The Dark Knight Rises - Was Bane's Voice Changed from Early Trailers?

The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros., Bane, Tom Hardy, Capes on Film, movies
Tom Hardy as Bane
I've already talked about my fascination with Bane's voice in The Dark Knight Rises, and how it was one of the most memorable parts of the movie. Someone described Bane as sounding like a cross between Sean Connery and Darth Vader, and that's the best description of his voice I've heard so far. However, I remember when the first trailers were released in late 2011, a lot of people complained that it was nearly impossible to understand what Tom Hardy was saying under Bane's mask. 

It turns out, the filmmakers must have taken that early criticism into consideration, because it seems Christopher Nolan and company either re-recorded Hardy's voice performance or adjusted it in some way between the IMAX prologue screening in December 2011 and the film's release in July of this year. Check out the comparison below, that a YouTuber posted, and see if you can tell a difference between the voices. Personally, I think the final version was for the better - Bane still sounded menacing, but his dialogue wasn't as muffled.

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Watch a Fantastic Fan-Made Trailer for the Captain America Movie Sequel

Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes - Marvel Studios
Even though opening day of Marvel Studios' Captain America: The Winter Soldier is almost two years away (April 4, 2014), that hasn't stopped one fan from imagining how the movie might appear. Check out the trailer that a YouTube user made that shows scenes with Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, skillfully spliced with clips from other movies. 

If you need to be brought up to speed on the Winter Soldier story - in the comic books, Bucky was found in a frozen state of suspended animation by the Soviets and trained to be a master assassin, just like the Black Widow. He has no memory of his past life, so the Soviets send him on a mission to kill Captain America. There's no word from Marvel about how closely they will follow the story in the books, but it's a safe bet that major portions of it will be used in the movie. 

I like how the fan used dialogue from the comic books in this clip. The script is from a scene in which Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) and S.H.I.E.L.D. Director, Nick Fury, tell Steve Rogers (Captain America) what they know about the Winter Soldier.

Fury:  They called him "Winter Soldier". Supposed to be the KGB's secret weapon. Story went that they found him on ice and only woke him up for the big gigs.

Natasha: He's very real. He was one of my trainers back in the red rooms. 

Steve: You can't seriously be implying that Winter Soldier person is Bucky? 

Natasha: We were hoping you could tell us. You saw him last night.

Want to weigh in on this clip or talk about how the Winter Soldier storyline might play out in the Captain America sequel? Tweet me at @capesonfilm or connect on Facebook.

Greatest Batman Movie Villain? Bane or The Joker?

The Dark Knight Rises, banner, Tom Hardy, Christian Bale, Batman, Bane

This article was intended to be an overall review of The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR), but along the way it morphed into something else. Instead of tackling the entire movie in one post, I thought I'd look at my favorite part of the film - the character of Bane, and Tom Hardy's portrayal of him. For me, TDKR is a movie so densely filled with memorable moments (and confusing ones as well) that it deserves to be pondered like a great novel, not just critiqued with a dashed off review.

Tom Hardy, Bane, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman
For the record, though - Is TDKR a worthy conclusion to Christopher Nolan's ground-breaking Batman trilogy? Yes. Is it one of the greatest superhero movies ever? Of course. Unfortunately, I can't label TDKR a masterpiece because the screenplay is filled with gaping plot holes, and many of the scenes don't stand up to logical scrutiny. I know every superhero movie demands a certain suspension of disbelief, but I expected a more coherent story from a director of Nolan's caliber. Beyond that, I need more time to think about how TDKR compares to and co-exists with Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (TDK), and I might even need a third viewing to grasp all of its intricate twists and turns. 

Now, like I said, this post is about Bane - for my money, one of the greatest villains in any superhero movie. I was skeptical when I first heard that Bane would be the antagonist in TDKR, and was even more critical of his muffled voice in the trailers. I wondered if Nolan had possibly made a rare mistake that would spell trouble for TDKR. Of course I was a fool to doubt Mr. Nolan's judgement, because he and his co-screenwriter (and brother) Johnathan Nolan have written a fascinating character in Bane, and he was brought to life with menacing perfection by Hardy. 

Since the movie doesn't provide much background on Bane, I've included this entry from the recently published book, The Dark Knight Rises: The Secret Files Scrapbook
Little is known about Bane. He was born in prison and trained in the darkest forms of deception by the League of Shadows, but rumor has it he was cast out due to his extreme behavior. Bane is a ferocious hand-to-hand fighter who is willing to do anything in order to take down his opponents. Bane is in peak physical shape, but he must wear a breathing apparatus that feeds him with pain relieving gas due to an old injury. He's never been photographed without his mask and only a handful of people have seen his face. While his true motives remain a mystery, he appears to be building an army of followers in the dark tunnels underneath Gotham in order to create his own League of Shadows.
I've read some reviews that claimed Bane didn't seem as scary or dangerous as The Joker from TDK, but I don't know what movie they were watching. From the first moment he appears on screen in that incredible plane hi-jacking sequence until the climactic fight scene, he was the epitome of the evil mastermind. Yeah, The Joker wanted to destroy the system, but Bane had something much, much worse in mind. 

I like how Peter Howell, at The Toronto Star, puts it - 

“If it’s at all possible, Bane is even more nihilistic than Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight. And while it would be almost impossible to top the late Ledger’s incendiary performance, which won him a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar, Hardy’s Bane comes awfully close. He’s mesmerizing on the screen, recalling Darth Vader in the original Star Wars.” - Peter Howell, Toronto Star

What made Bane so fascinating? Let's start with his voice. That voice! Kudos to Hardy and to the sound engineers who created a truly unforgettable mixture of erudite sophistication and pure malice. Even now, days after seeing the movie, I still have Hardy's vocal performance and Bane's dialogue stuck in my head - 
"Ah you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but blinding!"
"I was wondering what would break first, your spirit, or your body."
The entire movie is filled with Bane's menacing, murderous, but strangely refined oratory. I especially liked the scene in the football stadium, when he addresses the crowd - 
"Gotham, take control! Take control of your city! Behold the instrument of your liberation!" 
Besides that unforgettable voice, what makes Bane mesmerizing is the brilliant way Nolan and company kept his background a mystery. We really don't learn that much about his story until late in the film, and when we do, it alters the way we feel about him. He no longer seems exactly like the heartless monster we've assumed he was. 

The Dark Knight Rises, fan art, Bane, Batman, Capes on Film
Fan poster by thedemonknight
Some say Bane isn't in the same league as TDK's Joker in terms of screen super-villains. Nope, sorry. While The Clown Prince was an agent of chaos, Bane is a brilliant strategist and is The Joker's intellectual equal - but combined with brute strength and deadly hand to hand fighting skills. While I have total respect for Heath Ledger's performance in TDK, we shouldn't downplay the difficult acting job that Hardy was tasked with in TDKR. Hardy had (arguably) a physically more demanding role in Bane, and was forced by the mask to convey everything though his eyes. I think as time passes, Hardy's performance is going to garner more respect as people come to appreciate what he created on screen. In the years since TDK was released, Ledger's Joker has rightfully become a pop culture icon, but I think Hardy's Bane is going to be just as imitated, parodied, and discussed. 

Bottom line - both Hardy's and Ledger's performances were brilliant in their own way, but if I had to choose the most imposing villain, and the character I'd like to learn more about, I would choose Bane.  Again, I'm not judging the actors so much as the overall impression the character made on me (obviously the performances do factor in, as well).

I'm curious to know what you think of Bane - including, how he was portrayed in TDKR, Hardy's performance, and how Bane ranks in terms of movie villains. Instead of using a comments section here, I invite you to stay in touch through our Facebook page or Tweet your thoughts to @capesonfilm

Let's Remember and Honor the Victims of the Colorado Shooting

I'm sure like all of you, I was sickened by the news of the horrible shooting that took place in Colorado last night at a showing of 'The Dark Knight Rises'. This senseless tragedy has turned a day of fun and celebration into a day of mourning. If you're like me, you've already purchased your ticket for TDKR and were planning to see it today or this weekend. 

Yes, I still plan to go to TDKR today, but I will be thinking about the victims of last night's violence. I don't think we should allow the acts of one deranged person to prevent us from going about our lives as usual (while keeping the victims in our thoughts and prayers). However, out of respect to those affected by the Colorado tragedy, I will only be posting memorials to the victims for the next 48 hours. Thank you and take care.

CNN coverage of the Colorado shooting 

Who is the Best Batman on Film?

L to R: Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale
Just for fun, I decided to poll the fans on the Capes on Film Facebook page to see which movie Batman was their favorite. With The Dark Knight Rises opening tomorrow, July 20, it seemed like a good opportunity to see if Christian Bale's current interpretation of the Dark Knight was the most popular, or maybe one of the earlier versions would be a surprise winner. (In case you're wondering - yes, I know this list doesn't include the two movie serials made in the 1940's.) 

Should Bale's critically acclaimed portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman be the only logical choice in this poll, or did one of the previous actors bring a certain quality to the role that you liked more? Join our Facebook page and cast your vote! 

Watch Red Carpet Highlights from 'The Dark Knight Rises' World Premiere

A banner image for the film The Dark Knight Rises showing Batman in the streets of Gotham City.
Warner Bros.
Last night (July 16, 2012) The Dark Knight Rises held its world premiere in New York, and I was disappointed that my ticket was apparently lost in the mail. However, life goes on, and so I'll have to be content with some red carpet interviews with all the stars of the film. The word that Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, and others in the cast use to describe their feelings is "bittersweet", and I can understand why. For many of them, they've been working together for about eight years, and I'm sure the idea that there won't be another Christopher Nolan-directed Batman movie is just starting to sink in. 

Enjoy the clip below, and tweet your thoughts to @capesonfilm.

Captain America, Beware - The Winter Soldier is on His Way

Marvel Comics
Everyone has been waiting on some major announcements by Marvel Studios at San Diego Comic-Con International, and yesterday (July 14, 2012) they didn't let us down. In addition to releasing info on the sequel to Thor and a new franchise called Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel announced the sequel to 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger. The second installment of Cap's exploits will be titled Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I am really psyched to hear this news because two years ago a rumor surfaced that Cap's fellow World War II warrior, Bucky Barnes, would someday return as the dramatically changed Winter Soldier. If you're not familiar with the "The Winter Soldier" comic book storyline, back in 2010, I wrote an article on him and what Bucky's return might mean for Steve Rogers/Captain America. 

Check it out and tweet your thoughts on this awesome Marvel news to @capesonfilm.

Check out this Documentary on the History of the Batmobile

Warner Bros.
One thing all of the modern Batman movies have in common is Bruce Wayne's awesome, intimidating, rolling weapon - the Batmobile. Warner Bros. has put together a cool-looking documentary that traces the history of Bruce Wayne's super-car, starting from its first appearance in 1939 to the latest incarnation in the The Dark Knight Rises. 

Check out the trailer for the documentary below, which features interviews with Christopher Nolan, Adam West, and other key figures from the world of Batman movies.

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Christian Bale on His Last Days in the Batsuit

Warner Bros.
In the interview below, Christian Bale talks about the making of The Dark Knight Rises and his feelings about donning the cape and cowl for the last time. A few of the questions are the usual fluff. such as "Did you enjoy making this movie?", but it's still an interesting few minutes with one of the greatest actors in the world.

Bale gives some interesting insights into the movie, including some thoughts on the Batsuit and his co-star Anne Hathaway. If you're counting the days until TDKR opens, then this video is a great way to tide you over until July 20. Enjoy, and don't forget to connect with @capesonfilm on Twitter.

Thanks to CBM for the heads up

Watch a Thirteen Minute Featurette for 'The Dark Knight Rises'

Warner Bros.

Drop whatever you're doing and watch this fantastic featurette for The Dark Knight Rises. It includes brief interviews with all of the key players in this soon-to-be classic movie opening on July 20. 

Director, Christopher Nolan, tells us about his vision for the epic conclusion to his Batman trilogy. 
"What we're constructing here is a very elemental conflict between good and evil."
Tom Hardy talks about the character of Bane and how he fits into the story. 
"I really wanted to see Batman meet his match. There's a new kid in town. Bane's not ready to be reasoned with. Some people want to watch the world burn. Well, Bane's come to pull the pin on the grenade."  
Also included on the clip are screenwriter, Jonathan Nolan, Anne Hathaway (Selina Kyle), and Michael Caine (Alfred Pennyworth). Plus, it has behind-the-scenes footage that shows the incredible sets that Christopher Nolan constructed to bring Gotham City to life. All in all, it's a great way to prepare for what will surely be one of the year's (if not the decade's) best movies.
Thanks to Scriptflags for the heads up.

How Does 'The Amazing Spider-Man' Stack up against Other Superhero Heavyweights?

Columbia Pictures
Two years ago, Columbia Pictures took a big gamble when it decided to reboot its highly successful Spider-Man franchise. Starting from scratch, only ten years after the first Spidey movie hit the screen, The Amazing Spider-Man (TASM) features an entirely new cast, new storyline, and new director. TASM is a milestone in movie history, because it's the first major superhero to get a reboot this soon after debuting in theaters. I've been a supporter of Columbia's decision to start fresh, because I felt the original trilogy, while excellent in many areas, crashed and burned in the third installment. It was time for an overhaul. Did Columbia's gamble pay off? Read on, and see.

TASM sticks fairly close to Spidey's comic book origins, but adds a few elements that give the story some fascinating wrinkles and lays the foundation for more installments. (Columbia has already announced that two sequels are being planned.) The biggest improvement in the storyline from Sam Raimi's films is the inclusion of the mystery of Peter Parker's parents. Early, brief scenes with Mr. and Mrs. Parker suggest they had ties with the mega-corporation, Oscorp. Although we're only given hints, it appears that Peter's mom and dad (and their genetic experiments for Oscorp) seem to have an important role to play in Peter eventually becoming Spider-Man. As the trailers have shown, Peter is driven by his desire to discover what happened to his parents and what role Oscorp had in their disappearance. I can't wait to see where the writers take this plot thread in the sequel, because it opens up entirely new territory not seen in the original Spidey trilogy.

So, how does TASM compare with 2002's Spider-Man? Overall, I think it's a worthy successor to Sam Raimi's vision of the character. The cast of TASM is excellent all around, with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone having real on-screen chemistry as Peter and his first love, Gwen Stacy. The movie is also helped tremendously by a great supporting cast, including Martin Sheen and Sally Field as Peter's Uncle Ben and Aunt May. Some of the best scenes in TASM involve Peter's home life with his aunt and uncle, especially when Ben admonishes Peter for his irresponsible behavior. Well-directed and well-written dramatic scenes like that helped propel TASM slightly above its predecessor.
Columbia Pictures
Another cast member who stood out was Rhys Ifans, who plays the brilliant genetics researcher, Dr. Curt Connors. As I wrote earlier in the year, I wasn't familiar with Ifans before he was selected to play Connors, but he was a great choice. If you've seen the trailers, then you know that Connors tinkers with reptile DNA in order to re-grow his missing right arm, and by extension help other amputees. Needless to say, something goes horribly wrong and Connors is transformed into the monstrous "Lizard". Ifans has insisted in interviews that Connors isn't the typical "mad scientist", but instead he's a sympathetic character and one who just wants to help people. Thanks to Ifans fine work, I really did like Connors and sympathize with his plight. In fact, I think the movie would've benefited by devoting more time to Connors' backstory and trimming a few minutes elswhere.

I've heard some people complain that TASM was too slow in the first half, but I have to disagree. I think director, Marc Webb, smartly emulated his colleague, Christopher Nolan, and gave Spidey the "Batman Begins" treatment. Meaning - firmly ground the character in reality and give at least a semi-plausible explanation of why Peter would don tights and become a masked vigilante. Webb had to give us a sense of who Peter Parker was before becoming Spider-Man, or the entire movie would've failed. Case in point is the scene in which Peter stops the high school bully, Flash Thompson (Chris Zylka), from beating up a classmate. That was an excellent scene that established Peter's good nature and set up another meeting between the two characters later in the film.

Despite the great cast and directing, TASM did have some weak spots. My main complaints center around plot points that require a huge amount of suspension of disbelief. For example, Peter apparently finds a limitless supply of artificial webbing from Oscorp to use in his home-made webshootters. How convenient. Unless I missed it, the movie never explains how he got the webbing, or for that matter, how he instantly obtained a perfectly constructed costume. Another scene that used twisted logic was one which Spidey lays a trap for The Lizard in the tunnels beneath New York. The scene gave the impression that Spidey's mechanical webshooters could shoot his web about mile, which would be quite a feat for a contraption that a high school kid cobbled together in his bedroom. Of course, all superhero movies require the audience to not question the laws of physics, but I could've used a little more realism in some of the scenes.
So, in a summer in which one superhero movie became a pop culture phenomenon (The Avengers), and another is waiting in the wings to conclude a groundbreaking trilogy (The Dark Knight Rises) - How does TASM stack up? While the other two movies mentioned are clearly more ambitious on many different levels, TASM puts a unique spin on a character who celebrated his fiftieth anniversary this year. Spider-Man has been around so long and his story is so well known, that it's a challenge for any filmmaker to do something fresh and original with the character. I believe Webb and company accomplished that, for the most part, by giving us an updated Spider-Man movie that's in tune with today's sensibilities. Thanks to Nolan, I think the audience's taste in superhero movies has matured a lot in the ten years since Raimi's movie was released.

While I'll always be a fan of Raimi's Spider-Man, a lot has changed in the intervening years, and what worked in 2001 wouldn't work today. TASM doesn't have the visual spectacle of The Avengers or the dramatic intensity of Nolan's Batman films, but it's a well-crafted, entertaining superhero tale. Hopefully, Columbia Pictures will sign Webb for the sequels and allow him to take Spider-Man into more areas in which he's never ventured. I'd like to hear your thoughts on whether TASM was a success or not. Tweet your opinion to @capesonfilm