Why Batman & Robin’s Bane is So Different From The Dark Knight Rises’

As one of the most fearsome opponents Batman has ever faced, Bane has been depicted twice in live-action films: 1997’s Batman & Robin and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. Each depiction has very little in common with each other, and even DC Comics acknowledges that neither is a true representation of the Bane that fans know from the comics.

Years before Bane would break Batman’s back, he grew up imprisoned by the corrupt government officials of the Caribbean island of Santa Prisca. He was meant to serve out his father’s life sentence, but during his time locked away, Bane honed his body and his mind. He learned to fight, meditate, and even to speak at least six different languages. While in prison he became a test subject for the drug Venom that further augmented his incredible strength. After Bane escaped he believed that it was his destiny to destroy Batman, and in the classic Knightfall storyline, he nearly succeeded. Releasing all of the Dark Knight’s foes at once he forced Batman to fight to exhaustion, before showing up himself to finish the job. Bane has also deduced Batman’s identity simply by paying attention to his body language, and even Ra’s al Ghul in the Bane of the Demon storyline admitted that Bane “has a mind equal to the greatest he has known.


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This distinction between the two cinematic Banes was explained in the “Ask… the Question” column on the DC Comics website. Neither live-action version is entirely accurate to the foe who famously broke Batman’s back. As the article states:

In short, both of Bane’s live action film appearances could be argued to not REALLY be Bane as we know him, but an even more obscure character bearing his name.

In Batman & Robin, Bane is portrayed as a hulking, mindless henchman being controlled by Poison Ivy, but this character shares very little traits with his comic counterpart. Other than the name, Uma Thurman’s henchman actually more closely resembles Ivor, a man Poison Ivy turned into DC’s version of Groot in 1982’s Batman #344. In comparison, Tom Hardy’s Bane in The Dark Knight Rises is portrayed as a mercenary for Talia al Ghul. He does share some traits with the Venom-enhanced villain, but being just another henchman means that he still falls short of the true genius of Bane. According to DC this depiction is similar to another Bat-Family opponent, Sir Edmund Dorrance aka King Snake, who also happens to be Bane’s biological father.

These two characters, Ivor and King Snake, are very different from Bane. Ivor is a one-off henchman who was transformed by Poison Ivy in Batman #344. He was impossibly strong, much like Bane when he injects himself with the enhancing drug known as Venom. However, but he lacked the highly tactical brain that makes Bane such an evil mastermind. King Snake, on the other hand, is a highly trained mercenary, but he lacks the focus and true brilliance of his son. Though they all share similarities, both men are poor stand-ins for one of Batman’s most formidable villains.

Neither Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin, nor Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, have come close to accurately depicting Bane. As one of the greatest threats to ever come to Gotham City, Bane is so much more than a mercenary in a mask or an unintelligent henchman, and neither version does true justice to Batman‘s strongest and most cunning enemy.

Source: DC Comics

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