The news that Robert Pattinson is the frontrunner to star in The Batman has brought more than a few raised eyebrows in the last couple days. For the mainstream audience, he remains known as Edward Cullen from The Twilight Saga, which has led to doubts from critics as to whether he can do justice to a role Ben Affleck completely nailed in the DC Extended Universe.
What the mainstream audience doesn’t know, though, is that Robert has been at the top of his game within the last decade, and has been playing roles not even close to what the Edward Cullen character was like. He’s more than able to capture Batman’s darkness, as his work onscreen can attest.
10 Water For Elephants (2011)
This was the starting point for Robert to show his class as an actor, while he was still portraying Edward in The Twilight Saga. Acting alongside two A-Listers and Oscar Winners in Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz put the young man in clear view, and he delivered tremendously.
Robert grasped the naivety of his young character in love with a married older woman, but followed through with showing the maturity his character needed in development by the end. While he didn’t have that level of chemistry with Witherspoon, it makes his singular performance more impressive as he’s worthy of standing out on his own here.
9 Damsel (2018)
Robert has been required to alter his accent many times, and he does so again in this Western feature, where the film is firmly on his shoulders. Being a road film, Damsel required Robert to steer the ship—or horse in this case—as the film gravitated toward being a comedy despite requiring Robert to retain the grit needed for a Western feature.
We’re used to seeing Robert in roles that usually require him to keep that smolder game on and not joke around too much, but he’s in full comedic form here in a showing that displays superb range—something that is expected in The Batman.
8 Bel Ami (2012)
You can’t be Batman without being Bruce Wayne, can you? And this is the film you need to watch to see Robert fully embracing his hunky charm, although to much darker lengths. Being Bruce Wayne—especially in his younger years—will require Robert to channel that playboy energy Wayne is famous for, and he never did it better than in Bel Ami.
The film is a drama that sees a young man seduce and charm multiple women in order to achieve his own hedonistic lengths, where Robert is seen engaging with different actresses and evoking several emotions to fool the women, as well as the audience, into falling for him.
7 Maps to the Stars (2014)
Often, good supporting roles give actors more room to shine than leading roles where they are bound to be scrutinized. To this end, Robert appeared in Maps to the Stars, where he had a smaller role, but one which you’ll still recall later on.
He played the role of a struggling actor moonlighting as a limo driver, who’s one of the few sane people in an otherwise extremely bizarre film. Robert was a necessary addition to the film in order to not let the viewers be disengaged by all the insanity seen, and his character’s delusions of grandeur add a layer to his otherwise one-note role. This performance showed how the actor could make something out of seemingly nothing provided to him by the script.
6 Cosmopolis (2012)
In another bizarre film, Robert is this time seen making it all the more haunting. Cosmopolis sees him play what people can assume as a very deranged version of Bruce Wayne had Bruce never become Batman or had any moral codes.
We have Robert as a young, seemingly successful man who is the framing device that shows us the emptiness of superficial success. He's a smoldering malcontent which the audience slowly grows to loathe, but there's something about this performance we still can't quite get out of our heads.
5 Life (2015)
By 2015, Robert was turning out independent performance after another; this is why you’ve probably never heard of Life. With excellent chemistry with Dane DeHaan elevating this movie’s intellectual premise, Robert makes his sedate performance compliment the insight we get from DeHaan’s character.
The story sees Robert’s character strike up a friendship with DeHaan’s over a photoshoot the former conducted, and the result is an introspective examination of their lives. The subtlety in the chemistry between the two leads makes you wonder if there is more than meets the eye, which is remarkable in Robert’s part since he plays the straight man here. He creates a crisp outlook for the character, where you’re not meant to be fascinated by him, unlike how Edward in Twilight was supposed to be.
4 The Lost City of Z (2017)
Those watching The Lost City of Z needed to go and fact-check to confirm that it was indeed the “Twilight Guy” they were watching in the film, as Robert is completely unrecognizable here. The film never attempts to paint as the main character either, and he’s seen silently in the back in most scenes.
His penchant to remain quiet in this movie is what makes him all the more engaging, however, as you follow through every word when he does speak. For those wondering if Robert can pull off playing the brooding Wayne in The Batman, you should watch this feature to see how unrecognizable Robert can become from what you expect from him.
3 The Rover (2014)
You’ll find Robert play completely against his type in this dystopian thriller, as he performs amazingly well in a supporting role next to Guy Pearce. The Rover sees a collapsed economy-stricken Australia, where Robert plays an abandoned bank robber become an unwitting accomplice to Guy’s character.
You don’t get to see the usual strong and firm character Robert usually plays; instead, he’s a wimp who has been too sheltered his whole life to understand how to take care of himself. The following journey sees Robert strengthen the role as he injects it with the development of his character, and the ending has us in tears. This is a perfect role to channel the helplessness Bruce Wayne felt when he suffered an identity crisis after his parents’ death.
2 High Life
Think of The Martian without all the feel-good moments in it, and combine that with Interstellar without the uplifting message, and you’ve got half of High Life—the other half aspect of the film is horrifying, to say the least.
Without getting too much into the plot, Robert plays a guinea pig for an insane scientist who conducts experiments on him that results in the birth of his child. The film has aspects of drama, science fiction, and horror; Robert conveys all three of these genres in his performance. He makes us pity him, root for him, and worry for his well-being all in various parts of the movie. It’s a harrowing story kept together by his central performance, and even The Batman won’t give him the level of tortured personality traits he needed to play in High Life.
1 Good Time
To date, Good Time has been the most well-received performance by Robert, critically speaking. Robert was compared to legends like Al Pacino for his playing the part of a desperate bank robber, who has to keep an eye on his developmentally disabled brother while on the run.
The film’s excellence in execution of its adrenaline-pumping pacing was squarely credited to Robert. He displays that heist-filled energy that conveys to us how matters truly are pressing for the character. This role marks the end of the idea that Robert is a young-adult icon only, as he commands the film with his delivery of a heart-racing premise that required him to be as sharp and in-over-his-head as needed.