[This article contains HUGE spoilers!]
Halfway through Christopher Nolan’s hysterically anticipated final installment of the Dark Knight trilogy, I couldn’t help thinking of Dr Evil in Austin Powers: “Let’s just do what we always do, hijack some nuclear weapons and hold the world to ransom!”
Hulking villain Bane (Tom Hardy) wants to liberate Gotham from the decadent, complacent fat cats and give it back to the people…then blow up with a nuclear bomb. No matter how sophisticated the villain or dastardly the plan, movie-makers still use nuclear weapons to convey the ultimate terror. Nolan has performed an awesome feat of gloomy revisionism in rebooting Batman for the post-9/11 audience, but even he couldn’t resist reaching for the nukes to ramp up the stakes in this last installment.
There is a man in a cage. Naked, covered in filth and blood, circling, fists ready. “I always knew I was made for better things. I had a calling.” The skin-headed, straight-faced Bronson (Tom Hardy) tells us, direct to camera. The gates open, and riot police pile into the tiny cell. The naked man launches himself into battle. He isn’t trying to escape, he’s fighting because he has anger and violence built into him, and he sees himself as an artist of mayhem.