5 Fun Facts About Bane: Get to Know Your Other New Batman Villain
As you are probably aware, Anne Hathaway was cast as Selina Kyle earlier this week in Christopher Nolan's new Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. Slightly buried in that news was the announcement that Tom Hardy will be playing the character Bane. Which -- for non-hardcore Batman fans -- led to a collective, "Tom Hardy? That's cool, but who the eff is Bane?" So, for those not in the know -- and for those who did themselves a great service and never watched 1997's Batman & Robin -- let's take a look a five things that you probably don't know about the other new Batman villain, Bane.
Bane's Depiction in Batman & Robin was Complete Rubbish
OK, granted, this whole film is rubbish (yes, this is a movie that cast Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl), but it's a shame that a character as interesting as Bane was so completely mishandled. In this awful, awful version, a fairly pedestrian criminal is forced to serve as a guinea pig for an experimental drug called Venom. The drug transforms him into a Bane that has no intelligence whatsoever, and basically just follows the commands of Uma Thurman's Poison Ivy. Robert "Jeep" Swenson (a former professional wrestler), played Bane in the film, and unfortunately died of heart failure two months after its release. (According to Wikipedia, Hulk Hogan and James Caan gave the eulogies. Now that's a couple of eulogies that I would liked to have seen.) With all due respect to the late Swenson, it's a shame that such an interesting character is only widely known for this version. Expect Nolan to drastically change the perception, but in the meantime, here's clip from the film of Bane dressed in a monkey costume. Seriously.
Bane, Surprisingly, is Quite Intelligent
Most people who know Bane unfortunately know him from the aforementioned Batman & Robin. And, yes, if that's you're only knowledge of Bane, it's understandable that you may find his choice as a Batman villain in a new film, well, peculiar. And if that's all you know about Bane, you know that he's very strong. But in the comics, Bane is also considered one of Batman's most intelligent and mentally stable adversaries -- hence a charismatic actor like Hardy being cast as opposed to an ex-professional wrestler.
Bane Received a Pretty Raw Deal by the Judicial System
OK, this is actually pretty humorous on the surface (well, that is until it happens to you!): Bane's father was basically the Che Guevara of the fictional country of Santa Prisca. His father escaped persecution so the government basically said, "Hey, you there, young Bane... you're going to serve your father's life sentence. Is that cool?" So, Bane grew up in prison and, with his spare time, educated himself, worked out a lot and developed a fairly understandable grudge.
Bane Also Received a Pretty Raw Deal from the Prison
Not content on just keeping an innocent man in prison for his entire life, the prison decided to also test a drug called Venom on Bane. (Note: never trust any physician trying to give you a drug that's called "Venom.") The drug, which had killed all prior test subjects, gave Bane super-human strength, but there was a catch: He needed to have Venom supplied directly to his brain every 12 hours (that's what all the fun tubes on his costume are for).
In an arc of the Batman comic book known as "Knightfall" that began in 1993, Bane -- having escaped prison -- travels to Gotham City in an effort to defeat Batman. Bane earns his reputation as highly intelligent by discovering Batman's secret identity. After manipulating battle after battle between Batman and his long list of enemies, Bane finally confronts a tired Bruce Wayne at his home and, in the process, literally snaps Wayne's back over his knee. This injury is severe enough that it actually forces Wayne to temporarily retire as Batman. It remains to be seen if this arc (hopefully) will be interjected into The Dark Knight Rises. (If it does get used, um, spoiler alert?)