Okay, right off the bat (no pun intended) that seems like a misleading title. New villains are not actually being added to the Batman canon (or they might be, I don’t know, I don’t read comics). The villains I came here to discuss are actually old Batman villains. They are Catwoman and Bane, and they are the foes Batman will be squaring off against in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.
Or are they? Well, yes, in the case of Bane, absolutely. What I’ve been wondering, though, is how Nolan will handle the Catwoman storyline. First off, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. I like Anne Hathaway, I think she’s a fine actress, I loved Rachel Getting Married; I just don’t know if I can picture her bounding across rooftops clad in spandex (well… I could). Maybe it’s because I’ve got Michelle Pfeiffer stuck in my head.
And maybe that’s the problem. As far as live-action depictions of the character go, all I’ve got to work with is Michelle Pfeiffer over-playing the sex-kitten aspect and a fringe familiarity with Eartha Kitt’s less-than-purrrr-fect portrayal (I never saw Catwoman with Halle Berry… nor do I plan to). Excising that, and bringing into focus the fact that Nolan is striving for a sense of realism with the franchise, maybe I can get on board with Hathaway. She seems comfortable enough in her own skin to pull off the flirtacious confidence that marks the character, and, as demonstrated in Rachel Getting Married, she does have dark depths to plumb (Catwoman is technically a bad guy after all).
Although that brings me to my second point: Catwoman is only technically a bad guy. Sure, in the Adam West version, Catwoman was just a straight villain, but that wasn’t a show for psychological nuance. The far more interesting depictions of Catwoman have her as more of an anti-hero (much like the Dark Knight, himself). In the special features for Batman: The Animated Series, someone (I forget who [I know, I'm terrible]) boils it down to there being a fine line between good and bad; Batman stands just on the good side, Catwoman stands just on the bad side.
This is what makes the character interesting. It’s also why it makes sense to have her in the same film as Bane. Now again, as a non-comics reader, my familiarity with Bane extends to Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin and probably an episode of B:TAS that I haven’t seen since I was a kid (I am in the process of rewatching the series, but I haven’t gotten to Bane’s episode). But from what I understand (and I could be wrong), Bane is a roided-out freak who really only has designs on death and destruction (seriously though, correct me if I’m wrong).
Here’s where I gush over the casting: Tom Hardy as Bane intrigues the living heck out of me (stronger language than that is actually required to properly convey how exciting this is, but you get the idea). Hardy was probably the best part of Inception (and I loved essentially everything about Inception), so having him portray Bane suggests both ample amounts of grit to the storyline, and a far more interesting take on the character than my limited familiarity would suggest. Needless to say, I’m excited.
Now for some mild dissappointments. I am one of the legion of people who thought a gritty, Zodiac-style take on The Riddler would have been the cat’s pajamas (yeah, I said it), and the rumored casting of Joseph Gordon-Levitt did nothing to dissuade me from those feelings. For obvious reasons, The Joker will not return, although I don’t necessarily know that I would want him to. I mean, why reduce such a brilliant performance down to a cameo? However, since he won’t return, that also means we will never get to see Harley Quinn in the film. I highly doubt Nolan would have even gone that route in the first place, but wouldn’t you just love to see his take on the character? Especially given how extra-crazy she’d have to be to fall for Heath Ledger’s Joker?
Posted under Kyle's Adventures in Pop Culture
This post was written by Kyle on January 25, 2011