FILM NEWS: Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy join The Dark Knight Rises as Catwoman and Bane respectively
January 19, 2011 1 Comment
This is not yet another wooping praise of Christopher Nolan’s casting decisions for his trilogy-ending Bat-film, The Dark Knight Rises, the man has always had a very good eye for actresses and actors; I am the first to admit that Liam Neeson can be incredibly good, as can Heath Ledger and Cillian Murphy. Similarly, I am a huge fan of Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy, finding Love and Other Drugs and Inception incredibly enjoyable. However, I have found that while Nolan peppers his film’s with substantial talent, he sets about wasting his actors with relentless abandon.
I am not a fan of Batman Begins or The Dark Knight, I like my superheroes super and my superhero movies brimming with awesome fun. I find Nolan’s forays into the genre incredibly dull and tiresome, his clunking excuses for humour and blinding pursuit of realism a subversion too far for a once-passable character in the hands of Tim Burton. I love Hellboy‘s irreverent sarcasm, Spider-man‘s witty asides and the sheer likeability of Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass; but while each movie has its respective dark moments, they find the time between frowns to remind you why the character was so popular in the first place.
To date, Christopher Nolan has created a growly Batman who wouldn’t know a smile if it lumbered him with Bat-nipples, a Scarecrow who is repetitively mugged of his deserved place in the limelight and a complete dud of a Ra’s al Ghul. Sure, Heath Ledger was impressively psycho but having defeated a swarm of ninjas and saved Gotham from a certifiable biohazard, it was a bt of a step down to watch Christian Bale struggle to defeat one man and his cumbersome neurosis. It took guts to kill off the film’s (distractingly re-cast) heroine before movie’s end, but she was such a faceless character that the sacrifice failed to make any impact whatsoever – particularly in light of the truly moving death of Hit Girl’s Big Daddy half way through Kick-Ass. I choked up.
However, there is yet hope. While I still maintain that Batman Returns is the greatest Batman movie ever made – largely down to Michelle Pfeiffer’s delightfully sassy Catwoman – this new casting news at least shows that the character is in good hands. Finally, a super-villain who threatens to get past Bale’s irritating growl and evoke some semblance of emotion from his boringly stoic Batman. Similarly, Hardy was easily the best thing in Inception, his banterous Brit giving the audience at least one character to care about amid a wardrobe of identi-kit suits. He hardly has much to live up to (Bane’s last appearance on screen was in the much maligned Batman and Robin) but threatens to give the character the live-action treatment he probably deserves.
While I’m still far from excited about this sequel to 2008’s “Best Superhero Movie Of All Time” (puh-lease!), I live in hope of a Christopher Nolan directed Batman movie which isn’t a chore to watch. Sure, they are technical achievements on many levels, but they lack any beating heart or entertainment value. Maybe the character did need a reboot after George Clooney hammed him up good-and-proper, but I have yet to be convinced that what he needed was a fun-ectomy. Having settled on a feline-empowered thief and a superpowered hulk, however, perhaps this time Batman and his ridiculous costume won’t look so out of place in their own movie.