Superhero Movies, Part 1: The Dark Knight Rises

Last weekend I happened to stumble upon the incredibly uninspired Avengers cartoon.  Seeing the Hulk in action made me want to watch the Incredible movie version again.  I didn't have the chance to watch it at the time, but the simple thought seemed to trigger a thematic movement in my reality.

A few days later, the news broke that Anne Hathaway had been cast as Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final Christopher Nolan Batman movie.  The same news also revealed who Tom Hardy would play: Batman villain Bane.

Not coincidentally, I'm sure, TNT showed the second Batman movie this evening.  TNT is really good at playing movies that kind of force you to watch them, even if you already own the movie on DVD.

Between the Batman movie news, TNT, and my desire to watch the Incredible Hulk again, I have found myself on a superhero movie kick.  It's good timing, too, given how many of these movies are going to be released this year.

The Dark Knight Rises casting story caused quite a stir, although I think more for those who don't read comic books than for those who do.  Want proof?  The phrase "Batman Bane" was one of the most searched on Yahoo last week, because only people who read Batman comics actually know who Bane is.

Those of us who do read comic books talked about how odd the choice seemed, given the library of much more popular Batman villains.  Bane, however, has advantage of being a character who easily translates to film.  He also doesn't have much of a fan following or any pop culture recognition, so he's ultimately a blank slate for Nolan.  There's also nothing particularly campy or over the top about him, or at least such a portrayal can be easily avoided.

I do wonder how much Nolan will delved into the drugs that give Bane his superhuman strength, or if that will even be a part of the movie.  Simply giving Bane such abilities begins to take the movie away from its strengths, and it wouldn't surprise me to see Nolan drop it all together, or at least make Bane's usage of the drug (known as "Venom" in the comics) less frequent.

It will also be interesting to see if we'll get a brief appearance by Hugo Strange, who had a hand in creating Bane.

As for Selina Kyle, I had something of an epiphany about her character earlier this evening.  One of the things that most people have pointed out as being curious is the fact that the press release announcing Anne Hathaway's casting referred to her character as "Selina Kyle."  It didn't say anything about Catwoman.

That's kind of strange, given that Catwoman is a household name and not many people know the name Selina Kyle.  If they're going to name Bane, why wouldn't they name Catwoman?

My theory is that Selina Kyle will never be called Catwoman in the movie or, if she is, it's just as a joke.  She'll still retain all the elements of the character: she's a cat burglar, she's a love interest to Batman -- I would guess she'll probably even love cats.  But I don't think she'll ever use the name or ever wear any kind of costume.

Which makes sense.  Nolan would want to keep this movie as realistic as possible and costumes have been off limits so far for anyone other than Batman.  I wouldn't expect Bane to wear anything resembling a costume, either.

I have high hopes for The Dark Knight Rises, despite the title.

Now, Green Lantern, on the other hand...