they couldn’t stand each other on set! And don’t even get me started on the convenient psychologist love interest, Dr. Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman), storyline, and the cringey way Kilmer acted out having the flashbacks of his parents’ death. (How many times have poor Thomas and Martha Wayne died on screen?)
Michael Keaton? Now, not going to lie, Keaton is without a doubt my favorite live-action actor with his performance in Batman. He oozes billionaire in the first scene with his huge art collection and the charisma he has as Bruce really shows with the journalist Alexander Knox (Robert Wuhl) when Bruce tells Alfred, “Oh and give Knox a grant,” after listing off other small chores as if they were nothing. Of course, he’s not perfect. His Batman voice is nonexistent, he is so ridiculously stiff in the Bat-suit that it looks like he’s always wearing a neck brace, and his fight scene with the Joker’s henchmen in the alley is entirely underwhelming with his one-hit knockouts.
After watching preteen Bruce Wayne fall into a well four times, Thomas and Martha Wayne get murdered repeatedly (because once just wasn’t enough for any of the films), and then having to suffer through the same cliché fight scene in each movie where one henchman is doing dramatic flips and kicks just to get taken out with one hit, I really do hope that you have learned from the mistakes of the past presidents and no such scenes exist in the upcoming movie. I’ve come to terms with the fact that this new Batman movie couldn’t possibly be any worse, and even if it is, Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz) will hopefully make up for it because as Catwoman says in Arkham Knight, “What little girl doesn’t dream of being bait for her strapping Dark Knight?” I’m sure being bait to moviegoers isn’t exactly what she meant, but here we are.
In the wise words of Dr. Pamela Isley (Uma Thurman), “Behold, the dawn of a new age.” Of Batman, that is.
Catwoman-Connoisseur and Bat-Freak.
P.S. I really hope I don’t have to see any bat-nipples in this movie.
Annalise Torres is a staff writer for Blue Muse Magazine
Header photo credit: Shutterstock and Warner Bros. Pictures