Friday, 11 April 2014

Bane's Chiropractice: The Finest Back-Breaker In Arkham

Bane is one of Batman's most deadly and dangerous foes, a fact that is considerable when you consider that he's only been around for the past 20 years and, as such, is a relative newcomer to Batman's rogue's gallery.

For some context, the Joker has been spraying acid from a gag flower in Batman's face for over 70 years because that joke never gets old.
  Sometimes he'd mix it up and spray his junk at Robin for variety's sake.
That said, this is very close to a 'smell my finger' joke. Some men do want to watch the world burn... in bad jokes.

But Bane is not the unintelligent beefed-up drug addict which that indisputable documentary from my youth, Batman & Robin, had me believe. Rather than being a muscle-bound goon who is no better than a glorified bouncer with a cool lucha libre mask, Bane is one of the most intelligent and cunning villains Batman has ever faced.

Bane approached his initial confrontation with Batman like a master military strategist planning a battle, accounting for ever contingency, analysing his opponent's strengths and weaknesses, as well as his own, in order to best defeat him.
And while he is not opposed to performance-enhancing drugs, his strategy was not TAKE ALL THE STEROIDS!

Knowing that taking Batman head on would not be the smartest idea, Bane instead decides to break out all of Batman's  high-profile baddies from Arkham Asylum such as the Joker, Poison Ivy, the Scarecrow, Mad Hatter, and of course, Firefly.
"You can't take the sky away from me... if you all die in the blaze."

But Bane doesn't release these villains so he can hold a sweet super-evil party where the Human Firefly provides the strobe lights,
No comment is necessary.
Although, that is only because, due to federal law, there can only be one Firefly in Gotham City at any given point in time. Rather he breaks out some of Batman's most formidable enemies in order to wear him out. Batman takes three months to round up all the bad guys Bane broke out of prison, each one taking more and more of a toll on him, mentally and physically. Like the Scarecrow's fear gas making him relive Jason Todd's death which Batman felt was his greatest failure, far worse than that time he got a D+ on his Bat-exam.

Therefore, he is utterly exhausted and shattered when Bane finally confronts him. To recap, Bane waited three months before he actually fought Batman, something he had been planning for months in advance before that. And you can't even wait until the next episode of Game of Thrones comes out next week.
Will the gang ever get home?

After all that planning and waiting, Bane finally fights Batman. At Wayne Manor. Because he figured out that Batman was Bruce Wayne. You know, like you do. If you are a super intelligent master tactician and not the juiced up meat-head everyone mistakenly assumes you are because you have really big muscles and wear a Mexican wrestler mask, that is.

He then proceeds to beat up Batman like it ain't no thing and breaks his back. You might have seen it, it went something like this:
"Did that fix the kink in your neck?"
Not done yet, Bane takes Batman, broken and still Batsuited, to a Gotham City and throws him on a rooftop declaring,
 He beat Batman, the rules of Gotham are quite clear- if you beat Batman in hand-to-hand combat, Gotham City is yours.
Along with thirteen buxom virgins of your choosing.

Bane is the only one of Batman's enemies to have 'broken the Bat', as the Bat-saying goes. Not because he was necessarily stronger than any other of his other costumed villains but because he was smarter and planned better.

He knew that he had to break down Batman mentally before he could ever confront him physically. Yes, of course he did eventually get beaten and Batman's back did heal in record time but still. He broke the Bat!
You break it, you keep it.

But Bane is a great villain because he also teaches kids a valuable lesson. Just like the Joker teaches us all to fear and mistrust clowns, and the Riddler teaches children being a smart-ass who likes riddles will get their ass whooped, Bane teaches a simple truth: Don't judge a book by its cover.
Unless that cover warns you about spiders. Then judge away.

Bane is a genius in a wrestler's body. His great intellect is masked by his imposing physique. And his wrestler mask. That literally masks how smart he is.

And this is something that Tom Hardy's performance of Bane in The Dark Knight Rises got totally right, the juxtaposition of Bane's intellect (shown through his eloquent manner of speaking) and his physically dominating bulk.
The addition of a Darth Vader breathing-apparatus didn't hurt either.

Hardy's Bane is furthermore a revolutionary, spouting off sentences that could be mistaken for Che Guevara t-shirt slogans in a vaguely exotic accent with heavy Vader-breathing that adds a sense of decorum to his psuedo-philosophical musings. All while he stands around mostly shirtless while his muscles glisten in the winter sun. And of course, this revolutionary talk is a just smokescreen to hide his main goal, which is to mentally torture Batman before he dies.
When Gotham is ashes, then you have my permission to die... and no, you can't TiVo it.

And he does all this because he loves Talia al Ghul and making Batman suffer and destroying Gotham makes Talia happy. Bane is not only a mastermind and viscous criminal, he is also a tender lover, further illustrating the fundamental lesson his character teaches.
The look in his eyes say it all. He just wants a kiss, the loveable oaf.

Essentially, Bane is more than the brute his hulking frame would suggest, and more than the genius his strategical take-down of Batman proves. He is human and wants to loved. Just like everyone else does.


Bane (comics) Wikipedia

Bane in other media Wikipedia

Batman: Knightfall Wikipedia

Gotham Alleys

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