‘Dark Knight Rises’ May Redeem Ruined Batman Villains

Casting has been confirmed for the latest Batman movie from Christopher Nolan, and it’s big news for movie and comic book fans alike. Two of the caped crusader’s most exciting enemies are getting the big screen treatment, and hopefully some redemption to go along with it.

Unless you’ve been completely avoiding the internet, you’re probably well aware of developments on ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. Not only has Tom Hardy’s casting as Bane been revealed, but Anne Hathaway has been added to the film in the role of Catwoman.

I have to eat my words a bit here. In last Friday’s Weekend Roundtable, I predicted that we wouldn’t be seeing Catwoman back on the big screen for a while. In this case, I’m very happy to be wrong.

Everyone seems to agree that Christopher Nolan makes a damn fine Batman film. Sure ‘Batman Begins’ went on too long in places, and ‘The Dark Knight’ was a little clumsy. The fact that Batman, The Joker, Two-Face and the rest of the comic characters were portrayed well is the most important thing.

Hathaway has a big responsibility in her role as Catwoman. As one of the movie’s leads, she has to follow the brilliant performance of Heath Ledger. As the actress portraying an iconic Batman character, she has to do her research and get the character right.

A long list of actresses have portrayed Catwoman. The best was the still fairly cringeworthy Michelle Pfeiffer in ‘Batman Returns’. The worst was none other than Halle Berry, who needs her Oscar retroactively revoked.

As far as the casting decision goes, I have a hard time judging. I’ve seen Hathaway in ‘Get Smart‘ and heard her voice in ‘The Cat Returns’. It’s not that I don’t like her; I just don’t find her interesting. She’s attractive, which is a start, but that’s not enough to make someone Catwoman. Honestly, I’m a little worried about this.

The bigger news, at least in my mind, is that Tom Hardy is going to be playing the role of Bane. Who? Oh come now, you remember Bane. He was the big silly monster that Poison Ivy controlled in ‘Batman and Robin’. He’s huge and he’s stupid and he says no more than one word at a time.

But that’s not the Bane I know and love. The real Bane, the one from the comic books, is a brilliant criminal and one of few to have actually defeated Batman.

In the legendary run known as ‘Knightfall’, Bane frees the prisoners of Arkham Asylum. After Batman runs himself ragged recapturing the Joker, Scarecrow, the Mad Hatter and the rest, Bane attacks and breaks Batman’s back.

Tom Hardy has an incredibly easy job in creating a Bane that comic book fans will be happier with. All he has to do to improve on the last version is to speak a full sentence. If he has the vocabulary of my three-year-old nephew, he’ll be a better Bane.

If you’re only familiar with Hardy from ‘Inception‘, then you’re not really familiar with Tom Hardy. See ‘Bronson‘, the biopic detailing the life of Britain’s most violent inmate. It’s a good film, but Tom Hardy’s performance makes it great. He put a huge amount of muscle mass on for the role too, which he’s going to need again here.

I’m cautiously optimistic on Hathaway, and I think Hardy is going to make an excellent Bane. That’s assuming that Nolan and the writers give us the characters we want. The wrong attitude, a below-average intelligence, or too many cat puns could ruin the whole thing.


  1. Jayson

    I was a little worried about Hathaway too. But you have to think of her in Nolan’s terms. We may not even see her as Catwoman. The press release I read only said Selena Kyle. So who knows how that will actually play out in the story. I am actually really excited to see how they will use Bane. Nolan hasn’t made a bad movie yet so you kind of have to trust his decisions.

    • I was thinking the same thing for the previous film. I thought Eckhart would just be playing Dent and not Two-Face.

      Still, if they introduce Kyle without focusing on her too much it could make for a really interesting build-up for the next film.

      • Nolan insists that this will only be a trilogy and he’s not doing any more Batman movies after this one. I can’t imagine him introducing Selena Kyle without turning her into Catwoman.

        I think pehaps the name “Catwoman” hasn’t been used in the press releases because he and the studio don’t want to bring that awful Halle Berry movie to people’s minds.

        • Dick Ward

          I don’t know if that’s Nolan’s call. Sure, he might not be doing any more Batman movies, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get someone else.

          As much as I like ‘The Prestige’ and ‘Memento,’ I’m not sure how much Nolan is actually needed if they go to a fourth film. Now that the style has been established all a director needs to do is emulate it. As long as they don’t but Burton or Schumucker on it, we’re fine.

  2. Everyone was skeptical about Heath Ledger as the Joker as well, and that worked out. I’m sure that Nolan has something in mind that Hathaway will work out for.

    I’m not a comic reader, but I’ve been hearing a lot of grumbling since yesterday about using Bane as the villain. People say that Hardy would be better suited as Hugo Strange, whoever that is. I have no opinion on this.

    • Jayson

      Good point. I was skeptical about Ledger until I saw the first picture of him in full make up looking like some creepy version of John Wayne Gacy. I think people will be more comfortable with Bane once they see how he’ll look and how he’ll fit into the “hyper-realistic” version of Gotham that Nolan has created.

    • Look him up on wikipedia or go watch the trailer for Batman Arkham City (the game), Strange is the main villain for the game and the big thing about him is he fully knows Batman’s identity 🙂

    • Dick Ward

      Hardy could play any number of Batman villains, but I don’t think Strange would be a great fit for him. I’d rather see someone like Malcolm McDowell in the role.

  3. ‘Batman Begins’ was an excellent film, but I found ‘Dark Knight’ a ponderous mess, which also made Bruce Wayne/Batman a completely boring and somewhat dimwitted/less skilled character in comparison to ‘Batman Begins’.

    So for Nolan’s third outing, I’m not hoping for much. Some directors learn from their mistakes (Even Bay seems to have learnt from Transformers 2, if he keeps to what he’s saying). But ‘Dark Knight’ was so highly regarded, Nolan is unlikely to improve/change what he established there. Just have to wait and see, I guess!

    • Michael Bay claimed to have learned lessons from the first Transformers and proclaimed that Revenge of the Fallen would be “way better.” Then look what we got. I would not expect much from his third movie if I were you.

    • I blame a lot of what he was talking about on the script and the writers strike, even the writers of Revenge said they didnt have a lot of time to bang something out they really wanted to have, so we got the mess that was Transformers 2, this time they dont have to worry about that happening, so hopefully it is much darker and more serious….but of course so many people hate Michael Bay no matter what, so really how much faith are people giving him anyways 😉

      • Only so much can be blamed on the Writer’s Strike. The Writer’s Strike didn’t force the screenwriters to add in pee, teabagging, and dog-fucking jokes, or have a couple of robots acting like blackface caricatures. Those were put in the movie because Michael Bay thought they’d be hilarious. If you watch the documentary on the disc, he very proudly takes credit for the bit where a little robot humps Megan Fox’s leg. In fact, it’s his proudest moment in the whole movie.

        Admittedly, the Writer’s Strike forced the script to be rushed, and the writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are a couple of massive hacks who’d agree to any stupid idea that Michael Bay tossed their way. However, the new one’s being written by Ehren Kruger, who’s an even bigger hack, if you can believe it.

        And the nature of Michael Bay movies is that the script is always an afterthought that’s constantly being written, rewritten, and revised from day-to-day as Bay thinks up “awesome” new ideas that he wants the writers to incorporate regardless of story logic or coherency. Honestly, I doubt that the Writer’s Strike had one iota of impact on the Revenge of the Fallen script. It would have turned out the same way no matter what.

  4. A Ponderous Mess? Well obviously everyone has their own opinion and truthfully I didnt care for The Dark Knight on my first outing, I felt there was too much going on in this one than there was in Batman Begins, but upon multiple viewings I’ve really come to love the intricate plot that Nolan has weaved with The Joker, Harvey Dent and Batman, just like Inception, IMO, it isnt fully appreciated until a couple of viewings, its very involved and really develops the mythos and character that Batman needs to become, the issues of killing, taking the proper blame, society and so much more are really well thought out and brought forth in Nolan’s Dark Knight….its regarded to a lot of people as one of the most realistic and best comic book adaptations ever done and I would definitely agree with that, hence I have full faith that the third outing will be just as well thought out and planned as this and Batman Begins was

    • I liked The Dark Knight, but it was far too cluttered. The movie should have been half an hour shorter, and the Harvey Dent storyline should have been saved and later expanded for its own movie.

      It bothers me that the new movie will have both Bane and Catwoman, and will almost certainly have a return appearance from Scarecrow and probably some other character pop-ins. This is the same sort of villain and plotline clutter that sank Schumacher’s Batman movies, and Spider-Man 3.

      There seems to be this idea in Hollywood that comic book sequels have to each be exponentially larger than the last. I prefer the idea of Batman focusing his attention on one significant threat, rather than having it divided among a whole lot of smaller ones.

      • “I prefer the idea of Batman focusing his attention on one significant threat, rather than having it divided among a whole lot of smaller ones.”

        I agree, which is why ‘Batman Begins’ works on most levels (ignoring scarecrow, because he was more like a henchman than a 2nd villain). It’s a more focussed film, and it’s actually about the character (Both Bruce and his alter-ego).

        Dark Knight should’ve left out Two-face, and cut down on the Joker managing to do the most absurdly improbable things (Given that the film strives to be so realistic in its other areas, it falls apart bit-by-bit with repetitive Joker parts and their absurdity). Then it needed to add in some genuine character development with Bruce/Batman. Just my opinion, of course… 😉

        And on the ‘Bay’ comment, I wasn’t really implying he would learn, one way or the other, but at least he shows a willingness to acknowledge the problems. My point was merely that Nolan will not be able to do anything like that, due to the endless praise ‘Dark Knight’ received, despite its flaws.

  5. Jane Morgan

    I hope they go with the Bane kills / cripples Batman plotline, and that this ends the Nolan Trilogy.

    If they then want to continue with new talent, they should reboot i.e. Spiderman.

    I loved Anne Hathaway in ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’ As Catwoman / Love Interest #3, I think she’ll be the best female character in the series. We’ll root for her and Bruce to have lots of sex and fucked up babies.

    When Batman dies, it will spin off Catwoman into her own series, like a big-budget comic book version of ‘Sympathy For Lady Vengeance.’

    Imagine a ‘Catwoman’ film directed by Park Chan-wook.

  6. Well, I’m just going to come out and say it – Hathaway is a far better actor than Heath Ledger ever was, so I have no doubt that she’ll impress under Nolan’s direction. It’s also important to note that she’s been cast as Selina Kyle…whether or not this movie covers her transformation into Catwoman is yet to be seen.