Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Actual Batman 3 news! Warner Bros confirms: Anne Hathaway to play Selina Kyle, Tom Hardy to play Bane.

Well, chalk it up to one part 'duh', another part 'huh?'. After months of obnoxious speculation, Warner has onfirmed that Anne Hathaway will indeed be playing Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises. It's a pretty no-brainer casting decision, as she is one of the bigger and more respected stars of her generation, and she amongst the various alleged front-runners had the least amount of tentpole, genre film experience. Nolan had stated months ago that it was indeed his intent to have a female antagonist, and really there are only three major baddies to choose from: Catwoman, Talia Al Ghul, and Poison Ivy. Of those, Catwoman is by far the most recognizable and/or popular. Of course, the press release makes no mention of 'Catwoman', so it's completely possible that Hathaway will merely be playing Ms. Kyle with no appearance by her costumed alter-ego.

There is allegedly one more 'female lead' role to be cast, and the question remains whether or not Catwoman (in costume or out) will indeed fill the 'female villain' role or the 'love interest' part of the equation. We'll know when we find out who the other female character is going to be. For those who want to see Catwoman at her best, track down the handful of graphic novel complications that make up the 37-issue story arc from Ed Brubaker's 2002/2004 Catwoman reboot. I've long treated Ed Brubaker as god's gift to comic books and to the Batman mythos, and this series is easily his best work at DC Comics. Heck, when the series was at its peak in those 37 issues, Catwoman was the best book being published at DC. Hathaway has managed to make a career while generally avoiding the tentpole genre and/or playing the token love interest (with the arguable exception of Get Smart and her glorified cameo in Alice in Wonderland), so seeing her enter this sandbox as a villain is refreshing at the very least.

The bigger news is that Tom Hardy will NOT be playing Dr. Hugo Strange or Black Mask. No, he will be playing Bane. That's right... Bane. Chris Nolan is quoted as saying “I am delighted to be working with Tom again and excited to watch him bring to life our new interpretation of one of Batman’s most formidable enemies.” Well, he's half right. Bane of course was introduced as a glorified 'Mary Sue' back in 1993, a villain who was allegedly crazier than The Joker, more powerful than Killer Croc, and smarter than Edward Nygma, etc, etc (he deduced Bruce's secret identity just by looking at him). He broke all of Batman's arch-enemies out of Arkham in order to wear Batman down. And then, only after Batman had rounded up most of the hardcore crazies, only then did Bane courageously challenge Bats to a mano-e-mano combat, where he promptly broke Bruce Wayne's back and left him paralyzed for about a year. Since then, Bane has returned from time to time, been reformed by Leslie Thompkins, found his father, sacrificed himself to save Batman, returned from that, and then... well, I honestly don't know what Bane has been up to for the last several years.

Point being, Bane was a 'insert unbeatable antagonist here' creation brought in for the sole purpose of defeating Bruce Wayne so he could be replaced by a crazier, more reckless variation on the Dark Knight. The Knightfall/Knightquest/KnightsEnd storyline was both a 'let's do the equivalent of 'The Death of Superman' as well as a meta-commentary on those who wanted Batman to be a harsher, darker, and more vicious crimefighter along the lines of Spawn or The Punisher. Bane was shoe-horned into the mythos to fit a story need, and the character has been recovering from that obvious point of weakness ever since. Oh, and he had a role in Batman & Robin as Poison Ivy's henchman, but I don't think Nolan has the same plans this time around. It's obvious that when Tom Hardy was cast, Chris Nolan was thinking more Bronson and less Star Trek: Nemesis. What Chris Nolan plans to do with Bane I do not know. But at this point, I trust Nolan's judgment.

But I'm frankly relieved that all of the Dr. Strange/Prey rumors are apparently not true. First of all, Prey isn't that good of a story and second of all, I now have no idea what the storyline for The Dark Knight Rises is actually going to be, which is a good thing 1.5 years out. Frankly, this news, of the immensely talented (and yes, pruriently appealing) Anne Hathaway being brought into the cast, of Thomas Hardy playing Bane (which can really be taken in any conceivable direction), makes me just a little excited for this third Batman picture yet again. Point being, I now have no idea what to expect, and that's a great place to be.

Scott Mendelson


Scott Bell said...

Bane has been active and developed in Secret Six. This should be cool.

Isaac said...

I've heard things about "secret six" but have no idea what it is...


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