Christopher Nolan, the enigmatic genius behind the recent Batman franchise, has just revealed the villains for his latest installment, The Dark Knight Rises. As we know, Tom Hardy has been attached to the project for several weeks now. It has been revealed that he will play the character of Bane, one of the few villains to have ever successfully defeated Batman.
Perhaps the bigger bombshell, however, is that Anne Hathaway has been cast in the role of Catwoman, one of Batman’s most popular enemies… and friends. It’s difficult to know which direction Nolan will take, but it’s safe to assume that his interpretation will differ significantly from the Halle Berry version that many comic book fans have tried to forget.
The last major rendition of the Bane character was featured in the ultra-cheesy Batman & Robin (Have we forgotten Arnold Schwarzenegger’s painful version of Mr. Freeze?). That particular film made Bane nothing more than an overgrown lackey for Poison Ivy, contrary to the comic book rendition of a shrewd, intelligent villain who manages to defeat Batman by breaking his back. Also, considering the fact that Bane was raised in prison, the similarities to Hardy’s portrayal of Charles Bronson (the criminal, not the actor) in Bronson make Hardy a compelling choice for such a character.
Nolan will have to proceed with caution in order to avoid the nagging comparisons for Catwoman. There’s the Halle Berry version, the Michelle Pfeiffer version, the Eartha Kitt version, and the Lee Meriwether version. Bringing such a prominent character to the point where it is set apart from the rest of the pack can be a very difficult task. Fortunately, Anne Hathaway should have the acting chops to accomplish such a feat.
As far as how the story will go, it’s just about anyone’s guess. Catwoman was both a love interest and an enemy to Batman in the comics. Although Bane is generally known for the Knightfall story arc in which he broke Batman’s back, he also aligned himself as an ally of Batman in other stories. The dynamics that Nolan will be able to draw from are many.
While I was warming up to the idea of Hugo Strange (even though I didn’t initially expect him to be in the story anyway), I am willing to trust Christopher Nolan with this franchise. So far, he has failed to disappoint.