“The Dark Knight Rises,” now in seventh place on the all time box office charts with a global gross of over a billion dollars, would have not been as successful if not for the audacity of Batman’s antagonist. Already Bane is one of the great antiheroes in the history of film, hijacking social media conversations throughout the summer. Joel Schumacher almost singlehandedly ruined Bane with his campy, banal interpretation of the thoroughly intriguing DC supervillain. Chris Nolan’s Bane, however, the dark knight nemesis in this summer’s blockbuster, all but stole the movie away from Batman with his commitment to the cause of pure, unmitigated evil.
Bane is the ultimate anti-hero. The comparisons to Darth Vader are not wholly without merit — both wear respirators, both men are deliciously evil. And like Vader, Bane – and Bane-isms on social media – has taken on a life of his own. But there are so many questions about Bane left unanswered at the end of “The Dark Knight Rises.” We need to go back, “Memento”-style, to fully understand Bane, a villain that is quite frankly worth fully understanding. Here are five reasons why we need a Bane movie for some closure.
What about Bane’s backstory? Bane was created in the early 90s, the son of a revolutionary who was sentenced to some Caribbean prison from birth as punishment for his father’s crimes against the dictatorship. Chris Nolan and David Goyer’s Bane, however, is slightly different than the comic book character.
Bane’s origin in the film, unfortunately, was left on the cutting room floor. Although Bane’s origin is alluded to by way of Talia al Ghul’s in Dark Knights Rises, a Bane movie would offer a more fully fleshed out portrait of this fascinating and mysterious monster. When Dark Knight Rises begins, Bane is already an established world-class mercenary inspiring fear and an intense loyalty among his men. How did he come to achieve so much respect from such battle-hardened men? That, future Untitled-Bane-Project director, would be a story worth telling.
Is Bane animated by political ideals? Clearly Bane played a part in some dodgy wars overseas. This was part of his seasoning; this was probably how he gained his army and his reputation. But in which theaters of war was Bane a player? And how did he distinguish himself? Philosophically, Bane appears – at face value at least — to share much in common with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Is this simply demagoguery on his part? Does Bane use Occupy vocabulary merely to manipulate the crowd? Or is Bane actually anti-capitalist; opposed to not just Bruce Wayne, but all that the billionaire represents as a man. And if Bane is indeed an enemy of democratic capitalism, how did he get to be so? Rotting in a Third World prison might, perhaps, have something to do with that. Backstory, please.
The League of Shadows
What is Bane’s stake in the League of Shadows? How did Bane actually acquire that fighting style? Of that fighting style, Tom Hardy told Empire magazine:
“It is brutal and military. It’s more military in many ways. MMA [Mixed Martial Arts] is very athletic. It’s an athlete’s sport. And you’ve got your Krav Maga and whatnot from Bourne, the Bourne world. Very tight movement, very contained but aimed to kill. To kill, do you know what I mean? And maim. Then you’ve got the Keysi lot that Batman does I suppose, which is a lot of elbow business. But Bane is brutal. It’s not about fighting. It’s about just carnage with Bane …Bane’s a superhero villain. So that’s what the violence is there to imply, and the style is heavy handed, heavy footed.”
He was also trained as an assassin. Bane told Batman that he was initiated into the League of Shadows. Bane, in his first confrontation with the Bat, hinted that his mission in Gotham was also partly fuelled by that their mutual association with that organization. It is a personal grudge. But Bane’s actual relationship with the League – and Ra’s al-Ghul – remains, even after the closing credits, murky.
“Calm down, Doctor! Now’s not the time for fear. That comes later.” Bane, quite frankly, is one of the greatest motivational speakers since Tony Robbins, only more terrifying by a factor of ten. “You think darkness is your ally – but I was born in it!” His Baneisms, recited with much gusto, had me – and many of my friends – quoting him, admiringly, for days afterwards. I am not alone. Twitter, in the weeks following the film, was filled with Bane motivational quotes. If only for more crisply delivered one liners of pure evil, we need a Bane movie. Make this happen now.
Bane and Gotham
How did Bane, quite literally, conquer Gotham’s underworld? In “The Dark Knight Rises,” we are introduced to Bane by way of his use of orphans – shades of child soldiers? — in the sewers of Gotham. Bane’s use of children sets a cynical, almost Dickensian tone. But how did he build his small army? How did Bane get away with essentially stealing the city’s orphans from under the eye of the Gotham City Police Department for his own workforce? Did Bane have competition? Gotham – at least in the comics – has a very competitive and ruthless underworld. It is hard to imagine that Bane did not face some conflict. How did Bane become king of the sewers, lord of the night?
Talia and Bane
Finally: Bane and Talia. They have a strange, complex relationship. Even more interesting and layered than Bruce and Selina Kyle or Bruce and Talia are Bane and Talia. The loving and familiar manner in which Talia al-Ghul, for example, fixes Bane’s broken respirator at the end of the movie can only be properly construed as some kind of tenderness. Such tenderness, when exhibited by hyper-violent and thoroughly ruthless individuals motivated by revenge, vexes. What does love between evil people look like? It looks, dear reader, like a Bane movie.