I don’t remember the last time I voluntarily watched the trailer for a comic book movie. In fact, aside from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, I can’t remember the last time I voluntarily watched a comic book movie at all; it’s quite possible that it was one of the Nolan Batmen.
But this week, the trailer for yet another Batman movie came out and I watched it, because Batman is no longer played by Ben Affleck or Christian Bale or any of the other deep-voiced A-listers who have taken up the cowl in my lifetime. Robert Pattinson is Batman now, and that means I’m interested!
Look, we could criticize a lot about this trailer for this movie. Yes, the Riddler’s hand-scrawled notes hew dangerously close to my favorite marketing campaign-turned-meme, “Mister Police, you could have saved her. I gave you all the clues.” Sure, Zoë Kravitz’s performance will almost certainly resemble this incredible Twitter parody. And no, I don’t think it’s fair to Alfred Molina that they put Colin Farrell in prosthetics instead of just hiring him, nor do I think it’s fair to any of us that Colin Farrell wants to fight his natural beauty so badly that he’d take on the role of the Penguin here.
But none of that is the point, because this trailer opened with some dark edgy unpleasantness and I thought “God, when will this stupid gritty reboot trend end?” and then I saw Robert Pattinson and I thought “Oh God, I am going to watch this dumb movie.”
Robert Pattinson has been in a bunch of movies, and I have seen six of them: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and every Twilight movie. You may think that this does not qualify me as a true Robert Pattinson fan, but you’d be wrong and I’d fight you any day of the week on that. I’d fight you on the street in public if you said that shit to me. I’d fight anyone for Robert Pattinson.
To love Robert Pattinson is not to appreciate his acting or show up for any of his projects, because the fact that he is an actor by profession is irrelevant. At his core, Robert Pattinson is a chaos goblin trapped in the body of a 6’1 willowy Brit with impeccable bone structure, and that is why we simply have no choice but to stan. If you haven’t been paying attention to Robert Pattinson, you’re wrong, but to catch you up to speed, this is a person who got his big break playing the Handsome One in one of the biggest film franchises of all time and seemed poised for leading roles in big-budget dramas and pleasant romantic comedies and then absolutely did not do that. Mister Pattinson, you could have been a reliable box office draw — we gave you all the opportunities! All that this man had to do to have a high-profile, conventional Hollywood career was be normal. And he never did, not for one second!
His exasperation with the Twilight franchise became legendary. His bizarre soundbites in interviews inspired their own Tumblr. When approached for an interview with Taffy Brodesser-Akner for GQ, he cheerfully proposed doing ayuhuasca together, swimming with sharks, or getting FECAL MATTER TRANSPLANTS of EACH OTHER’S fecal matter. (“‘It works,’ he insists.”) The magazine gave him the resources to write and direct a fun clip for their website, and he came up with Fear & Shame, a three-minute melodrama about eating a hot dog.
Earlier this year, when the same magazine checked in on him in quarantine, he somehow managed to outdo himself — after so many years of being Robert Pattinson! — by introducing the Piccolini Cuscino to the world. It was a cultural reset. What better sums up the experience of living through 2020 than envisioning launching a fast-food business but instead blowing up a microwave with a grammatically incorrect, logistically dangerous, culinarily offensive hand-held pasta sandwich coated in sugar and cornflakes?
I love Robert Pattinson and hope he never dies. I would like to befriend him and then spend every millisecond of our interactions bewildered. This is unlikely to happen, so instead I will try to support him, which is difficult because he likes to be in movies directed by men like David Cronenberg and Werner Herzog and the Safdie brothers, which is not what I want from my Robert Pattinson experiences at all.
I saw another trailer this week that made me realize halfway through that I would absolutely be watching the movie itself. I was surprised by this one, too. It’s for a film called Enola Holmes.
It looks fun and charming, and it’s premiering on Netflix, which means I won’t have to exert any effort to watch it, and those are both pretty good reasons to watch something these days. And I guess I just like madcap Sherlock Holmes adaptations, because I do so enjoy the Guy Ritchie one starring Robert Downey, Jr.
I wasn’t sure if that was a defensible stance, so I threw it to the group chat and my friend Morgan reassured me immediately. “Madcap >> brooding!” he responded, and THAT IS IT, EXACTLY. Too many adaptations are brooding these days when they could be madcap!
Imagine Robert Pattinson in a movie like that. He’s so funny and wild-eyed and charismatic! I understand that he’s taking roles that interest him, and I do genuinely love that for him. But he could consider being interested in something light-hearted and fun. He doesn’t need to fully ham it up (I am referring, of course, to Jon Hamm’s recent pivot from handsome leading man to goofball character actor) but he could let some of his natural humor and charm shine in something zany instead of weird. Hollywood, I urge you: when you think Armie Hammer, consider Robert Pattinson. Try a different gorgeous blonde for once and let’s see what he brings to a comedy. Put him in the new Knives Out movie! Ask Edgar Wright what he’s working on these days and if it would allow our man to use his natural accent for once! The possibilities are tantalizing.
A comic book movie is probably the closest I’ll get to that Robert Pattinson, and I’ll take it because I’m intrigued by his dramatic makeup and floppy dark hair and muscles. I can have a little handsome Robert Pattinson, as a treat, even if he will not commit to just being handsome and lovable onscreen for the full runtime.
I understand not wanting to be pigeonholed as an actor, which is probably something that upsettingly gorgeous people have to worry about among very few other things. It’s not Robert’s fault that he’s handsome, which he tries to hide by being disheveled, or that he has a dashing British accent, which he often disguises by taking roles that require his barely passable American accent, or that he’s delightful, which he cancels out by taking on unpleasant film roles.
But we live in a world where so much of our entertainment options are barely visible swaths of dark colors that have me turning up my computer’s brightness and squinting at the screen, and their plot lines are very serious and have Real-World Implications and their violence is disturbing and in-your-face to make a point, I guess, that violence happens sometimes and it’s disturbing. But! Movies can be fun. It’s cool and it’s allowed. I don’t watch every movie, but I do watch every interview with Robert Pattinson, and my pitch to his agent and everyone in the biz is to find a project that matches his aura of gleeful pandemonium. We don’t have any other stars like him, thank God, but we do have Robert Pattinson, thank God, and I want to see him having fun because I think he and we all deserve it.