David Cronenberg Watched The Batman Simply Because He Respected Robert Pattinson

David Cronenberg knows what he likes. He's made a career out of sticking doggedly to his own twisted visions of humanity and churning out some of the most provocative films of the past few decades. But while they're sometimes dismissed as gratuitous body horror fests, Cronenberg's films have often interrogated complex societal issues. That was the case with his 2012 effort "Cosmopolis," which provided an unsettling insight into the cold detachment of society's elite, played out almost entirely inside a limo by Robert Pattinson. And while Pattinson, fresh off his "Twilight Saga" stardom, was understandably nervous and terrified going into "Cosmopolis," he seems to have left a lasting impression on Cronenberg.

A decade later, Pattinson would end up playing the lead role in Matt Reeves's superhero film "The Batman," stepping into what is the "Cosmopolis" director's arguably least favorite genre. In the past, Cronenberg has had some pretty harsh words for superhero films. Asked about Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" back in 2012, he said: "I think it's still Batman running around in a stupid cape. I just don't think it's elevated. Christopher Nolan's best movie is 'Memento,' and that is an interesting movie. I don't think his Batman movies are half as interesting."

According to the filmmaker, superhero movies are "by definition [...] for kids." That's an opinion he doubled down on in 2020 when he told Vulture: "The version of genre [film] that is most forceful in Hollywood right now — the superhero thing — has never appealed to me much. [...] To me, it's too formulaic, and too adolescent in its emotional understanding."

Despite all that, the "Shivers" director chose to sit through Pattinson's foray into the genre for which he has so much disdain.

Pattinson was 'an honorable Batman'

Yes, David Cronenberg, who thought anyone who said "The Dark Knight Rises" was "supreme cinema art" didn't know "what the f**k they're talking about," has watched "The Batman." Last June, he sat down for an interview with The New Yorker, in the lead-up to his most recent nauseating effort, "Crimes of the Future," which saw him return to body horror. (It's not a bad entry in the Cronenberg canon, even if it doesn't represent any significant evolution in his style.)

The Canadian filmmaker revealed he had screened Matt Reeves's noirish take on the Caped Crusader simply due to his affection for Robert Pattinson. And it seems the star of "The Batman" got about as good an appraisal as he could expect from Cronenberg, who felt Pattinson was "an honorable Batman." He added:

"I don't want to say anything more than that, because I've already made my position on superhero movies clear and been attacked for it [...] It's basically an adolescent power fantasy, and that's its essence. You can't get away from that, and it limits it in terms of emotion and power and intellect."

Cronenberg almost managed to stay positive there, but quickly righted himself to heap some more scorn on the genre that so effortlessly offends him. Oh well, for now, Pattinson can rest easy knowing he at least has the distinction of making David Cronenberg sit through a film with "a stupid cape."