Debate of the Day: Are These the Right Batman Villains?

By now most of you have probably heard yesterday’s big news that Warner Bros. officially announced that Anne Hathaway would be Selina Kyle (Catwoman) and Tom Hardy would be Bane in Chris Nolan’s third Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.

I figured I’d take the temperature of what you guys felt about this, as it is pretty unexpected. There have been a lot of possible villains thrown around, but I’m pretty sure I never once heard the combo of Bane and Catwoman. Killer Croc, Black Mask and Clayface were tossed around as possibles for Hardy’s character, and Catwoman and Nolan didn’t seem like they would fit together, but here we are.

I have to assume that both characters will be ‘new’ interpretations of their comic book counterparts, meaning Bane is probably not going to be 600 pounds of pure muscle, and Catwoman may not have a whip and ass-tight leather. Though the latter would definitely be a shame. I think the actors themselves are good picks, as Hardy is a great up and comer, and he’s been fantastic in everything I’ve seen him in, and Hathaway has proven herself to be a very solid actress in the last few years.

What do you guys think about all this? Are these villains a misstep, or do you have faith in whatever Nolan deems best?

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  1. im not sure about hardy being bane i wanna see ho theyre gonna make bane look and hathaway might be a good catwoman especially if she has ass tight leather 😀

  2. Though it seems a peculiar combination, I have to say this: Nolan’s been spot on so far. For round one, what non-fan would ever think of using Ra’s al Ghul? They were all thinking things like the Riddler or Penguin or some other famous and overdone bad guy. Round two, he made us change our perceptions of the Joker completely. And probably irrecovably. Even when I catch a glimpse of a commercial for one of the cartoons on TV, I catch myself thinking of the scars and the disappearing pencil trick.

    Nolan has something excellent in mind. Past performance shows he’s not doing something half-assed like Iron Man 2 or X-Men Last Stand. Even though he might or might not be a fan, he KNOWS Batman fans and what the real fans crave. He has to have a reason to pick these two (and part of me IS fervently hoping for the Pfeiffer-esque catsuit and whips – Hathaway is smokin). I mean, BANE? What non-fan has ever heard of him? No, Nolan has a reason.

    Nolan hasn’t disappointed so far, so I have to believe he has something good up his sleeve here.

  3. Yes and yes. A version of the Broken Bat storyline would fit perfectly with the GPD’s pursuit of Batman indicated by the end of The Dark Knight and there’s always room for the hotness of Catwoman. The casting looks perfect to me as well. Big thumbs up from this comic nerd.

  4. I´m afraid about the choice of “Bane”, to look kind of CGI-ridiculos.
    Bane never fits really into the Bat-universe for me.
    If they gonna kill again that Franchise, I´ll go find Nolan and become his Bane to break his back.
    But hey,… we´ve learned from “Spiderman” , that you can reboot a franchise just a year or two after death, not EIGHT!

  5. Well, since Nolan hasn’t done a bad movie yet, and we all originally thought Ledger was going to be terrible casting (which was proved to be completely wrong), I am just going to trust his judgement on it.

  6. I trust Nolan. Like people have said already, no one thought Ledger was going to be good and he was amazing. Nolan hasnt had much sucess casting women in the Batman world though as both Katie Holmes and Maggie Gylenhall were the worst parts of those two movies. So we will just have to wait and see how Hathaway turns out but I have high hopes.

  7. Oh yeah, as for the original question: I’m all for whatever Nolan wants to do. Asl the guy knows how to do is make instant classics so whatever he wants is automatically the right choice.

  8. I have faith. While Bane will have to be a new interpretation of the character to fit him into Nolan’s ultra-real world where no one is enhanced in any way out of the ordinary, he’ll have to be.

    Cat Woman would likely don a Batman-type suit and take up the reigns while Batman goes into hiding (in plain sight by being Bruce Wayne).

    If there is one thing Nolan has proven, it’s that he can pull off just about anything, even when no one thinks he can do it. Anyone remember the shock the public had when he cast Davie Bowie as Tesla? Bowie turned in a performance I wish had been a big enough part to get him a nod for Best Supporting Actor. Nolan did the same thing with Ledger who no one thought was right for the part, even after he was cast, there were campaigns to have his “A Knight’s Tale” co-star Paul Bettany cast in the role.

    Now Nolan again goes against popular opinion and chooses Tom Hardy (who is the next big star, he’s too talented and too dedicated not to be) to be Bane when just about everyone was pulling for Joseph Gordon-Levitt to be Riddler. Nolan knows what he is doing and has already done well by the fans by using two fairly uncommon villains with Ra’s al Gul and Scarecrow (here’s to hoping for another cameo for Murphy). He’ll do it again.

  9. @Drester – if you mean the picture up top, that’s him as he looked for Bronson (amazing 2008 film about Britain’s most notorious prisoner). Check it out if you get a chance.

    I’m thrilled by both castings and characters. I doubt Nolan/Hardy’s Bane is going to be the Bane of the comics – see Two-Face. Just someone physically/chemically stronger than Bale’s very human Batman and comparatively smart. And Catwoman – hell, why not. Easy to fit with Nolan’s Gotham and an interesting character. And yeah, Anne will be sexy as hell which will be a nice remedy to the two dull Rachael Dawes’.

    I seriously hope this will be some version of the Knightfall plot – what a way to end the trilogy! And I’m also very excited by Darren Aronofsky saying he’s keen to make the next Batman film after this. He was in the running before Nolan but his Bat was deemed “too dark” – bring it on!

  10. While I thought Holmes was terrible in Batman Begins, Gyllenhaal wasn’t bad in The Dark Knight.

    I think Hathaway is a good choice for Catwoman. Most of her roles have been lighter in tone, but she was excellent in the more serious Rachel Getting Married. Hardy should be great acting-wise, but I hope they keep his character more visually realistic and do not attempt a silly steroid look.

    Plotwise, Bane can fill the criminal leadership void caused by the deaths of the Gotham mob bosses and the Joker’s incarceration. Since Rachel Dawes, who was so important to Bruce Wayne, is now dead, larger-than-life Catwoman can appeal to larger-than-life Batman.

  11. @Stu and Drester: Bronson absolutely was an amazing performance by Hardy. Any fanboy that starts carping about hardy’s inability to play a villain (no doubt substantiatied by a crack about his role of Shinzon) needs to see this film. I’m really hoping Hardy taps into the brutality he displayed to play Bane.

    I’m a huge Hathaway fan too…as with my comment about fanboy carping, I’m certain it will only come from the segment that never saw “Rachel Getting Married” or who believes that a female lead must only be smokin’ hot. AFAIC, Gyllenhaal was very believable and great in an admitedly underwritten role.

    As for how Bane and Catwoman will figure into the Nolan-verse, I have absolute faith that he, his brother, and Goyer have come up with another unique and winning formula (R’as al Ghul, Scarecrow, and Joker worked out exceptionally wwell, after all).

  12. I like the choice of actors as well as villains. Inception was my first exposure to Hardy and I really liked him. I think that he could fit into the Bane character as well. Especially if they play up the “criminal mastermind” aspects of the character that typically gets glossed over in the non-comic versions of the character.

    As far as Selina is concerned…if I can’t have Talia I’ll take Selina. I like the dynamic of the Batman/Catwoman/Bruce/Selina relationship. Anne Hathaway is an interesting choice. Honestly not one that I would have thought to make, but I think she’s a great performer and very easy on the eyes. I hope that by choosing Selina as the next major female character after two failed attempts to make Ms. Dawes matter that they are finally going to be able to give Bruce/Batman a female relationship that will actually contribute to the story.

  13. Not gonna lie, I was hoping he was gonna use Joseph Gordon-Levitt for the Joker (one of the many rumours I had heard) he’s my newest celebrity crush after seeing him in Inception.

  14. I also trust Mr Nolan. He has yet to do a bad film. I know he obviously put a lot of time and effort into both the script and the casting process as we know we considered a lot of different people for different roles. I don’t know a lot about Bane but I like Tom Hardy so I hope that relationship ends well for everyone.

    I do not like Anne Hathaway and I do not think she has the acting chops compared to some of the other female actors he must have considered. Sure she had a part in Brokeback Mountain but unless Heath Ledgers ghost appeared to Nolan and said “She will do” then I don’t know what he is thinking. 90% of the films she has been in were mediocre rom-coms from or she had bit parts as somebody’s love interest….I see a lot of people are saying she was really good in that one film, Rachel got something-or-other but of all the actresses he could have picked for arguably the most important installment in one of the most commercially and critically successful franchises in recent years, Is she really the best possible choice?

  15. Two things I am sure. Bane will be using a suit and the movie will be great. What I am eager for is the revelation of the third villain. See, all the movies had 3 villains: Batman begins had The Scarecrow, Ra’s and the mob. The second one had The Joker, Two-Face and the mob multiplied by 4. Now they’re showing us 2 villains but not the third one. To me, Bane could be standing for the mob, a brutal enemy but not too clever, the one that delivers violence. Catwoman can be the new Two Face, someone standing in gray territory (Two-Face was a come down, Catwwoman can be the rise in the title -pun intended-). But we’re missing another piece, the villain that will give gravitas to the movie.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if they anounce some other actor being cast. It will be a man (yeah, Nolan can’t write women) and will be the thinking kind. I’m just saying.

  16. I think a lot of people are forgetting that Bane in the comics is not the Bane from the movie. Bane was a not just strong as hell but a genius. He’ll take control of the mob and make some crazy moves. Also I like the Hathaway pick. It’s going to be great to see how Selina Kyle is incorporated into Nolan’s Batman Universe.

  17. Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy are excellent choices for a cast. Catwoman seems to be a very logical choice for a love interest, perhaps testing Bats both physically in terms of martial creativity (with some of her own technological trickery) but also emotionally as he falls for her, and yet also feel pulled as to whether to hand her in or not (presumably her profession would be a cat burglar, perhaps Bruce could even catch her in the act at Wayne Enterprises no less) as they are both outlaws, and perhaps share some kinship, does he personally feel he needs to anymore? etc. or something like this.

    The real upset for me, is Bane. Now I think Christopher Nolan has done masterful things with the series so far and I have every confidence that he will create a nuanced Bane. This Bane perhaps beginning as a small time crook and compelled to elevate himself to higher heights and rule the various families of Gotham, and so forces upon himself an untested steroid, Venom.

    Inevitably, this will culminate in Bats and Cats joining forces to bring down Baney, or perhaps Batman wanting to avenge her death at the hands of Bane or perhaps instead Cats, being employed by Bane, teaming up with the muscular villain to fight off Batman. Or at least some sort of similar climax. And this’ll probably be pretty darn good as it is.

    But I’m upset because I don’t want Bane. I heard a lot of rumours amidst the interwebs suggesting Tom Hardy would play Hugo Strange, a mad scientist/professor capable of wielding various perception/emotional changing chemicals, so not unlike Scarecrow really. And I think that could have been pretty interesting too, perhaps moreso than Bane.

    But the mastermind I personally think should’ve taken the place as the main villain in The Dark Knight Rises, is The Riddler. Now, don’t get me wrong I think Jim Carrey’s Riddler was down right camp, but there was something interesting about the dynamic set up. He challenged Bats intellectually with his puzzles, toying with him, and through the very non-linear approach Nolan loves to tell his stories with, this could’ve been displayed absolutely perfectly. One such way this story could’ve been initiated is, that Dr. Edward Nigma, the state’s finest forensic/psychological/cryptanalysis consultant (perhaps think of a much more bad ass Charlie Eppes off of Numbers) has been asked to bring down the Batman, and hence lays traps and tries to get into the mind of Batman. But eventually the job becomes an obsession and Mr Nigma is willing to do anything solve this maddening puzzle, and prove to himself he is smarter than the Batman.

    I just think that would’ve made a much much more compelling film than the threat Bane is likely to produce.

    On a side note, I’m still hoping for a small cameo of The Penguin. At the start of the film as a pre-main-arc part of the story (much like how Bruce tried to stop Scarecrow at the beginning of The Dark Knight), Batman could be trying to take down a well-renowned upper-class supplier of weapons to the mob bosses of Gotham, aka Mr Cobblepot. So we get a nice bit of action with some shooting etc. and it could finish with the police running in and hence supplying the media with the idea that the Batman is trying to gather more firepower off of the mob, hence solidifying the outlaw persona he has become.

    And on an additional sidenote, the idea of including either, Clayface or Killer Croc, in Nolan’s universe very much based in a quasi-reality is very ill-fitting. The only way this could ever truly work is making their monstrous appearances come from a genetic deformity, which in turn is based on real-life cases. Or by merely making their names nicknames applied to their brute force and botched nose job respectively.

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