Warner Bros. sent the fan world into frenzy yesterday with the announcement that Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy will play Catwoman and Bane in Christopher Nolan’s third Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises.
While fans had long-expected Catwoman to make an appearance in Batman 3, the addition of Bane was more surprising. The masked bruiser was always an option, but the majority of the speculation up to now had revolved around the character of Dr. Hugo Strange. Now that we know Bane is the primary villain, what does that mean for the plot of The Dark Knight Rises?
Although Bane is a widely known figure to comic book readers, the majority of casual Batman fans may only know the character from his absolutely horrendous appearance as a pumped-up Poison Ivy pawn in Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin. In this article, we will offer some better background on “the Man who Broke the Bat” and some speculation as to what Christopher Nolan’s “new interpretation” of the character might look like.
Who is Bane?
In brief, Bane is one bad mother. Created in 1993 by the team of Chuck Dixon, Doug Moench, and Graham Nolan, the comic book version of Bane was quite literally born into a life of crime. Raised in a prison from a young age as punishment for his father’s crimes, Bane quickly learned to fight to survive, killing his first man at the tender age of eight years old. He also showed a tremendous aptitude for learning, becoming a verifiable genius in addition to being a muscle-bound brawler.
Realizing what a unique specimen they had on their hands, prison officials decided to test a dangerous super-steroid on Bane called Venom. Although it nearly killed him, the Venom serum worked, giving Bane enhanced strength and agility. In retrospect, giving a super strong genius even more power was probably not the best decision. Bane eventually broke out of the prison and moved to Gotham City to square off with Batman in the classic “Knightfall” storyline.
At the beginning of the "Knightfall" story arc, Bane organizes the mass breakout of Arkham Asylum. Why? He did it to test Bruce Wayne both emotionally and physically. After months of grueling work bringing down the various psychos tearing apart the city (during which time Bane figured out Batman’s true identity by observation alone), Batman finally faced off one-on-one against Bane. The result was not so good for the Caped Crusdader.
As promised, Bane “broke” the Batman - quite literally snapping his spine in half (and giving us one of the best splash pages in comic book history). He then took his place as the king of Gotham’s underworld, at least for a little while, before being defeated by the new Batman, Jean-Paul Valley (a.k.a. Azrael).
Bane in the Nolanverse
Now that we’re firmly caught up on the comic book version of Bane, we can start to think about what Bane might look like in The Dark Knight Rises. As he has demonstrated with his previous Batman films, Christopher Nolan likes to keep things firmly based in reality. That’s one of the things that has made his Batman movies so good (for some). Is it realistic that a billionaire playboy goes out at night to fight crime as a masked vigilante? Of course not. But in Nolan’s movies, you believe that it’s at least possible, which makes the story and characters that much more engaging.
Given Nolan’s penchant for realism, a steroid-enhance super-genius like Bane doesn’t seem like he would fit. Of course, by those same standards, a psychopathic clown with nerve gas that makes people die laughing also seems far-fetched. As we all saw, however, Nolan (aided greatly by an Oscar-winning performance from Heath Ledger) managed to make the Joker not only a believable threat, but also one that fit perfectly within his vision of Gotham City.
Using Nolan’s version of the Joker as a template for Batman villains, there are a couple of good ways to bring Bane to the big screen.