“The only other to achieve this is the animated film”: A 31-Year Old DCAU Movie Was Robert Pattinson’s Inspiration for The Batman

The actor played a younger version of Batman, who had just begun his journey as a vigilante.

Robert Pattinson The Batman


  • Robert Pattinson portrayed the seventh iteration of Batman in live-action in Matt Reeves' The Batman.
  • The actor portrayed a younger Bruce Wayne in his first year of vigilantism as the Caped Crusader.
  • Pattinson mentioned that the version as the only iteration other than Batman: Mask of the Phantasm to see Bruce Wayne's inner turmoil.
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Robert Pattinson was cast as the seventh iteration of a live-action Batman in Matt Reeves’ The Batman. Set during the early years of Bruce Wayne’s vigilantism, the film saw the character investigating several murders of high-profile men of power in Gotham. The film was released in 2022 and earned $722 million at the box office.


Though Ben Affleck was still playing the role of the Caped Crusader in the DCEU at the time, he stepped down from a solo Batman film, which allowed Reeves to explore a younger Batman with Pattinson. The Twilight star mentioned that the film was different from previous iterations of the character as it focused on the inner turmoil of Bruce Wayne. According to him, the only other film that achieved the feat was Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.

Robert Pattinson Compares The Batman To Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

Robert Pattinson as Batman at a crime scene in a still from The Batman
Robert Pattinson in The Batman

After Ben Affleck stepped down from the director’s chair of a solo Batman film in the DCEU, filmmaker Matt Reeves was tapped to helm the project. The filmmaker chose to explore a younger Batman and planned to set in an ‘Elseworld’ separate from the DCEU (via Deadline). While Affleck still performed as the Caped Crusader in other projects like The Flash, Robert Pattinson was tapped to be the young Bruce Wayne.


Matt Reeves’ The Batman explored the first year of Bruce Wayne’s vigilantism as Batman. Set in a crime-ridden Gotham during the mayoral election, the film followed the plot of a series of murders that saw an unknown killer targeting the powerful elite of Gotham. The film put Batman in a Se7en-esque murder mystery as he solved the case with Jim Gordon and Catwoman.

Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne in The Batman
A still from The Batman

Robert Pattinson mentioned that the film was different from other live-action versions of Batman. In an interview with French magazine Premiere France, Pattinson mentioned that the film explored the inner battle that Wayne underwent as a traumatized adult and curbed down on the heroism that the character was usually shown in other films. He said,

“In the comics, Batman is someone more… unstable. If you read between the lines, it’s actually very sad…The Batman does the opposite, we capture the inner bubbling of the character…. In my opinion, the only other (film) to achieve this is the animated film Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm. When I saw it, it clicked: being Batman is a kind of curse, it’s a burden.” 

Pattinson mentioned the inner turmoil within Bruce Wayne about having to be Batman instead of dealing with his trauma and how the film explores that side of the character. The film chronicles the Wayne family’s checkered past in the politics of Gotham and breaks Bruce’s previously held opinions about his father.


Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Explored Batman’s Origins

Kevin Conroy voices the Batman in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
A still from Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

After the success of Batman: The Animated Series, Warner Bros. reportedly commissioned a full-length animated film with the same team. While Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was initially supposed to be a direct-to-video release, WB reportedly changed it to a theatrical release, which condensed the production workflow to a mere eight months, leading to a disappointing box office performance (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Despite being a failure at the box office, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm became a cult classic after its home video release and is still considered to be one of the greatest Batman adaptations of all time. The film follows Batman solving a series of murders from a villain named Phantasm, while also exploring the romantic side of Bruce Wayne and when he decided to be the Batman.

Lead actor Kevin Conroy, who voiced the character in both the show and the movie, reportedly considered the film to be his favorite among the Batman films. He spoke about the inner turmoil that Bruce Wayne feels as he is tasked with choosing between a vow he made to his parents and choosing the love of his life, Andrea Beaumont. He said to THR,


“He pleads with his parents at their grave to release him from the vow, and at that moment a flock of bats comes screeching out of the Earth. Bruce can feel his fate pulling him back down…he knows he can’t escape it.”

Conroy mentioned that the scene in particular connected a lot with him due to his own complex relationship with his father and he reportedly gave an amazing performance, prompting the voice director to be moved by the performance and hug him (via THR).

The Batman is currently streaming on Max. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is available for rent on Apple TV.


Written by Nishanth A

Articles Published: 1060

Nishanth A is a Media, English and Psychology graduate from Bangalore. He is an avid DC fanboy and loves the films of Christopher Nolan. He has published over 400 articles on FandomWire. When he's not fixating on the entire filmography of a director, he tries to write and direct films.