We are looking forward with heady anticipation to the final chapter in the Christopher Nolan Batman series. Christopher gets high marks from us. He simply doesn’t make trash. Tackling Batman not once or twice but three times is a feat. Batman Begins was fantastic and The Dark Knight is legend, so audiences are going to expect Christopher to blow our minds with the last film. After the incredible performance by Heath Ledger, however, we were thinking that no villain could match the intensity of the Joker character. After all, of every criminal (or psycho) Batman takes on, the Joker is most definitely his greatest nemesis. Whereas Batman is the pillar of order and justice, the Joker is random and cruel. Ledger’s lines at the end of the Dark Knight summed up the relationship perfectly: “You truly are incorruptible, aren’t you? You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness… and I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun! I think you and I are destined to do this forever.”
In Christopher Nolan’s version of The Batman, Ra’s al Ghul is the first one to take a poke at our hero. Ra’s is a character with serious chops. A touch of mysticism. Intelligence. Ruthlessness. The same vision of an orderly world as The Batman but with a completely different value system. In the second film, the Joker stepped up to the plate and exploded. Game over, right? What could possibly be the final villain in the trilogy? The Penguin? This isn’t your campy Batman anymore, so, no. The Riddler. Really? A dainty man that robs banks and tries to outwit a hero that could destroy his face with one punch. Nope. Already did Scarecrow. Poison Ivy just means sexual tension and no action sequences. Mr. Freeze? We shudder to think about that possibility after his character was destroyed by the Adulterator. Two-Face? Done. Catwoman? See Poison Ivy. Harley Quinn? Great opportunity to build on the psycho theme but with the Joker gone, she’s paper-thin. Killer Croc, Clayface, Solomon Grundy? No, this is a feature film and Batman would dispatch any of these 15 minutes into the movie and we would want our money back. Hugo Strange or Black Mask? Could be, but not the major characters you use in a swan song. We suppose that leaves Bane or some other new character. It appears we are going to be seeing Bane.
We’re not a big fan of Bane, mostly because DC threw him out as a gimmick (and didn’t really bother hiding that fact) in Knightfall. Bane’s a big bruiser. Smart we’re sure, but a physical villain mostly. Where there was an interesting mystical back story for Ras al-Ghul and a boatload of thrills and chills from the Jester of Arkham, Bane strikes us as a much lesser foe. Nonetheless, Christopher Nolan has taken up the challenge. It doesn’t hurt that Tom Hardy has been cast. If you haven’t seen Bronson or Warrior, do so. He’s a bit short for the role of Bane, but there’s no question he has the mass. Hardy is a talented actor and is up to the physical challenges of the role. If Nolan focuses primarily on the original theme of having Bane destroy Batman’s will as well as his body, this film could go places.
So, here’s to you Christopher Nolan. We’re anxious to see how you close your book on The Batman. And if you’re reading this, please send us IMAX tickets for the premiere. It’s the least you can do after we wrote such a sycophantic review.