New Dark Knight Villains Revealed: What Does This Tell Us About the Movie’s Plot?
It’s been nearly 12 hours since the internets revealed that the villains in The Dark Knight Rises will be Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) and Bane (Tom Hardy).
This is a bit of a surprise since online rumormongers speculated that the villains would be Talia al Ghul (I know it was a long time ago but remember Batman Begins? Talia would be Liam Neeson’s daughter) and Dr. Hugo Strange.
The release of the trailer for the Arkham City video game, which prominently features Hugo Strange, seemed to reinforce the latter supposition.
But those rumors were wrong. Or at least, not entirely correct. Surprised?
So in the spirit of getting things spectacularly wrong, let’s speculate about the plot of The Dark Knight Rises based solely on today’s announcement.
Where we left off: At the end of The Dark Knight, Batman is an accused cop-killer hunted by the police. It would be logical for The Dark Knight Rises to continue this thread, in which Batman avoids the cops while cleaning up the Joker’s mess (remember: those Arkham inmates have been running loose since Batman Begins) and keeping the mob from returning to power.
Villain 1: First Bane: a juicer with a pituitary problem. He was introduced in the comics during the 1993 Knightfall storyline. He has a backpack that pumps this super-steroid called Venom into his bloodstream. He also has protective coverings over his vital organs, which makes him difficult to shoot fatally. Bane’s method of attacking Batman is methodical: release the Arkham inmates, wear Batman down, then break his back.
Here’s a picture of Bane:
Just kidding. That’s Texans linebacker Brian Cushing. But like Bane, he’s powered by rage and chemicals (allegedly).
Here’s the actual Bane, doing what he does best:
So how will Bane fit into The Dark Knight Rises? Bane is pretty similar to Hugo Strange who, as mentioned, was initially rumored to be the Tom Hardy villain. Recent photos of Hardy showed him with short hair and a beard–in line with Hugo Strange’s visual appearance. Of course, as specified in the press release, the villain is Bane.
Like Hugo Strange, however, Bane attacks Batman psychologically (there’s a Batman-Goes-Insane storyline every five years or so, when DC editors apparently feel things are a little too cheery in Gotham). Like Strange, Bane figures out Batman’s identity.
Moreover, an anonymous source indicated that The Dark Knight Rises will borrow heavily from the Prey storyline, in which Commissioner Gordon reluctantly hunts Batman. Prey, currently out of print, also features Hugo Strange, a rogue psychiatrist.
Incidentally has anyone noticed that Arkham Asylum doesn’t really have a proud track record regarding its staff? At least three Arkham doctors (Strange, Scarecrow, and Harley Quinn) went insane and became supervillains themselves.
Director Christopher Nolan takes inspiration from a variety of Batman comic book sources. The Dark Knight’s tone and plot were notably inspired by one-shots and miniseries such as The Long Halloween, Arkham Asylum, and The Killing Joke. Nolan recombines various aspects of the comic book mythos to create his own vision of the character and the world Batman inhabits.
Which is why I think the villain played by Tom Hardy, though named Bane, will be a combination of Bane and Hugo Strange. I also anticipate The Dark Knight Rises borrowing plotpoints from both Prey and Knightfall (among other arcs like Batman R.I.P.). If such is the case, it will recall Iron Man 2 in which director Jon Favreau combined separate villains Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash into…Mickey Rourke.
I can imagine Bane forming an uneasy alliance with the police to help take down Batman, as he did in an episode of The New Batman Adventures cartoon, all the while trying to consolidate the disorganized criminal underworld to gain power for himself. In the meantime, Batman will be psychologically and emotionally beaten to shit, similar to Knightfall, as he tries to capture the remaining Arkham inmates while avoiding the police.
Villain 2: This is ostensibly Catwoman, though the press release distinctly mentions Hathaway playing Selina Kyle, Catwoman’s alter ego. So there’s a possibility that Catwoman won’t actually appear or, if she does, it might be a third-reel appearance, similar to the emergence of Two-Face in The Dark Knight.
Catwoman remains a fan-favorite because of her frequent appearances during the 60s TV series and her prominence in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. But in the comics, she’s more like an occasional nemesis/bat-fuckbuddy.
Anyway, I’m completely at a loss on how Selina Kyle will fit into Nolan’s saga as anything other than an obligatory love interest. I assume Nolan will do more with the character than we’ve seen in the comics where, let’s be honest, she’s been pretty limited. Maybe there will be some scintillating Bacall-Bogart-style banter. Except Batman doesn’t banter. At all. Especially not in Christian Bale’s throat cancer voice.
Regardless, I anticipate lots of leather fetish sex between Catwoman and Batman. I hope they leave their masks on and I hope it’s as perverted as a PG-13 rating allows.
In conclusion, here’s Tom Hardy beating people up in the film Bronson, just so you have an idea what to expect of him as Bane. It’s on Netflix Instant.
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