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Robert Pattinson Vs. Christian Bale: Here's Who Played The Better Bruce Wayne

As with every arrival of a new Dark Knight in Matt Reeves' "The Batman", so too comes the return of a familiar rumbling. One louder than any Batmobile engine to have hit the streets and more intense than any gruff demand made by a guy in a jet black cowl. It's the debate of whether this version of Batman is the best yet. While that's a question for another article, one detail that's just as crucial and key to the Caped Crusader is the handling of the hero's other identity.

Whether he likes it or not, Bruce Wayne is a part of Batman. Unlike many other comic book heroes we've come to love, he is the mask that covers the true identity hiding underneath. The sham of the billionaire playboy distracting from the real character that is all about hanging upside down and stalking villains from rooftops. With that in mind, and the debut of Robert Pattinson's new take on the mask behind the Batman, how does his Bruce Wayne hold up against what many believe to be the best take on the character from Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, courtesy of Christian Bale? Well, let's all raise a glass and break down which one is the real master at being Master Wayne.

Christian Bale nailed the illusion of Bruce Wayne

In "Batman Begins," Christian Bale's Bruce fumbles through a confession to Katie Holmes' Rachel Dawes after just climbing out of a hotel water feature two supermodel dates dragged him into. "All this, it's not me. Inside, I am, I am more," he says. Be that as it may, some of Bale's best moments in all of "The Dark Knight Trilogy" are when he isn't wearing the cowl, but the true mask of the orphaned multi-billionaire the public see him wearing.

There's a clear-cut divide between the bat and Bruce, and seeing the transition from one to the other is akin to a switch not seen since Christopher Reeve's shift in stance from Clark Kent to Superman. He also even echoes Kevin Conroy's beloved take on the character in his vocal shift from socialite to the villain-pummelling protagonist. You can hear it in his 'drunken,' and angry party speech at Wayne Manor in "Batman Begins" that sees guests insulting him as they leave. Or his 'obliviousness' after crashing his car in "The Dark Knight" to save a former whistleblowing employee. It adds complexity to an already torn character and, most importantly, distances himself from his other identity as all heroes need to. As imbalanced as it appears to be seeing the line between the Bat and Bruce, it's a perfectly smooth one because of Bale's flawless performance.

Robert Pattinson's Batman may contain 1% Bruce

Let it first be said that while it might be the same hero director Matt Reeves is handling with his take on "The Batman," this version treads over new ground (with weighty boots) as to what taking up the mantle of the bat does to Gotham's richest orphan. The identity of The Batman has undoubtedly consumed our lead, and as a result, even when we see Bruce Wayne, he's a specter of a man compared to the costumed alter-ego he spends most of his time as. As a result, it's this interpretation of the Wayne identity that not only weakens his chances of a win against the version in Nolan's trilogy but leans into the tropes that are often joked about when it comes to Batman.

The Bruce Wayne in this take isn't all that likable. A daylight-stricken, vampire-looking recluse who yells at his butler (with whom he barely has a connection) makes no effort to distance himself from the masked vigilante or the nasty characters he's hunting. As a result, it almost shines a greater bat-signal on the question often thrown of why no one can tell this Howard Hughes-type figure and Gotham's new guardian are one and the same. Brooding as much as he does as the billionaire than when he looks like a bat, it feels like there's no distinction between the two.

Christian Bale has the winning Wayne

It may well be Matt Reeves' intention to demonstrate a man battling with what he's become, but never seeing a line develop, in comparison to the crystal cut one in Nolan's films means we may never see one. The Bruce Wayne that has appeared in comics, TV, and film isn't present here. As a result, while Bale's performance may still be debated over as Batman (sore throat and all), his version of Bruce Wayne is without question the better iteration.

Who knows? The tides could very well turn when Patt-man returns in future films as the Dark Knight. How he's going to bring his Wayne into being the charming gala-attending gent that can schmooze as well as the rest will be interesting to see. There's no question he's got the Dark Knight down, but to quote the former Dr. Crane aka Scarecrow from "Batman Begins," he made need to lighten up, as well.