Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meet Bane - Batman's Next Antagonist

It was announced last week that Anne Hathaway would be playing Selina Kyle (Catwoman) in the upcoming 3rd (and likely final) installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman series. Secondary to that in most reports was the announcement that already-cast Tom Hardy would be portraying Batman's foe - Bane. I was pleased to hear this, but didn't think too much on the matter until seeing Bane in an episode of "Young Justice" this weekend. It got me thinking who is Bane? and how is Nolan likely to use him?

Here's a little rundown of who Bane is:

- He's got a great backstory: Essentially, his father was a revolutionary in the fictional corrupt nation of Santa Prisca. When his father escaped persecution by the government, the 8-year-old Bane was handed the intended life sentence. So Bane lives most of his life in a prison with a bunch of horrible criminals. All the while he gets in really good shape and educates himself in a number of disciplines. He is then made a test subject for something called "venom", which endows him with even greater physical attributes, but makes him a slave to the drug.

- Some say he possesses a genius intellect and a photographic memory, so much so, in fact, that he was able to deduce Batman's true identity within one year of arriving in Gotham.

- Immediately upon arriving in Gotham, Bane breaks down walls at Arkham Asylum, allowing a whole mess of villains to escape.

- He's "The Man Who Broke The Bat". In the series "Knightfall" (in which Bane was introduced), he shows up at the Batcave and breaks Batman's back.

How can Nolan use him? Very easily.

Bane is the perfect foe for Batman at this point. Many reports were saying Riddler and after Nolan debunked those, rumors turned to Hugo Strange. The Strange news came about as a response to hearing that the next film would would be partly influenced by a graphic novel called "Prey", which features Strange as a consultant for a Gotham PD task force charged with taking down Batman.

I still think that THE DARK KNIGHT RISES will follow a similar storyline (since it follows the end of THE DARK KNIGHT so perfectly), but I'm guessing they've just substituted Bane for Strange, who is a bit less esoteric and bit riper for Nolan's more realistic approach. Since Batman is now on the run, people are going to be after him. Bane could still maintain his backstory, but take on more of a mercenary role in hunting Batman. He might even do a few things he did in "Knightfall", like break people out of Arkham to draw Batman's attention. And since this is supposed to be the end of Nolan's Batman series, it's possible that Bane just might break Batman's back (though I'd doubt it)

At times, Bane can be a pretty ridiculous character, from his cartoon characterizations to his sad appearance in BATMAN AND ROBIN. But making him more grounded is actually quite simple and only requires the removal or toning down of a few things. 1. He doesn't have to freakishly large, just noticeably bigger than Batman. 2. It's not really necessary for him to be on "venom" with tubes and stuff attached to his neck. He could very well just be on roids or something, or perhaps nothing at all. Bane could just be physically stronger than Batman. And 3. Bane actually has a pretty cool mask, but he probably doesn't need it for the film.

Another interesting aspect about Bane is that he's not insane and out of control like most of Batman's villains, namely THE DARK KNIGHT's Joker. He'll be a different kind of villain for Batman, matching wits and brawn instead of inflicting senseless chaos.

As far as casting goes, Tom Hardy pretty much fits the bill for Bane. Last seen in INCEPTION, Hardy's a talented, charismatic actor on the rise, who has already had some experience playing villains (STAR TREK: NEMESIS and BRONSON). In the latter film, he also showed off his ability to bulk up for a part, putting on 40-something pounds by doing 2500 push-ups a day. Here's a clip from the film of him getting violent.

Even though Hardy is British and Bane is typically portrayed as being Central American (or something like that), Bane's father is revealed at one point to be a villain known as the Snake King, a Brit, so it wouldn't be too far fetched for Hardy's Bane to be part-english.

Filming on THE DARK KNIGHT RISES begins in May and the film will be released in July of 2012. That means we might be seeing a teaser of some sort withing the next 8 months. I'm certainly interested to see how things turn out.

No comments: