*Warning: The following post contains heavy spoilers for the Dark Knight Rises. If you have not seen that film; get to the theater the fastest way possible and watch it. Then come back and read this if you like. I would appreciate if you did both.*
I loved The Dark Knight Rises. I wanted to do a review, but figured it was sort of pointless. Especially now that if you haven't seen the movie you probably won't. One of the things I loved most was Bane. Tom Hardy was terrific. His voice fit the character perfectly, and he was intimidating as hell. There were several scenes where I was speechless afterward. He was absolutely nothing like the comic Bane, but the Nolan Batman films were hardly close to the comics. He was Nolan's creation; comic Bane in name only.
I recently ran into a friend of mine in a bookstore(mostly because I hate hipsters, and I was going to go glare at them) and asked him what he thought of the movie. He didn't like it. As of now the only people I know who didn't love that film are him and that critic who got all the death threats on Rotten Tomatoes. One of the reasons he said he did not like the film was Bane. What? I asked. Bane was one of my favorite parts. The specific reason, he claimed, was that Bane really didn't do anything except beat people up. He said everything else was actually Talia. I thought about this, and agreed to a point. His statement actually got me to realize what Bane essentially was; a mask.
What is one of the common themes Of Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy? That Bruce Wayne is actually Batman's mask. That when Bruce Wayne created Batman; he himself ceased to exist. There was now only Batman. Batman then created the mask of the fictionalized Bruce Wayne,(the playboy womanizer type that Gotham believed him to always be.) and used that as a mask to hide who he now was; The Batman. The same is true for Bane and Talia. Though the situation with them is a bit more diabolical.
Okay, we know the story from the film. Talia was the daughter of Ras al Ghul(Liam Neeson from Batman Begins.)and the daughter of a warlord. Her mother was banished to a secret prison while she was pregnant with her. After she gave birth her mother died, and Talia was taken under the protection of Bane who helped her escape. Bane was attacked during her escape and permanently wounded, but was rescued from the prison by Talia and Ras later. Talia and Bane later try to recreate her father's vision during the events of The Dark Knight Rises.
One of the major complaints I heard was that we never learn much about Bane. Well, yeah. That's the point. We learn just enough to know how he met Talia. That's all we should know. Revealing more would ruin the character. Bane even says in the movie that he was nobody before he wore the mask. Nobody cared who he was. It's what separates Batman from any other vigilante. Bane himself is a mask of Talia's. One of two obviously; the other being Miranda Tate. Talia could not have been the poster child for Bane's group. An incredibly muscular masked man is a better leader for an anarchist group than a beautiful woman. Obviously Talia was the mastermind giving Bane all the order's. This relationship is almost abusive in a way, because of the vibe we get from Bane towards Talia. He seems ready to do anything she says even if it risks his own life. He follows her implicitly.You see this in the last and only moment between Bane and Talia where the compassion in Bane's eyes is almost heartbreaking. Like a loyal dog who somehow knows this is the last time it will see it's master. Bane is not afraid; he is only afraid of failing Talia. Bane lacks this fear of death. He is able to ignore it and be unafraid. This allows his followers to be inspired by him, and possibly die in say a plane crash if it serves his cause.
This is why, like Bruce Wayne is Batman's mask, Bane is Talia's mask. He may be physically causing the conflict, but she is pulling the strings and making the decision. I guess a puppet/puppeteer analogy would be more accurate, but I like the mask metaphor. Also, it parallels Batman. Especially how most Batman antagonists mirror him. Most dealing with insanity, and he himself being a guy who dresses a bat and fights crime. They all reflect him in some way. Especially in the Nolan movies.
This analogy is also how I see Bane's conclusion in the film. Most people thought it was a little abrupt. Bane just getting blasted by Bat-cycle(or whatever it's called.). Well think about it. Let's just say I'm right,(hold on, I think hell just dropped a few degrees.) and Bane is supposed to be Talia's mask. Well, just a few minutes before she took off her mask; revealing herself as the child of Ras al Ghul. What good is a mask when your cover is blown? Also, we learned that Bane was a real person. We got to see such raw humanity in those amazing eyes of Hardy's. Bane loved something. He wasn't the monster we assumed him to be. Not completely. So the mask no longer had the same effect.
Or, at least that's how I like to look at it. It probably was that they had to speed things up for the climax. Nevertheless Bane and Talia were great characters in a great movie, which was a conclusion to a great trilogy. I really wanted to write about this. I would love to know what you think.