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?