How Will Bane Stack Up Against the Joker?
To say that Heath Ledger's Joker is a tough act to follow is an understatement. Can Tom Hardy's Bane become one of the most talked about villains of the series or will he be trapped forever in the shadow of the previous movie?
Its strange to say, but even though it's one of the most anticipated movies of next year (maybe of all time), The Dark Knight Rises has an uphill battle ahead of it. Not only is it a sequel to one of the highest grossing movies of all time, but it's predecessors have been called the two best and most influential comic book movies of all time. But not only does it have to live up to one of the best comic movies of all time, but it has to do something else...
Bring a good villain.
Heath Ledger contributed a lot to the success of The Dark Knight (say what you will about the effect his death had on the box office), but you can't argue that when people walked out of the movie, they were talking about him and his performance. In my opinion, Heath Ledger's Joker is one of the best movie villains of all time. When the Joker is on screen, you can't take your eyes off him, and when he's gone, you're waiting for him to come back.
In a past article, I wrote briefly on why the Joker was so appealing. Most people won't admit it, but Heath Ledger's Joker was so appealing because we all wanted to be him. Joker did what he wanted, when he wanted, he was the outsider fighting against order, making his own rules. It has been said that Heath's Joker is terrifying because he sees himself as humanity fully realized, and I'm going to take it a bit farther and say that he's what we all want to be. We want to go through life ignoring the rules, doing what we want, saying what we want, but we can't. Looking at Heath's performance at Joker is looking at the dark side in all of us, the side we're afraid to let out.
After The Dark Knight came out, my thoughts, and everyone elses, went to who they would get as the next villain. Heath's performance, combined with the way the character was written, left a huge standard to live up to. Whoever the villain would be in the third Batman movie would be judged by both general audiences and comic book fans alike, and inevitably be compared to Heath Ledger's Joker.
I think Bane can be the villain to stand alongside The Joker because unlike Joker, who appealed to audiences because of his rebel nature, Bane will work because audiences can realize just how intimidating of a villain he is. Bane is such a dangerous villain because not only is he stronger than Batman, but he is just as smart as Bats. In the comics, Bane set out not to kill Batman, but to prove himself superior by breaking the Bat. First, Bane set free all of the inmates of Arkham, causing Bats to work over time to bring them in. Mentally and physically exhausted, Batman found himself attacked at his most vulnerable point: Wayne Manor. After a fight, Bane snapped Batman's back, an injury that took the Caped Crusader a year to recover from.
If done right(and I think Nolan will do him right), Bane could not only be a villain audiences hate, but one they fear. When they watch him fight Batman, they'll find themselves wondering if Batman will actually win this one (especially if the rumors of Bane breaking the Bat do come true). Add in the calculating nature of Bane, and we could have a villain that has people talking long after the movie ends.
And things are already off on the right foot. Tom Hardy is a fantastic young actor and can bring plenty of depth to Bane, and if you don't believe me just check out his performance in the strange British film Bronson and you'll see just how intimidating and scary Hardy can be as a villain. Another thing working for Bane is his look. One of the first things people said when they saw the picture of Bane was "creepy", which is what I think the filmmakers intended. But looks are only skin deep, and it all comes down to how the character is written.
Precious little is known about Bane's role in the movie other than rumor. In the comics, Bane is quite a different villain from Joker. While Joker is unpredictable, Bane is cold and calculating. Bane's intellect rivals Batman's, and this makes him quite a challenge for the the Dark Knight. One rumor you do have to pay attention to is the one regarding Bane's connection to the League of Shadows. The League of Shadows rumor is most likely true and would make Bane an interesting contrast to Batman. While Batman used his League of Shadows training to help people, we can see how Bane used his to hurt people, namely against the one man who stopped the League: Bruce Wayne. This would present Bane as almost a dark twin to Batman, what he could have been if he would have fully joined the League. Couple Bane's massive strength with his League training, and we could see Batman up against an unstoppable monster, Michael Myers on steroids.
Bane's connection to the League of Shadows could also make the battle between him and Batman personal. Recent set reports claim that a scene with Alfred in the hospital were filmed, and right around the same time a scene was shot with someone (it's guessed to be Bruce Wayne) being thrown out a hospital window. Perhaps Bane went to Wayne Manor looking for Bruce but found Alfred instead, and put a hurting on him to draw out Batman? This would lead to a confrontation at a hospital where an unprepared Bruce gets thrown out a window, perhaps leading to a back injury? This would be the first time that audiences would see Batman be physically dominated by a villain, but would also show just how dangerous Bane is because he knows who the people close to Bruce are.
Then again, it could go down entirely different from all that. Right now all we have is speculation. Bane could be a terrifying movie villain, one that evokes fear and hatred from an audience. By the end of TDKR, audiences will want to see Batman kick Bane's ass and prove himself superior. People talked about Heath Ledger's Joker because of the feelings of anarchy he instilled in all of us, but people could talk about Bane just as much because of how intimidating he is, and how he brought Batman to the brink, even more so than Joker. Who knows, by next summer we could be saying that Bane is the second best Batman movie villain, after Ledger's Joker.
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