When Tom Hardy was cast as Bane in the long-awaited sequel, The Dark Knight Rises, to our favorite Bat-film, The Dark Knight, as a Bat-fan, I was very excited. Hardy is yet another Brit whose acting abilities will certainly bring a renewed fervor to yet another villain from Batman’s extensive Rogues’ gallery. It makes me think back to Batman and Robin when Jeep Swenson played Bane, the dim-witted Venom-fueled super-soldier created by Smallville’s own Lionel Luthor, John Glover. (I still love Glover’s over-the-top evil super-scientist even though it’s a terrible film. What whack-job, but a hell of a performance, even for the five minutes he was on screen.)
What strikes me about Swenson’s Bane is the inaccuracy to continuity as well as the inaccuracy to the character of Bane himself. The best series, for me, that featured Bane was Batman’s Knightfall series. Bane is calculating, intelligent, and best of all (depending upon how you like your villains against Batman) more than a match for Bruce. His venom gives him an edge most villains are afraid to take, given the amount of damage it must do to his body (which is explored in an episode of Batman Beyond, and kudos to those writers for realizing that.) Most importantly, Bane did what Batman does: he studied his opponent and devised a plan to defeat him. A most clever plan at that. (***Spoilers for those who have not read this, so please stop reading now.)
Bruce is tired, sick, exhausted, over-stressed, spread too thin, etc. And Bane has no problem throwing one small villain after another at him before finally breaking his back. He even is so brazen that he discovers who Batman is, and breaks into Wayne Manor to finish Bruce himself. WOW! Few villains have learned Batman’s identity (Ra's included, which may be why we keep hearing about Lazarus pits and a young Ra's in the forthcoming sequel).
It is for this reason that I must reiterate how much faith we must continue to put in Christopher Nolan’s vision for the current Batman film series. To date, the only thing I haven’t liked about the series is that he came so close to making Ra's Al Ghul almost exactly the way he’s portrayed in the comic, despite one thing: Liam never calls Christian, “Detective.” For me, that would have been icing on the cake. However, I do not hold it against Nolan. His films have renewed Batman for a new generation, and reinvigorated the franchise all over again just as Burton did not so long ago.
But Tom Hardy!? Well, what can I say about this rising star from Britain? Inception was exceptional for him, and that is one thing I like about Nolan: he’s not afraid to use an actor again. (The same can be said for Burton. He stood by Keaton and pitched him as Bruce Wayne from the start, despite having been Beetlejuice this did not deter Burton from using our first serious Batman in the role that he helped define for a generation of Bat-fans.) Tom was also in a Guy Ritchie film titled Rock N Rolla. For anyone who hasn’t seen this yet, GO SEE IT! It’s excellent. Tom plays Handsome Bob, who is actually gay (with hilarious and not inappropriate results, including a hilarious scene with him and 300’s Gerard Butler dancing. The reason why is even funnier!). Hardy even played, though I did not see this, Picard’s evil clone in Star Trek: Nemesis and has been cast to play Mad Max in a revamp of the series. That is a welcome surprise to me (Love the Mad Max series. Anything with Gibson before Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto).
Overall, as Bat-fans we must remember to keep the faith in Christopher Nolan. He outdid Batman Begins and gave us The Dark Knight. Every Nolan film I’ve seen blows me away with the story, visuals, cinematography, and especially the talent of the actors he casts. Tom Hardy will not fail us, nor will Christopher Nolan. As I’ve discovered with music, Brits seem to do it better. In Batman’s case, it may be true.
Posted by Chris Gering