THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Director Chris Nolan Defends Tom Hardy's "Extraordinary" Bane Performance

Tenet director Christopher Nolan has come to the defence of Tom Hardy's divisive Bane performance in The Dark Knight Rises, praising the actor's work as the Batman villain. Read on for further details...

It was always going to be difficult to top The Dark Knight, but Christopher Nolan gave it a good go with The Dark Knight Rises. Tom Hardy played Bane, a hard-to-understand villain who pushed Batman to his limits, though some comic book fans weren't happy with the way he was portrayed on screen.

There's no denying that Hardy did a lot of great work in the 2012 movie, but his take on the character has never been praised quite as much as what Heath Ledger did four years prior as The Joker. 

During a recent interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast (via CBR), Nolan praised Hardy's performance and argued that he's yet to receive the recognition he deserves. 

"There's no safety net for any of these guys and Tom, what he did with that character, has yet to be fully appreciated," the filmmaker says. "It's an extraordinary performance, and truly amazing."

"The voice, the relationship between just seeing the eyes and the brow. We had all these discussions about the mask and what it would reveal and what it wouldn't reveal, and one of the things I remember him saying to me, he sort of put his finger up to his temple and his eyebrow and said, 'Can you give me this to play with? Let people see this.'"

"Sure enough, you see there in the film, this kind of Brando-esque brow, expressing all kinds of just monstrous things," Nolan continued. "It's really quite a performance."

The Dark Knight Rises is a movie well worth revisiting, and providing you occasionally turn the subtitles on, there's a lot to love about Bane. That fight scene in the sewers (which doesn't include Hans Zimmer's score) is brutal, and the moment the villain "Breaks the Bat" still stands out as a highlight. 

What's your take on Nolan's comments about Hardy's Bane?

Which iconic superhero movie villains didn't debut in the
comic books? Click on the "Next" button below to take a look!

10. X-23


Laura Kinney debuted in the short-lived X-Men: Evolution in 2003, and was created by writer Craig Kyle. 

Just one year later, she appeared in the NYX comic book series, while Kyle and Christopher Yost would later script X-23: Innocence Lost, a six-issue miniseries detailing the character's origin in the Marvel Universe. Wolverine's clone then became part of the core franchise with Uncanny X-Men #450, and her popularity has continued to grow.

Since then, X-23 has even taken over the mantle of Wolverine, and made her live-action debut in James Mangold's Logan where she was played by Dafne Keen. 

As you'll soon learn, many great female comic book characters were created for television. 

9. The Wonder Twins


Despite being two of DC's goofier heroes, the Wonder Twins have plenty of fans. 

They've made only sporadic appearances in the comic books in recent years, though were made an official part of DC Universe continuity in 2019. They've since shown up in titles like Action Comics and Young Justice, but may be best known for their television appearances. 

If they had an IMDB page, it would make for impressive reading as they've been spotted in everything from Justice League Unlimited to The Flash

That's appropriate as their debut came in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon, The All-New Superhero Hour, in the 1970s.

8. Jimmy Olsen


Superman's best pal, Jimmy Olsen has become a mainstay of the Man of Steel's adventures. Well, unless you're Zack Snyder and turn him into a C.I.A. agent who gets shot in the head after five minutes of screentime! 

Despite having a history which stretches back to some of Superman's earliest stories, Olsen's origins are rooted in the radio show, The Adventures of Superman on April 15, 1940 in the episode "Donelli's Protection Racket." Shortly after, Jimmy made the leap to the page in Superman #13.

The character also made an anonymous cameo in Action Comics #6, and while that predates the radio show, he wasn't given a personality until he "debuted" there.

Without that, Supes would be without one of his closest allies.

7. H.E.R.B.I.E


Conceived for The New Fantastic Four animated series in the late 1970s, H.E.R.B.I.E. unbelievably replaced the Human Torch in that show when rights issues surrounding the Human Torch left him on the shelf.

Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, The Thing, and H.E.R.B.I.E. doesn't quite have the same right to it, huh? 

It was Stan Lee who pitched replacing the Torch with a robot, and Uncanny X-Men artist Dave Cockrum was assigned to design him. When he dropped out, Jack Kirby took over, and that ended up being his final work for Marvel Comics. In 1979, H.E.R.B.I.E. made his comic book debut in Fantastic Four #209.

He's since become a fan-favourite, and retained that classic Kirby-inspired appearance.

6. Mercy Graves


In the early days of Marvel and DC, most female characters were love interests or damsels in distress. It's no wonder than that so many of the great ones have debuted elsewhere. 

Superman: The Animated Series isn't quite as fondly remembered as Batman: The Animated Series, but it gave us Mercy Graves, Lex Luthor's formidable bodyguard and chauffeur. Her first comic book appearance came that same year in the pages of Superman Adventures #1

She's since been key to many of the Man of Steel's adventures involving Luthor, and has most memorably appeared in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and The CW's Supergirl

Mercy most recently appeared in Titans where she was played by Natalie Gumede.

5. Batman Beyond


Stick the Batman logo on anything, and it will probably be a hit. 

However, there's something special about Terry McGinnis. Introduced as a means of picking up where Batman: The Animated Series left off, the Batman Beyond only ran from 1999 to 2001, and was put on hold for Warner Bros. Animation to instead focus on the Justice League animated series.

Despite a lukewarm reception at the time, the show would go on to gain a cult following, and found his way into the comics the same year his show debuted. 

He's since appeared across the DC Universe on multiple occasions, including in a recent follow-up to the TV show which ran between 2016 - 2020. We're not fully sure why he's yet to appear in live-action, though. 

4. Nova Fries


Batman fans have a lot of reasons to be grateful for Batman: The Animated Series, and it deserves a lot of credit for transforming Mr. Freeze into the complex villain we know and hate today. 

Used in the show to explain Freeze's evil nature, the character was even used in the Batman & Robin film, and has been seen in both Gotham and CWVerse crossover event Elseworlds. Nora has also factored into all recent retellings of Freeze's origin in the comics (and Arkham computer games). 

Her first comic appearance came in Batman: Mr. Freeze in 1997. 

She's been through a lot since then including, believe it or not, becoming Mrs. Freeze last year!

3. Agent Coulson


Clark Gregg first played Agent Coulson in 2008's Iron Man where he was included only to tease the existence of S.H.I.E.L.D. and set the stage for that memorable stinger introducing Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury. 

Despite not having any roots in the comics, he became an integral part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it really stung when he died at the hands of Loki in Marvel's The Avengers. Marvel Television resurrected him for seven seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC, however. 

He first showed up as Cheese in 2011's Battle Scars #1, and was revealed as Phil Coulson in issue #6.

The comic book version didn't really resonate with fans, but Coulson remains a major fan-favorite online.

2. Firestar


Debuting in 1981 on the NBC animated television series, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends as Fire-Star, the character's popularity meant it wasn't long before she was added to the comics. 

Funnily enough, her debut came in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends #1, but Firestar is now better known for her mutant background. Since being introduced, she's been an Avenger, an X-Men, and even a member of the New Warriors.

Firestar's association with Spider-Man is why she's so fondly remembered, however, and it would be undeniably spectacular to see them once day share the screen.

It's even rumored that Firestar is going to be brought to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

1. Harley Quinn


Now one of DC's most popular characters in any medium, Harley Quinn has grown to become so much more than just The Joker's accomplice and bit on the side! 

Introduced in Batman: The Animated Series episode "Joker's Favor," the Maiden of Mischief immediately resonated with fans thanks to her complex origin story, unique appearance and demeanour, and the incredible work of Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. 

Harley made the leap to comics in 1993 in The Batman Adventures #12.

Since becoming more of an anti-hero than villain, Harley's popularity has, in some ways, eclipsed that of The Joker, and she's proof that not every classic character has to debut in the comics.

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