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With The Batman currently in theaters and the recent release of The Metamorphosis of Robert Pattinson in GQ magazine, the British actor has reached a new height. It seems that the popularity of Pattinson has risen with younger people (specifically, girls), and with it has come admiration and, how shall I put it, thirstiness. 

In a sense, the new popularity of male actors in recent films, like that akin to Andrew Garfield in SpiderMan: No Way Home, has become a trend in recent years that hasn’t been looked at closely. Why is it that an actor like Robert Pattinson can see new waves of popularity that others normally don’t?

Infamously, Robert Pattinson came into prominence with his performance in the Twilight movie series, portraying Edward Cullen, a mysterious and awkward vampire who falls madly in love with a normal high school girl in Washington. The saga became a natural hit since it was a movie adaptation of the book series of the same name. It’s easy to understand why — the fantasy aspect coupled with a romance that seems highly unrealistic (but still sought after) was a major success with a mostly female audience. Pattinson’s portrayal as the main love interest gave him worldwide attention.

While the Twilight series made Pattinson popular offscreen, his real-life relationship with his guest star Kristen Stewart made the popularity follow him offscreen. Oddly enough, however, he did not become a star in ways that you would expect. Instead of always being in the news or being a household name, his popularity was more so in the shadows (a trait that became attributed to him). His relationship with Stewart would end, and he would later be in another (private) relationship with British singer FKA Twigs that would end in a called-off engagement. After his relationship with Stewart, he went back to being an almost non-present actor.

It seemed that Pattinson would continue to have the legacy of playing Edward Cullen in the Twilight series, a trait that he wasn’t appreciative of. It also seemed that other actors were filling in the spot of being a heartthrob, such as Chris Evans and Tom Holland (thanks to the surge of Marvel movies). However, during his time away from the spotlight, Pattinson indulged in large roles that were of various genres, such as Good Time and The Lighthouse. The latter gave him newfound attention since it was produced by A24, the company that gave us Midsommar and Hereditary, among others. 

Roughly during the same time, Twilight seemed to have a resurgence in popularity among teenagers and 20-year-olds. Compared to last time, the popularity was surrounded by the absurdism and nostalgia of the movies and characters, rather than the romance and actors. With this, Pattinson became well-liked for his looks, his humor and attitude towards the movies, and his new acting in his recent movies. It appeared that he was having a renewal in popularity.

And, of course, the casting of Robert Pattinson as the protagonist Bruce Wayne in The Batman garnered a lot of attention. First and foremost, there was the hype surrounding the movie as a dark adaptation of the famous comic book superhero. In general, superhero movies in the past decade have become a large part of cinema, and DC comic book characters have had their share of the spotlight with the 2017 release of Justice League and the standalone 2019 movie Joker. The Batman would follow the path of giving a more dark and mature atmosphere to beloved comic book characters. 

Secondly, the casting of Robert Pattinson in such a large role gave a new focus to the attention that was already directed towards him. He was finally shedding himself completely of the Edward Cullen role, and with the other movies that he starred in after the saga, his acting credibility was visible to most audiences. 
The Batman role would reap much attention, with the movie garnering $238 million in its second weekend. Pattinson delivered a great performance as the brooding Bruce Wayne character, and it is evident that many people are happy with his performance. In a sense, the popularity of his Edward Cullen portrayal among teenagers has grown into the same audience today. The edginess and mystery are still everpresent. But, in a new light, his roles and notoriety have matured along with his audience. His popularity is not new nor faded but has faced a renewal as both himself, his image, and his fans have changed.

Belma Hodzic is a sophomore at Michigan State University. A student of MSU's James Madison College, she is double-majoring in Comparative Cultures and Politics and World Politics. She aspires to work with refugees and other members of groups who need aid in the world. When she isn't studying, she enjoys exploring the horror genre and its relation to human emotions. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching and analyzing movies, as well as spending time with her friends.