Sunday, January 23, 2011
The Dark Knight Rises
Hi everyone! So at long last Bat freaks like yours truly can celebrate in the knowledge of who those pesky villains will be in the third and final chapter of director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, "The Dark Knight Rises" scheduled to pummel its way into theaters in the summer of 2012. Drum roll please.....CATWOMAN AND BANE! Cool right? Last week Warner Bros. issued a press release confirming this and which actors had been cast in these iconic roles. Anne Hathaway is Selina Kyle/Catwoman and Thomas Hardy is Bane. Personally, I am thrilled with Nolan's decision to include Catwoman in the new movie. Next to The Joker and Two Face, she is probably the most enduring of all of Batman's rogues.
Catwoman has enjoyed various incarnations throughout her many year history. In Frank Miller's "Batman Year One" series she is depicted as a societal outcast scratching out a living as a sleazy call girl in one of the roughest sections of a dangerous town before seeing Batman's heroic acts caught on the news inspires her to fight on behalf of others who are exploited and downtrodden as Catwoman. In Jeph Loeb's "The Long Halloween," Selina Kyle is characterized a skilled jewel thief with a fiery vendetta against Gotham's more notorious crime families and combat skills that rival those of The Dark Knight himself. It is unclear which incarnation of Catwoman Nolan will choose for the film, but, as was certainly the case with Heath Ledger's "Joker," in the last movie, I'm sure he will give a fresh and unexpected interpretation of the character while never losing focus of what makes them character special to begin with.
I am really hoping that Anne Hathaway brings something new and exciting to the table as Catwoman. I have not seen her in very many dramatic roles but I heard she is quite good and she certainly has her work cut out for her following in the footsteps of Michelle Phiefer, whose unhinged portrayal of the whip toting villainess in Tim Burton's "Batman Returns" is arguably the best performance ever by a female actor in a comic book based movie. Unfortunately I can't say the same for Halle (Hotty) Barry. (Stick to Storm Hon)
In Batman's expansive rogue's gallery there are not many villains who can top The Joker. Penguin can't do it, Riddler can't do it, and until he learns how to chuck actual lightening bolts, Maxi Zeus sure as heck can't do it. But if there is one penultimate bada$$ with the potential to be equally, if not even more deadly than the Clown Prince of Crime himself it is the man who broke The Batman, Bane. One of Batman's more modern rogues, Bane was introduced in the "Knightfall" storyline in the mid 90's. A brutal fighter and brilliant strategist, Bane targeted Gotham as the place were he would make a name for himself after escaping from the dismal confines of a barbaric South American prison where he had been locked up for most of his life. Upon arriving, Bane immediately set his sights on destroying The Caped Crusader both physically and psychologically by orchestrating a mass breakout from Arkham Asylum. Struggling tirelessly to recapture all the escaped inmates, Batman was finally confronted by the mastermind responsible and exhausted beyond all measure proved no match for the physically dominate Bane who broke Batman's back in the fight that ensued. So yeah, pretty scary dude if you ask me.
I am not familiar with much of Hardy's work other than his supporting role in the brilliant "Inception." Granted, the guy does not exactly posses Hulk Hogan like physique of his comic book counterpart but definitely has a very strong charisma about him in the mind bending thriller that enables him to stand out from some of his more well known co-stars. Whatever route they have in store for Bane, one of Batman's most cunning and dangerous foes, I'm sure it will be a vast improvement on the drooling idiot schumaker reduced the character to in the abysmal stinkfest "Batman and Robin" (shudder!)
In closing, I am greatly looking forward to seeing how Nolan intends to make these characters fit into his distinct vision of Batman's world. At the end of "The Dark Knight," we saw Batman shoulder the blame for a series of murders he did not commit and in a symbolic sense fall from being the champion of Gotham to a wanted fugitive, hunted by the police and hated and feared by the people he has sworn to protect. Perhaps he will find a kindred spirit in Catwoman, a whip wielding Robin Hood and fellow outlaw who also operates in the gray area between right and wrong and always manages to stay one step ahead of the long hand of the law. Will the two forge a common bond? Or will Batman's unshakable moral compass force him to bring her to justice? And now that the Gotham City Police Force's number one prerogative seems to be the capture of Batman at all costs, perhaps, in there overeagerness they will turn to a man with skills to rival those of The Dark Knight. A man who can get inside his head like no other, a man with sinister ulterior motives and hidden allegiances (The League of Shadows???) A man like Bane. Although details of the actual plot remain a matter of pure speculation, one thing is for certain. The Dark Knight will be faced with what will undoubtedly be his most harrowing challenge yet. And through adversity, he will rise.