Did you ever hope that the Darth Vader character would be reworked? A timeless and unforgettable villain, Vader has always been the kind of adversary who draws booing from the audience, but no genuine fear. (Even the prequel trilogy would have us believe that Anakin turned Sith and massacred his friends for … the love of Natalie Portman? Now if it had been Megan Fox, we might have understood.)
And granted, for a time it seemed that Bane wasn’t it. DC Comics first introduced the character in 1993, presenting him as a steroid-fueled Caribbean bookworm who was unreasonably — and only by chance — set on destroying Batman and Gotham. Bane’s disastrous interpretation in Batman & Robin barely needs mentioning. So the character seemed relegated to animation, on-screen and in print. But when Tom Hardy’s amplified voice and mechanical breathing first drop anchor in The Dark Knight Rises, we get it. This is the live-action Bane we’ve been waiting for, and the introduction of a Darth Vader we can fear. Hardy’s enunciation is chilling and exact, often registering disbelief of such bleating lambs, and of the vain nobility of those who resist him. The actor achieves as much with his eyes as lesser performers do with uncovered faces.
The film is about grip: the cat burglar who claims she brings an escort along everywhere, lest she touch the door handles on her own and leave fingerprints. The police force that maintains order through questionable law. The stock traders who hold the economic fate of so many in their capricious, almost disinterested hands. Batman’s precarious grasp on his Wayne identity, to say nothing of his balance. Bane’s grasp over Gotham, and the possibility of an ancient league’s control over Bane. Or vice versa. But by now we’ve said quite enough.
Allow us this much, though: the original score is gripping.
As to its composition, there’s only one name that would have ever come to mind. (Not to give it away, but it starts with an H- and ends with -ansZimmer.) The music is almost the perfect engine: efficient, tested, positioned right there in front, with low emissions. The official soundtrack is available for streaming on Empire Online. There’s also a slick-sounding phone app.