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Robert Pattinson’s controversial Batman transformation

By Rodrigo Verney, April 24 2022—

Another rendition of the caped crusader hit the theaters on March 3. This time around, the man to dawn the cowl was famous British actor, Robert Pattinson, a choice that brewed controversy from the moment it got into the public eye — as fans naturally wanted to protect the legacy left by so many before him. 

This depiction presents a young Batman and his incredible journey from intimidating criminals hiding in the city’s streets to becoming a beacon of hope to the people. 

Now that everyone has added the latest Batman theme to their workout playlist, it’s time to pull back the curtains and analyze the controversy behind Pattinson’s training and dieting routine to become the hero that Gotham deserves.

Batman’s physique has been the source of a lot of debate within the bodybuilding and martial arts community. The body and diet a real-life Bruce Wayne would have to maintain to constantly protect the streets of Gotham would be nothing short of a challenge. He can’t be too lean to the point that he sacrifices power and he can’t be too bulky to the point that he compromises agility. 

Batman would, theoretically, have to focus on taking in a lot of protein and calories to maintain his size. His training would prioritize powerlifting movement and compound lifts to train his muscles to peak performance.

It’s clear that representing the iconic character isn’t an easy task. After many adaptations and the amazing Nolan trilogy, fans of Batman are more selective about who will portray him on the big screen. This, coupled with the unfaithful and disappointing version that Warner Brothers presented within the SnyderVerse, left a lot on Pattison’s shoulders. 

The attention he received was only heightened after the unfortunate comments he made regarding his training and conditioning during the pandemic. In an interview with GQ magazine in 2020, the actor said that he wouldn’t be working out for the role. “[Other actors] are part of the problem, [they] set a precedent. No one was [working out for a film] in the ’70s. Even James Dean — he wasn’t exactly ripped.”

He would later claim that to be a joke, but his comments were also directed toward a bigger problem within the industry that Pattinson bravely refused to take part in — steroid culture. Pattinson wouldn’t take any steroids to portray Batman. This is somewhat of a controversial statement since steroid use is prominent in Hollywood, although many actors stay quiet about it. Challenging this stigma and, in turn, the male perception of what a superhero body looks like, is a commendable stance but he would have to defend it on the big screen as well. 

Pattinson went to extreme measures to be certain that he would be able to fulfill the role’s physical demands. His training routine consisted of a lot of cardio to be able to lose fat quickly and bulk up. He was even counting sips of water on set. His diet consisted of meticulously counting his calories and proteins to extreme degrees. 

Cutting down so much and intaking so little water and food is very dangerous to most who want to gain muscle mass healthily. This is why his portrayal of Batman’s physique has been a huge concern for his health.

The controversy lies in the fact that his workout regimen is sure to take a toll on his body. Humans can’t easily cut weight in a short span without expecting some health issues to come along. Analyzing Pattinson’s diet and workout, make apparent the problems during and after the cutting. 

Dehydration is a technique often used to make muscles more prominent. This practice puts a lot of stress on the urinary system. Dehydration might have also contributed to his feeling dizzy after performing a stunt in the hot batsuit. 

Many wonder if he would be better off on steroids rather than putting his body on the line the way that he did. Although the question can be raised, it doesn’t seem like he would be better off taking performance enhancing substances while switching his diet the way that he did. Anabolic steroids can have serious adverse effects if taken in an immunocompromised state, which might be achieved on an insufficient diet.

After the announcement of the new Penguin series finally being confirmed, we can expect more apparitions from The Dark Knight in the future. Pattinson might have more time to be able to fully adjust and perfect his diet and workout plan to better suit his new physique without limitations posed by the pandemic in the way. There’s no doubt that Pattinson’s opinions on the physical look for the role are controversial yet respectable. But, if the studio wants him to bulk up, we could be looking at just the tip of the iceberg health-wise.

With all of that said, fans everywhere hope the best for Pattinson’s health. Movies can be a powerful medium. They touch on the source of our imagination, allow us to tap into emotions and create a sense of excitement that makes us forget we’re seated on chairs. If Pattinson’s portrayal was able to provoke the sense of excitement that we sometimes forget we can feel and inspire at least one person to believe, then, much like his Batman, Pattison too is a symbol of hope. 

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