Sunday, July 22, 2012

My Dark Hero Fetish and Why I Loved Bane Not Batman


I’ve always loved Bruce Wayne. There was just something about the playboy hero who ran around in a bizarro outfit beating the crap out of some seriously strange villains. I’ve loved his many incarnations, but I must admit Christian Bale has been my favorite.

The first installment in Nolan’s series was amazing, introducing a complex hero with a complex love life. Movie two rocked my socks off, largely because of Heath Ledger’s incredible portrayal of The Joker. But here’s the thing. . . Batman, in this latest series, was never quite willing to commit to love.  Yeah. Yeah. He had abandonment issues. I get it. I have lost one parent and am losing another. Its very difficult to put our hearts out there when we know how much it hurts to lose a loved one. And I do love the repressed hero. But what I don’t love is that he can never quite completely fall for the love of his life. He never lets go. He’s always holding back. And he’s protecting her from himself. AND its only after her death that he falls. When he falls its into a pool of self indulgent woe is me. He forsakes his calling “for the good of Gotham”, abandoning his principles in favor of a lie. And he makes a shrine to the heroine, cutting himself off to life. Remembering Rachel as a saint more than a flesh and blood woman who was fed up with his behavior. . . 


Let’s be clear. Batman is dysfunctional. Anybody who is an agoraphobic who on again off again dons a bat suit and talks in a gravelly voice as he battles crime is not within the realms of mental health. He’s just not a villain. Cue the other crazy man in The Dark Knight Rises.
Cue Bane. {played by one of my favorite actors ever, the immensely talented Tom Hardy}

He’s absolutely insane, of course. . . If you disagree with his view point. He reminds me of Tyler Durdin from Fight Club, hungry to hit the reset button on society and see it restart. Anarchy, according to Bane, the new leader of The League of Shadows, is the only way to restore balance to society. He’s a character straight out of the French Revolution, unafraid to get blood on his hands to reach the ends of his dream for a new society. Yet, at the forefront of it all is the love of his life. {Spoiler alert} Bane, from the beginning, puts his life on the line for the girl he loves, granted she is a child the first time he sacrifices life and quite literally flesh for her. But he has no qualms about risking everything for her. . . Then follow her and her disdainful father, even after being so horribly disfigured. She is the leader. Not Bane. He is the instrument of her will, yet he is also independent. And the passionate love for her???? Its undeniable. Take one look in his eyes in that last scene. He would burn in hell for her and nothing would ever stop him from letting her know how much he loves her. 

This is why I love Bane. He’s not on a mission, determined to protect the love of his life from himself. Hell, no. He IS himself and wants the love of his life to be at his side fighting with him. He’ll even take the back seat to her leadership. That’s how much he loves her.

How do you feel about heros who protect the heroine from them?