Breaking the Bat

Posted: September 24, 2012 in Character Focus
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Nolan left his mark on the world in the last half decade by producing a reimagined Batman, one that held the dark roots that had become it’s staple but stripped it of it’s comic book elements and instead went for a more realistic world that previous Batman movies had avoided. What came about in the process was some of the best characters to ever grace the silver screen, and possibly more the entirety of batman continuity. So without further adieu, I present to you the man who broke the Bat.


Now is not the time for jokes, that comes later.

Introductions: show us the man

Those first few moments, the first bit of dialogue, those first five lines are often the make or break point of a character, and they can tell you exactly what level of writer you’er dealing with whether it’s a film, a game or a novel. Nolan introduces Bane as a man who competent, intelligent, physically powerful and incredibly charismatic. Within five minutes of being introduced, he verbally spares with a CIA agent, breaks free of handcuffs, crashes the plane he currently in with one of his own men willing to die in the wreckage. It was beautiful, It not only told us about what Bane could do, but it also painted him in light that made viewer want root for him, it left the audience for the next scene Bane would show up in.

For all the aspiring writers out there, take note of this, especially for the characters whoa aren’t going to be getting the same kind of face time as your antagonist, if it’s going to be twenty pages before the reader here’s or see about your villain, if this supporting character isn’t going to show up in the film for another thirty minutes then leave the audience with a strong impression on just who and what this character is and about. Find out what you character is, and then give them a brief moment to flex, this ins’t the time for subtly, that comes later.

The same joke twice? Your punishment must be more severe 

Competence: Give him something to do

One of the better qualities of Nolan’s villains is that they’re not sit in a chair and stroke a cat kind of guys. They get out there get out there and get things done. We like Bane partly because he can take care of business himself, Nolan wrote him to be competent and so when Bane shows up on screen things go his way, making everyone else including Batman look inept. But it’s not just that, it’s the fact that Bane plays a part in his schemes his he is not a hidden villain who sends out lackey’s or one to manipulates things from the shadows. Now that’s not to say your character has to walk across the screen and punch Batman to make him popular. Well loved characters from other franchises and mediums often show their badassery in their subtly, take Vary’s or Little Finger from the George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, both are characters who work primarily behind the scenes of the actual novels plying their trade. But when they show up on the page, They’re doing important or interesting things that give the sense that guys are competent, capable and action oriented.

The point for our writers to take home is that when you have your man on screen, he needs to be doing something, he needs to be proactive and he needs to be competent. Nobody want to read or watch a character sip tea and powder their face.


Sorry Vary’s you’ll have to do that before you show up

Originality: Be Different

A lot of things make Bane and interesting character, he’s smart, he’s capable, but I think what really set’s him apart was his voice, and the personality that came with it. He’s different from anything Nolan had created before, and most of that difference comes from his presentation, much like the Joker prior, people love Nolan’s because he’s unlike any Bane before him. He’s new, which in most media is hard to do, especially for character that had extensive use and large history before Nolan even thought about him. But Nolan was able to take and make him different. A great deal of this comes from both Hardy the actor who portrayed Bane and the writers who penned his lines as well as Nolan directing. But the truth of it is that they came together and made something old, new again. Thats a key component of writing, taking the things that you love and re-imagining them and writing them in your own style. So the next time your writing for your characters on page make sure they stand out from other characters in your story as as stand out among other characters period. So the next time you magnificent bastard shows up, as what makes him better or different then the ten thousand that have come before him, and if you can’t find a good reason then you may need to give him another once over.


When all of your characters are properly developed, then you have my permission to write

A good introduction, a good display of action and a great sense of originality are just a few of the things that make Bane an amazing character, but without them he would have been left inept and forgotten. So if your future efforts has a character reminiscent of Bane gracing the pages, make sure you know why he was such a success in the first place.

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