Polite notice: if you haven’t seen the Dark Knight Rises, not only will this article probably spoil elements of the film for you, it just won’t make any sense. You have been warned.
My partner and I had a slight disagreement about the Dark Knight Rises.
It was the kind of disagreement which sees one of us sitting, rapt, in front of the cinema screen while the other leaves in disgust after 2 hours, with nary a good word to say about the film.
However, the one thing we both agreed on was that Bane, god bless his cotton socks, made a real impact on-screen.
After several weeks of intermittent Bane references and at least one wedding celebration dominated by Bane impressions and an Usher highly reminiscent of the great man, I arrived at a singular realisation: Bane is a fabulous role model for a growing boy.
Here, as succinctly as possible, I’m going to lay out the reasons I think my own beloved son can learn important lessons from “Gotham’s Reckoning”:
1. He promotes physical fitness
Let’s start with the obvious: Bane is a monster. He appears to be about 9 feet tall whenever he’s depicted on screen, but the real impact the man makes is with his incredible physique.
I’d like David not to emulate me in terms of his physical condition – god knows I could use 6 months on a treadmill – but instead take a lead from the B-Dogg. I want him to realise that if he keeps himself in shape, it will be easier to realise many of his ambitions; say, completing a charity triathlon, or “breaking the Bat”.
2. He knows how to handle himself
This is really a two-sided point.
On one hand, Bane illustrates the importance of and advantages conferred by a familiarity with Martial Arts. This is a good thing for David to learn – maybe it’ll encourage a lifelong interest in Judo, or something. That would be nice.
On the other hand, Bane reminds us that the correct course of action when facing a potential confrontation with an 18 stone psychopath is to run like fuck. That’s pretty important, too.
3. He’s focussed on his goals
No one can really accuse “Big B” of pissing around. He isn’t ever depicted sitting on the couch, ignoring calls from Talia, squeezing in ‘just one more game’ of Minesweeper.
When he wants something, like the attention of a full crowd and national TV audience currently watching an American Football game, well… He bloody well goes out and gets it.
4. He inspires loyalty
In some moments of quiet reflection, I like to think that some of the people I work with would gladly plummet to their deaths in the wrecked fuselage of a plane simply because I asked them to.
That said, I’m not convinced.
I think David probably has more to learn from Bane on this front.
5. He recognises the importance of discipline
It will be much easier for me to sell David on the concept of ‘tough love’ if he is already intimately familiar with the phrase, “Your punishment must be more… Severe.”
Granted, I’ll be talking in terms of a week’s grounding rather than existential torture in a geographically indistinct, underground prison. But the point still stands.
6. He shows that losing your hair isn’t the end of the world
I’m not sure whether David is terribly likely to succumb to early male pattern baldness, but if he does, I don’t want it to shake his confidence.
Bane doesn’t have any hair, but by god that didn’t stop him from executing a daring and complex stock market fraud, then dragging an entire city to the brink of self destruction.
I’ve even heard one young lady describe Bane as ‘sexy’ and although that’s a stretch, it still comfortingly reinforces the ‘bald is beautiful’ lobby.
7. He doesn’t stand on ceremony
If there’s one thing I hate, it’s needless formality. Events with stifling dress codes, the insistence of some people that they are addressed by a particular title, etc.
Seriously, what a pain. Luckily, Bane feels the same way, “…Mr Wayne.”
8. He has great spatial awareness
The ability to clearly visualise one’s own surroundings, those depicted on a map or even a complex set of blueprints is invaluable in any number of pastimes and careers.
With a quality like this, David could excel at everything from orienteering on a school trip to the establishment of a career in town planning, or architecture. It would also stand him in great stead if he ever wanted to construct a subterranean stronghold directly beneath the armoury of his mortal enemy.
9. He believes in thorough planning
When Bane wanted to raze Gotham to the ground, he didn’t just rock up and start asking around the bars for people interested in a spot of casual anarchy.
Instead, he took his time, kidnapped the only nuclear scientist in the world capable of transforming a wholesome, clean energy source into a Neutron weapon, faked deaths, established an army of desperate men and extremists in the tunnels beneath the city, targeted his greatest enemy for an elaborate financial, emotional and physical destruction… etc, etc.
It’s good to think ahead.
10. He reminds us of the importance of good diction
In life, it’s hard to get anywhere if 50% of the people who hear you speak don’t have a scooby what you’re actually saying.
David will have to pass the ‘Bane test’ in our house as he grows up – just one hint of his speech descending into a garbled hybrid of aristocratic pronunciation and a distorted mobile phone call will result in him being packed off to an elocution specialist.
I’m certain that my partner will agree completely with me on this point, if not on some of the others.