Monday, 31 January 2011

Hathaway, Hardy announced as Catwoman, Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises"

So the announcement arrived the other week that the villains in the third and final installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy The Dark Knight Rises will be Catwoman and Bane, played by Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy respectively. The reaction so far across the internet and elsewhere has been mixed, mainly towards Catwoman and Hathaway playing her. Many seem disappointed that Nolan has chosen to go with a well-known nemesis of Batman who has been portrayed more than once on screen already.

My initial reaction is one of positivity, and is in fact similar to when I first found out Heath Ledger would be playing The Joker in The Dark Knight. The choice of The Joker was criticised before that film was released with many questioning how Jack Nicholson's portrayal in the 1989 Burton film could be bettered. Then the casting of Ledger was equally scrutinised as doubts were cast on his ability to do the character justice. And then The Dark Knight was released and, at the risk of sounding cliché, the rest is history. Essentially, I trusted Nolan then and I trust him even more now.

Whilst Hathaway is more known for "lighter" roles in films such as Bride Wars and The Princess Diaries, she has also ventured into more challenging and quirky roles (her turn as The White Queen in Burton's Alice In Wonderland springs to mind in relation to those two adjectives in particular). Whilst she may still be proving herself to me and others, I believe Hathaway has the presence of screen and the versatility for the role. And not to hammer home the point too firmly, but similar things were said of Ledger when he was first announced as Nolan's Joker. Ledger was still proving himself; his most well-known performances prior to The Dark Knight, in films such as Brokeback Mountain and A Knight's Tale, hardly point towards his cerebral and dark turn.

In terms of Nolan's choice of villain being too mainstream, obvious or overdone, simply look at the critical acclaim that was heaped upon Nolan and Ledger for their reconstruction of Batman's most infamous foe following The Dark Knight's release and any fears should be quelled.

Anyway, I'm more excited about the other side of this story which currently seems to be being overshadowed by Hathaway's casting. I haven't seen Bronson, the film which gained Hardy notoriety, but he impressed me greatly in Inception and he must have caught the director's eye for Nolan to cast him in two films in succession. The only other actor who currently holds that honour is Batman himself, Christian Bale, in The Prestige and Batman Begins. The character of Bane also sounds like a fascinating choice allowing Nolan a great deal of scope and interpretation within his version of Gotham, as well as bringing some juicy potential character arcs for both himself and Batman to the closing installment. One thing I think can be seen as a certainty is that Nolan's Bane will be an innumerable amount of times more palatable than Joel Schumacher's abomination in 1997's Batman & Robin.

If the last two Batman films have shown us anything, it's that the Dark Knight and the world he inhabits are in some of the most capable hands in cinema in Nolan. He has my confidence in his decisions and will find me eagerly awaiting the next tidbits of information on The Dark Knight Rises whenever they should appear.

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