C'mon Hollywood #218
...Batman 3 needs Bane!
by J.A. Hamilton
Ledger’s Joker (unlike most villains) didn’t die, which Nolan later explained was because he still had a role to play in the third film. I don’t think it was a major role, though I’d say it was somewhat more significant than Scarecrow’s cameo in DK. Maybe he’ll get brought back via CGI, or maybe they’ll scrap the Joker all together (as I doubt very much they’d recast him). Here’s where Nolan needs to take a good look at what DIDN’T work in the past. We’ve been hearing rumors of Catwoman, Penguin and Riddler, which quite frankly makes me want to shoot myself. Nolan has created a “real world” Batman and he’ll need to follow this recipe if he plans to cook up another masterpiece. Using more “human” type villains (as opposed to monstrous or supernatural) is also key. I like the use of the mob as a foundation or backdrop of the Gotham underworld, and since Joker and Two-Face wiped out most of the mob’s key players, what better way to introduce Bane into the mix (as in the comics, Bane overthrows the mob first anyway).
Bane was born to serve the life sentence of his father in Pena Duro prison. Years later, after becoming “King” of the prison, he was forced into becoming a test subject for an experimental drug called Venom. He gets dependant on the drug’s physically enhancing qualities and as a result must take a dose every twelve hours, hence the tube system going from his back straight to his brain. Bane escapes prison and heads for Gotham, having heard of Batman’s reign of fear. Knowing he could never defeat Batman on his own, Bane breaks into Arkham Asylem freeing a pile of Batman’s worst enemies. Bane then watches Batman from the shadows, using these villains to weaken his prey both mentally and physically. Having figured out Batman’s true identity, Bane decides to strike at him where’s he’s most vulnerable, Wayne Manor. In a brutal battle, Bane breaks Batman’s back, forcing him to temporarily pass his mantle to his understudy Jean-Paul Valley (who calls himself Azrael) while he designs a new suit to sustain his injury. But when Azrael becomes excessively violent (and then decides he doesn’t want to relinquish his title), Bruce must face him as well.
Now again, as far as villains are concerned, here’s where Nolan needs to be careful. I chose Bane from Batman’s long list of enemies because many of them wouldn’t transcend well into film. If earlier Batman films have taught us anything, it’s that choosing the wrong villains (and then presenting them in an even poorer fashion) can destroy a movie quicker than Uwe Boll! What we need is something fresh, a relentless kind of evil that will instill fear and get under our skin like the Scarecrow did. Bane is an intelligent, cunning and relentless mofo who would shake things up just as hard as the Joker did. This is one of the better ways for Nolan to leave this franchise (that is, of course, if he and Bale choose to). And if they wanna come back, well, there’s more than a few ways to leave it open. KNIGHTFALL was so abundant in detail that they could shape a trilogy out of that storyline alone, but even if they keep it to one film, it would damn sure be Batman’s greatest challenge (and arguably most entertaining) to date. Oh, and for GOD SAKE, keep Robin out of this!
Bale’s the best Batman thus far, and these last two films have re-invigorated a comic book hero who some thought was ruined forever. I have no doubt Nolan will finish his trilogy. And after first watching BATMAN BEGINS, I got the impression Nolan already looked into the KNIGHTFALL series, as like in the book, Bruce travels to the snow capped mountains seeking wisdom and training (though not from Ras Al Ghul), which was one of my favorite aspects of BEGINS. Making Bane the backbone of the story also brings about a second villain in Azrael, and their plot is so well layered that I think it would knock this installment out of the park! The number three has been unlucky in comic book films lately (SPIDEY 3, X-MEN 3, BLADE 3), but there’s no reason for this trend to continue. The film will be great either way, but as a die hard fan, I’m praying they use the KNIGHTFALL story arc. It would be the perfect way to raise the bar even higher than DK did.