With The Batman, Robert Pattinson completed his transformation from teen heartthrob to arthouse darling to superhero lead. As a teenager, the actor got his big break playing the wizard Cedric Diggory in 2005's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was that role that put him on the radar of the producers of an upcoming series of vampire romantic fantasy films.
When Twilight was released in 2008, Pattinson became an immediate superstar, and he maintained that status through its four sequels. While Twilight may have turned Pattinson into a famous celebrity, the roles he's taken on since have made him one of the most respected actors in the industry. Since the final film in the Twilight series was released nearly a decade ago in the fall of 2012, Pattinson has worked with some of the most acclaimed filmmakers in cinema, from the Safdie brothers to Claire Denis to Robert Eggers to Christopher Nolan, blossoming from a young movie star to a commanding leading man.
A.frame rounded up some of Pattinson's best, most daring performances for your viewing pleasure.
After the final installment of the Twilight franchise hit theaters in 2012, Robert Pattinson traveled to the outback to make his first movie with Australian director David Michôd, who was following up his Oscar-nominated 2010 film, Animal Kingdom. Pattinson co-starred with Guy Pearce in this neo-western about a man on a quest to find his stolen car in a postapocalyptic landscape.
Following 2012's Cosmopolis, Pattinson made his second film with director David Cronenberg, acting alongside Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska and John Cusack in this biting commentary on fleeting stardom. Pattinson plays an L.A. limo driver who's also a struggling actor and aspiring screenwriter, and he's tasked with driving around an aging movie star played by Moore (who won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her work in the film).
For his first feature as writer-director, actor Brady Corbet crafted a dark, difficult story (loosely based on the Jean-Paul Sartre short story of the same name) about how a young man grows into an evil despot in the years following World War I. Pattinson pulls double duty as both the father of the titular leader and the leader as an adult, bringing the old adage of "the sins of the father" to terrifying life.
In his first film to escape the confines of New York, director James Gray traveled to South America to film this acclaimed historical account of the attempts by British explorers Percy Fawcett and Henry Costin to find the fabled lost city hidden deep in the Amazon jungle. Pattinson plays Costin and Charlie Hunnam plays Fawcett, while Tom Holland and Sienna Miller co-star as Fawcett's family.
Two years before Uncut Gems became an instant classic, the Safdie brothers went from cult faves to the cinematic A-list with this frantic neo-noir that earned rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival. Pattinson stars as Connie, a small-time crook whose attempted bank robbery lands his brother in prison. In trying to get his brother out, Connie goes on a nightmarish journey through the bowels of New York City in one long, disastrous night.
Things never quite play out like you think they will in films by the Zellner brothers (who also made the 2014 cult classic Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter), and that's never been more true than in this comedic western. Pattinson plays Samuel Alabaster, a man on a quest across the American frontier to marry the love of his life (Mia Wasikowska, playing the titular damsel). But this damsel doesn't really identify as someone to be saved and courted, and she doesn't react well when Samuel reveals his intentions.
Claire Denis had been one of France's greatest filmmakers for nearly 30 years—check out 1999's Beau Travail to see why—by the time she made her English-language debut with this bleak, sci-fi horror art house film. Pattinson, André Benjamin and Mia Goth star as a group of criminals who are sent on a dangerous space mission near a black hole, accompanied by Denis regular Juliette Binoche as a mysterious doctor collecting data from her crew in sadistic ways.
In director Robert Eggers' eagerly anticipated second feature (following 2015's horror sensation The Witch), Pattinson and Willem Dafoe play two grizzled lighthouse keepers trying to maintain their sanity while isolated on a remote New England island in the 1890s. Spoiler alert: Staying sane doesn't go great for them, but watching their slow, hypnotic descent into madness is one hell of a cinematic trip, and cinematographer Jarin Blaschke received an Oscar nomination for the stark, grimy look he crafted for the film.
Five years after they made The Rover, Pattinson again teamed up with director David Michôd for this Netflix historical epic loosely adapted from three Shakespeare plays. Timothée Chalamet stars as King Henry V, while Pattinson provides memorable scene-stealing work — with a delightful French accent — as Louis, the Dauphin of France. The excellent supporting cast includes Sean Harris, Thomasin McKenzie, Ben Mendelsohn and Joel Edgerton (who co-wrote the film's screenplay with Michôd).
Since the Twilight franchise ended, Pattinson spent the rest of the 2010s steering clear of blockbuster studio films, but that changed in a big way in the summer of 2020 with Christopher Nolan's mysterious follow-up to Dunkirk. Pattinson co-starred with John David Washington in this sci-fi espionage thriller, which involves time loops, powerful code words and some truly dazzling visual effects that broke nearly as many brains as the film's plot twists.
Director Matt Reeves' reboot intentionally does not tell an origin story about Batman — who is already in his second year of vigilantism — but instead an origin story for Bruce Wayne (Pattinson), who is forced to contend with the sins of his past and ultimately abandon his path of vengeance. Zoë Kravitz co-stars as Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman), with Colin Farrell as Oswald "Oz" Cobblepot(aka Penguin) and Paul Dano as The Riddler.
A sequel starring Pattinson as the Caped Crusader is officially in the works.