Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Batman Villians Cast

OBLIGATORY BATMAN DISCLAIMER: I am aware of the Internet Law declaring that Christopher Nolan can do no wrong in any way, ever. I am aware that "Dark Knight Rises" is thus awesome until proven guilty, so there's no reason to get in a huff and bury me in infuriated rebukes if I happen to say anything that sounds like even the slightest hesitation at jumping into the circle-jerk. Thank you ;)

As most of you are certainly already aware, Warner Bros. has announced the identities and casting of the villians (or maybe not in at least one case?) in the next Batman movie. Anne Hathaway is CATWOMAN, while Tom Hardy is... BANE.

Okay. Those are both pretty suprising.

Catwoman less so, since she's really the only enemy other than Joker that's always on the must-do list; but I'm rather impressed that they were willing to risk reminding everyone of Halle Berry's career-suicide only a few years ago.

Seeing how she's realized will be FASCINATING, for two reasons: Firstly, "hot chick who dresses like a cat... because" is bit over the edge from Nolan's thus-far insistent hyper-realistic grounding for these things; so you have to wonder how they plan to make it "work" without just ripping the bandaid off the whole "it's Gotham City, it's the DC Universe, when you start a criminal career here you get a nickname and a costume" bit. In Frank Miller's "Year One," which they've been using as a reference for the series, she got an updated origin as - what else? - a prostitute (because... well, because Frank Miller, pretty much) and some subsequent interpretations have had the "costume" be repurposed S&M gear, neither of which you'd expect WB to let slide in a PG13 tentpole. I think a lot the audience will "forgive" minor logic-leaps if the trade-off is Anne Hathaway in a rubber/leather/whatever catsuit... but I doubt Nolan would, for good or ill. I actually would not be the least bit surprised to learn that the character will just be Selena Kyle: Attractive Burglar - no costume, no nickname, maybe she has a pet cat so everybody gets the reference.

But even setting aside "fanboy" concerns... film fans who've kept an eye on Nolan's career HAVE to wonder how he approaches a character like this. Catwoman, traditionall, is "about" only two things: Sexuality and femininity - neither of which he's ever shown much (cinematic) interest in. In fact, it's been persuasively argued that one of the BIG recurring themes in his films is the idea of no-nonsense masculine professionalism being "undone" (if not wholly corrupted) by an unwelcome feminine influence - hell, that's actually a good PLOT SUMMARY of, say, "Inception." So what does "Catwoman" look/act like, and what function does she serve, in the vision of the most sexless major filmmaker working today? Color me intrigued.

And then there's "Bane." I... egh. This is the part where the "trust in Nolan" thing is REALLY taxing. Bane sucks. Bane is basically useless. Basically a super-smart bruiser in a mask who turns into a Latin-American Incredible Hulk with super-steroids, he's the Batman equivalent of Venom - a deeply uninteresting character mainly popular in the 90s whose perplexing shelf-life is solely based on participating in a memorable story-arc. Unlike Venom, Bane's story - which involves Batman getting crippled and replaced by a reformed religious-nut baddie who regresses and becomes an armored "evil" Batman - is probably not going to be told in the movie. There's potential in the idea... but if not for the "Nolan pass" this would NOT be very encouraging news.

What I'm interested in is how they plan to even "do" this guy: Again, the thus-far strict no-fantasy/no-scifi/real-world theme of these films doesn't really seem to have room for a guy who turns into an invincible muscle-freak by juicing himself with chemicals... so what is he?

Of secondary but interesting concern: Will it be an "issue" that they've cast a white British actor to play a character who's typically supposed to be of Latin or at least South-American descent? I mean, this is just as much of an "OUTRAGE" as Idris Elba in Thor, yes? No?


The Karligarchy said...

Bane... hmmm... There isnt going to be another villain in there somewhere? I dunno...

Robert said...

Bane will probably be just as important as the Scarecrow in Dark Knight

The Grey Man said...

Bane only sucked in "Batman & Robin." He was always one of my favorite Batman villains and I'm glad Nolan's taking a shot at him. And I had similar thoughts regarding Catwoman. Given Nolan's track record with female characters she was honestly way down on the list of characters I thought he'd try.

Really, though, I was hoping they'd use Zsasz. It'd be dark enough, he was set up in the first one, and it would give them a chance to showcase Batman's detective skills tracking a regular-ass serial killer instead of an out-and-out comic book villain.

Kyle said...

I have very little exposure to Bane. Yes, the unwatchable Batman and Robin movie was just about it-

But I played Batman: Arkham Asylum and I really liked the character. He was a great boss fight sure, but he has some good lines and I thought he fit into the story of that great game very well.

So, my positivity here is based on that.

I will also say that Nolan's Bruce Wayne and Alfred have had some excellent back-and-forth about the threat of serious injury to Bruce even though Batman can have no such perceived weaknesses. I'd love to see Michael Caine break my heart with Alfred's agony over something happening to Bruce.

Bob said...

I'll say this: If Nolan were to actually END the movie (and the series) with Bane crippling or KILLING Batman just as a concrete, ironclad way to say: "Eff you, no sequel, no continuation, no one else 'building from' this. MY Batman is over, any others after this will HAVE to be a totally different creature" ...that would be AWESOME. Can you imagine being in a theater when people realized that was REALLY the ending? Legendary. Also pretty unlikely. But legendary.

Thinking more in terms of the plausible: I could easily imagine them having Bane "break" Batman at the BEGINNING of this, and the whole movie, everyone realizing that Gotham etc. goes completely to shit without him and everyone being buddy/buddy again when he shows up and cleans house in Act 3 (hence, "Rises.")

Adam said...

I would have been surprised if there was no Catwoman. After the Joker she's a major gear in the Batman mythos. The selection of Anne Hathaway is...interesting. I like Ms. Hathaway. I think she's done some good work, but Catwoman? If she can pull it off she's going to have to show a side of her I have not seen before.

How they're approaching her is interesting as well. She begins as a vigilante and not a villainess? I know her story is...complex...but that seems like an odd starting off point.

Chaos Drive said...
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Chaos Drive said...

@Bob Batman never dies. He gets incinerated by new gods, only to be transported through time so he can alter history and become Bat God.

Also Bane is no way near the 90s bullshit that is Venom, Read Secret Six and before you say that it is a one time deal at character growth, well fuck most characters don't even get that. When Venom was in the Thunderbolts written by Warren Ellis he still got crap character development.

If Nolan goes back to the original idea of Bane as an evil Doc Savage, then we will get a good rivalry that will play to Nolan's strength of professionals doing things professionally. Honestly I'm seeing large scale corporate gang wars in the streets in this one with Catwoman playing a game of self profiting espionage. This theory mostly comes from the fact that Inception exists, and I'm expecting idea spill over to Dark Knight Rises. Even so the movie is still a coin toss and everyone knows it.

Daniel said...

Both were a huge surprise for me too. I too was expecting Nolan to choose a more realism friendly villain. The Riddler makes a hell of a lot more sense than Bane, he's one of the better- known villains and with a little reinterpretation would fit into the Nolan-verse perfectly.

About you're "Batman crippled, end of the series" theory; while very unlikely, I'd also find it a very welcome change. I love The Dark Knight's take on Batman but I really really don't want it to continue after this one. If future films use Nolan as a heavy inspiration I doubt anyone will ever see such wonderful characters as Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Killer Moth, the Mad Hatter, Man-Bat, Mr. Freeze, Firefly, Harley Quinn, Clayface, Batgirl, or (and saddest of all) Robin get a proper appearance on Film.

Oh right, Also; I'm of Latin descent and I find absolutely no problem with Bane being British... But sadly I'm sure someone will eventually.

Stefan Sasse said...

I had hoped for Catwoman and the Penguin. Both would have made perfect sense; but I am very interested to see what Nolan does with Bane.

Clayton said...

I do think Hathaway is a GREAT choice for Selina. She's a great actress and I can see good things with her. However, as the press release shows, they call her Selina, not Catwoman, meaning she might be just Selina.

Hardy on the other hand is...weird. Bane is actually sort of the most uninteresting part of Knightfall (Azrael was the the star of that show). They're probably not going to have him grow to eight feet tall by roiding up, but Hardy is no stranger to getting in shape for a role

As for a white guy playing a South American, again, that's weird. I trust Hardy to at least turn in a good performance if his Inception turn is any indication.

Blue Highwind said...

Michele Phiefer willl probably remain the best Catwoman ever, I rather doubt Anne Hathaway is going to supplant her.

As for Bane, why? Why? Why? Nobody likes Bane.

Also, what about Scarecrow? He's still around and kicking. I was hoping he'd get a bigger part after making a cameo in Dark Knight just to sell Scarecrow toys.

Jwillx70 said...

I feel compelled to point out that Nolan's films have generally kept to a pattern of three villains from the comics per film. Two Super Villains and one mobster. Ra's al Ghoul, Scarecrow, and Carmine Falcone in Begins; Joker, Two-Face, and Salvatore Maroni in Dark Knight; and now we have Catwoman, Bane, and "???" in Rises. The only two big mobsters left from the comics that I can think of are Rhupert Thorne and Tony Zuco. With Gordon finally established as the Police Commissioner, I can see Thorne appearing to cause him some major problems in regards to city politics. However, now that it looks like Nolan is embracing some of the more "gimmicky" characters of the Bat-Mythos, I don't feel like writing Zuco out of the picture just yet. Because if Zuco shows up, then Dick Grayson can't be too far behind.

Nick said...


Display Name said...

First, I'm surprised you haven't already blogged about J.J.J's absence from Spidy-Reboot.

I'm not so familiar with Bane, but I would figure that Nolan would just use steroids to replace the venom drug, much like knives replaced the joker-gas.

I could imagine the character to turn up like Little Chino from the second season of Dexter, being a hulk with an army of gangsters to back him up.

Furore said...

I think Bane is do-able... say as a steroid-packed hit-man that the mob brings in specifically to kill the Batman. He wouldn't be my first choice here.
I would have gone with the Penguin. Not freak Penguin, just a mob boss with a Roman nose and a quirk for tuxedoes. A cunning & meticulous planner/middleman stepping into a power vaccuum. And oh yeah - that old street nickname? Serious berserk button.

Mind you, I would have done most everything differently. I like those two films, a lot, but I want the proper comic-book verse.

Picture a high-class Gotham soiree, like the Wayne Towers party from TDK. Bad guys bust in, villain is monologuing, and Bruce slips away...
We see a visiting reporter from out of town adjust his tux collar nervously, and he's just about to pull off his glasses, but then he looks down - and smirks at what he sees two floors below. Still, when the tension flares he is JUST about to intervene as a goon shoots somebody...
But then, a previously unimportant waitress frisbees her tray across the room, disarming one guy as she steps up and flails her arms in front of the shooter.
One quick cut, and the sleeves of her crisp white blouse are in tatters, and the expensive mood lighting gleams off a pair of silvery bracelets.

Eric said...

I'm disappointed with the choice of Bane. I trust/hope that Nolan will do something interesting with him, but I'm still uneasy about it.

It always seemed to me that Black Mask would be a perfect capstone to the arc, being a dark reflection of Bruce Wayne and having a tie with the mob.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

Selena Kyle with out the Catwoman part should work fine enough in Nolan's Batman universe... Not sure about Anne Hathaway, but Nolan's done pretty well with the stunt casting so far.

Bane is... well, Bane. The character isn't all that interesting and would need to be really re-worked to fit in the movie anyway. Not ready to call it a bad choice, but it is an odd choice. And, yes, I am a bit put-off that he's being played a British actor instead of a Latin actor.

And, if Bane's not going to be a drugged up freak or even Latin, it makes ya wonder why they're bothering with the character at all.

Arman said...

Catwoman and Bane. Not what I expected, but interesting...very interesting.

as for your exit question

There is such thing as a white latino. I'm one of them. My father was born in Argentina. White as sour cream. There was a lot of immigration from Europe after WW2.

A Tribe Called Helloween said...

I'd like to know what exactly made the suits think that Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the Penguin would sell considerably less than this idea.

akkuma420 said...

Bane I'm interested in...
Catwoman... not so much.
I was really REALLY hoping for Harley Quinn.
If they suggested that the Joker got killed off screen or whatever... it would have been a PERFECT chance to bring her into the mix.
Joker is dead and she blames Batman.
I like Bob's idea though.
Bane breaks Batman in the beginning, Gotham realizes they need him after things go to shit, Batman handles Bane, everyone is happy.
Honestly... I think Bob may have figured out the movies plot already... lol.

alentel_lol said...

Well, that's a surprise, I honestly didn't expect Tom Hardy to be Bane. Unfortunately I've sold my soul to Christopher Nolan so doubting him is really not an option.

Also, I really thought that Hardy would play Hugo Strange, in my opinion that would have been the perfect villain but it seems that Arkham City is already going with this plot so maybe that's why Nolan hesitated, who knows...

Alexander said...

Damn, I was hoping for hugo strange. Ah well, I guess Tom Hardy can pull off Bane did any of you see him bronson? He was pretty huge in that. Those I guess the vemon steroids need to go, and maybe the luchador mask two, if he wants to stay in theme with the rest of the film. I guess we'll have to see what nolan does with it all really

Mike said...
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Mike said...

They are kind of running out of Batman Villains that they can feasibly fit in the Nolanverse Gotham. The Penguin would be a tough sell. The Clock King and Mad Hatter are a little too fantastic. Let alone Killer Croc.

I could see Bane as the elusive prey that could evade Batman for a majority of the movie. Being a long time criminal not really into the cat and mouse that others are he could be more discrete.

No matter what. Mr. Nolan has his work cut out for him. We will see if this yields fruit. I, like you, am slightly skeptical.

jameshayes said...

Okay, I've been skeptical of this movie since I saw the Dark Knight...let me give some background.

I'm in the minority opinion that Batman Begins was a superior film to TDK. I don't want to go through the list of reasons, but I have to make the point that Begins was not as grim and "real" as everybody seems to have made it out to be. TDK was the one that pushed Batman into "reality". Begins still felt, to me, like a complete part of the Batman comic-book/animated series universe. TDK was a thriller that featured Batman characters.

There are only so many Batman villains you can use without departing from "reality", and most of them have the same schtick: they're clinically insane. And they wear costumes.

It looks like this was a reasonably good choice in terms of balance, though - Catwoman is more "real", Bane is less-so....I don't have any 90s bias, so I don't mind the decision.

That being said, this movie's set up to be a disappointment. There's no way Nolan could follow his past two Batman movies with something that pleases everyone - hell, if he makes a movie at the exact same level as the Dark Knight, it won't be received as well because it wouldn't have the same cultural impact.

David said...

In all the Nolan Batman films they've had two villains, and one is always more important than the other (not so clear in the first, more clear in the second) I think Bane will be a Two-Face to Catwoman's Joker. After all, she is more interesting than Bane, and Anne Hathaway....WOW! This is gonna be cool.

Smashmatt202 said...

Catwoman and Bane?!


I hope they go with the version of Bane that's an intelligent assassin that can turn himself into a big hulking brute. That would be awesome!

David said...

Perhaps Nolan is showing a gradual shift to costumed criminals. So in each movie Gotham takes another step towards crazy villains. So its an evolutionary thing rather than an overnight event.

As for catwoman I think its pretty simple. She's a catburglar, she dresses in black and wears a mask. Why not get in on the theatricality and put on some cat ears?

And based on Bob's description of bane he could be a dark(er) parallel for Bruce Wayne. He could be another costumed vigilante except he kills criminals instead setting up an ideological conflict with Batman which could become the theme of the movie.

Still, I hope someday they cast Steve Martin to play King Tut!

Bryce said...

Bane a bad character?

Someone hasn't been reading Secret Six

Dave Kraft said...

Okay, everyone needs to calm down because not all the villains have been cast yet.

Selina Kyle = Love interest/thief/misguided vigilante

Bane = Hired Muscle/Side Villain

For those of you who haven't been keeping up on the casting news, there are supposed to be TWO femme fatales in the film, and the other has not yet been cast (that we know of, at least) or disclosed.

Casting seems to be eyeing blondes for the final role, based on reports and photos from prior to the Catwoman casting news. That may just be my conjecture but if you look at the groupings of women in the photos (blondes and brunettes) I would say it's not beyond a reasonable doubt.

As I said before..... Dr. Harleen Quinzell.

Yeah, yeah, fans bitch about this because they have a preconception of the character from the cartoons and comics, and find it impossible to consider a Nolan-ized, radical reinvention of the character.

But think about for a second: Bane's big "power" is the use of Venom, which is more-or-less an anabolic steroid. Quinzell is a psychiatrist, and has the ability to write drug prescriptions.

Perhaps she's his.... supplier? And/or maybe uses him as a tool in an attempt to further the Joker's agenda from the last film?

Remember, the script of "Rises" is adapted as much as possible from the one they were working on from before Heath died.

Not stating anything declarative, just things to consider.

But know this: Bane is not the main villain, as prior reports disclosed it would be a woman. He is a side character.

And - unless Nolan is going with the Burton version of Catwoman (which seems highly unlikely, given his creative vision) - Catwoman can't exactly be lumped into the "villain" category for the sake of a "main" villain to carry an entire film.

Ezenwa said...

The casting choices aren't so bad, in my view. I'm sure Tom Hardy can manage something. The best English actors are able to switch their accents away. So, maybe he knows something we don't. As for Anne Hathaway, this is a definite switch from her other acting roles, so maybe this could be good. She would have been a great Rachel Dawes, but would you want to see her die?

And, I'll go on record in saying, that I'm as interested in seeing this movie, as I am intrigued in seeing Spider Man's reboot. They may be onto something, what with the web shooters. As a long-time Spidey fan, I have to credit them for that.

kaptiancrypto said...

If I had to write a batman movie Chris Nolan Style with Bane and Catwoman, here is how I would do it:

Bane is the head of some rival corporation trying to get a piece of the Gotham pie, like batman he was born into wealth and he is into vigilantism only he takes it further than batman (human body modification...etc). He combines this with trickle-down capitalistic views that the deregulation of human enhancement and "gun-control" and the privatization of crime fighting are the best solution to Gotham's problems.

Catwoman is the antithesis of this. She's anti-establishment, believes corporations are evil, and motivated specifically against any privatization of policing to the point of being anarchistic. She is of poor origins, thinks the American Dream is a farce and has a special chip on her should for people like Bane and Bruce.

Batman's views then fall in between these two extremes and he has to stop them from destroying each other/the city.

I know it's a stretch for Bane especially, but I feel Nolan at this point feels he can do whatever he feels best, and I think the "topical" part of it may be to Hollywood's liking.

Chaos Drive said...

@ kaptiancrypto

I really think these sort of themes are going to be a part of the movie at the very least.

munchie64 said...

Need I remind everyone how people felt about the villain casting announcement for the last film, and how that turned out...

Stefan Sasse said...

@Mike: The Penguin wouldn't be a tough sell at all. You just have to interpret the figure as an economy criminal, like the Enron guys in extra-large. This would make perfect sense: Batman is hunted and has to rely on his Bruce Wayne Persona all the more, and we haven't had a challenge on this level yet. So, the Penguin could attack Wayne Enterprises, while Wayne himself is distracted by Catwoman and the need of hiding. That would have been the plot I had done for the movie, but I am very interested to see what Bane'll do. Some havoc that rises the cry for Batman again seems the likely choice, after an exposition of the movie where we some Batman-hatred.

jameshayes said...

Hey Bob - you may have already seen this, but:

Hugh said...

if they are going to use a bullshit "realistic but not so realistic" story (admit it, they did it with Scarecrow), I wish they had just gone with Clayface or Mr. Freeze. At least those characters are interesting to some degree.

Novice said...

I really liked the "mob boss illegitimate daughter steals her way into society to get revenge on Daddy" story of Catwoman.