He was a ruthless terrorist and the field commander of the League of Shadows who sought to fulfill the destiny that the league's founder Ra's al Ghul had been previously determined to accomplish: the annihilation of Gotham City. He was assumed as the film's main antagonist due to masterminding the events of Ra's campaign, until it was revealed that he was the protector-turned-accomplice of Ra's daughter Talia al Ghul.
The shadows betray you, because they belong to me!
Bane was said to have been born and raised in a hellhole of a prison called the Pit, where Talia al Ghul, the daughter of Ra's al Ghul, and her mother were imprisoned. After their cell was left unlocked, the prisoners attacked and murdered Talia's mother, but they would have also killed Talia if Bane had not intervened. He protected her, and was determined to ensure that the one form of innocence to exist in the Pit was kept alive as the prisoner's redemption.
Bane brought Talia to the wall that one could climb up to escape, though no one had ever succeeded. As the other prisoners attacked Bane, he watched as Talia managed to climb to freedom. Talia went to her father and the League of Shadows, who returned to the Pit to rescue her savior. But, by that time, Bane’s body had already been badly mutilated by his fellow prisoners and though the prison doctor had saved his life, Bane was left in constant agony. He was brought into the League of Shadows’ fold and was given a mask that was created by the League that pumped a constant stream of gas into his system which kept his pain at bay.
Bane and Talia were trained by the League, but to Ra's, Bane was a monstrosity and a constant reminder of the nightmare he had left his wife to die in. So, Bane was excommunicated from the organization and became a mercenary.
After Ra’s death, Talia inherited his mantle and brought Bane back to the fold to launch a multifaceted attack to destroy Gotham City and fulfill what Ra’s had failed to finish. Bane was also responsible for a coup in West Africa which brought John Daggett, Bruce Wayne's business rival, exclusive access to the resources there, brought his company into prominence, and lead to Bane attracting the attention of the Central Intelligence Agency. Their working relationship was later used to bring Bane and other League mercenaries to Gotham City.
Preparing to Crush Gotham City
Home, where I learned the truth about despair, as will you. There's a reason why this prison is the worst hell on earth... Hope. Every man who has ventured here over the centuries has looked up to the light and imagined climbing to freedom. So easy... So simple... And like shipwrecked men turning to sea water from uncontrollable thirst, many have died trying. I learned here that there can be no true despair without hope. So, as I terrorize Gotham, I will feed it's people hope to poison their souls. I will let you believe they can survive so that you can watch them clamoring over each other to "stay in the sun". You could watch me torture an entire city and then when you truly understand the depth of your failure, we will fulfill Ra's Al Ghul's destiny. We will destroy Gotham. And then when it is done and Gotham is ashes, then you have my permission to die.
~ Bane to Bruce, describing the Pit, and talking about his plans after he broke his back and took him to the Pit.
8 years following Harvey Dent's death and the Joker's arrest, Talia took on the identity of Miranda Tate, who funded Wayne Enterprises construction of a fusion core, which she and Bane planned to use to destroy Gotham. Bane went after a nuclear scientist named Leonid Pavel, who tried to escape him by turning himself over to government agents. However, Bane got himself captured, then had his men attack the plane that he and Pavel were in. He faked the death of the nuclear scientist and made it look as if the plane had crashed, and successfully escaped with Pavel. Bane then moved his army into Gotham and began working for Daggett under the pretense of helping him absorb Wayne Enterprises. However, Bane was just using this and Daggett’s resources as part of his own plans. He attacked the Stock Exchange and, using fingerprints obtained by Selina Kyle, Bane bankrupted Wayne. But instead of Daggett taking over, Bruce gave command of Wayne Enterprises to Talia. Bane then killed his “employer”, before he continued with his plans.
First Fight with Batman
Bane had Selina lead Batman to him in exchange for his forces not pursuing her anymore. He revealed that he knew the Dark Knight's secret identity, before the two warriors fought. From the very first blow, Bane had the upper hand, and overcame every single attack Batman executed with absolutely no difficulty whatsoever. The fight took them off the barrier and into the bowels of the battleground, where they continued to spar. Batman used gadget after gadget against Bane, and every single time, Bane calmly eased through them while he calmly stated on how he sought revenge on Batman for betraying the League of Shadows - he would fulfill Ra's al Ghul's destiny.
The fight quickly became one-sided when Bane destroyed Batman's mask and easily beat him. Bane then revealed that he’d found the armory that Lucius Fox had been storing equipment that was meant for Batman and his men took it for themselves, before he broke Batman's back.
Bane delivered a crippled Bruce Wayne to the Pit and stated that he would never kill a man that did not fear death, as he intended to psychologically torture him by showing him the slow demise of Gotham City while Bruce was unable to do anything. Bane said that he would feed the people the hope that they could survive, before he destroyed the city and only when Gotham was ashes, did Bruce have his permission to die.
Bane returned to Gotham to begin his plans, and took Wayne Enterprise’s Board of Directors hostage so as to get the fusion core. He then made Dr. Pavel turn the core into a bomb and lured almost the entire Gotham City Police Department underground in search of him. Bane went to the occurring football game and set off a series of explosions throughout the city, by using concrete that he had laced with explosives, which trapped the police and destroyed most of the bridges that connected Gotham to the outside world. While the stadium suffers from the explosives, Mayor Anthony Garcia gets assassinated in the same method. Bane proceeded to address the people of the city, declared martial law, told them they would claim what was rightfully theirs, and to take down their oppressors: the rich and the powerful. Bane made Pavel reveal himself to the people of Gotham to let them know that Bane had fabricated his supposed death and that the reactor was now an armed thermonuclear bomb. He asked Pavel if he was the only one who could disarm it and when the scientist confirmed this, Bane killed him by breaking his neck to ensure that the bomb couldn't be disarmed. Bane also told them that a citizen in the city (Talia) had been given the detonator to the bomb and any attempt to leave would result in it being detonated. However, the bomb was going to go off anyway in a few months: Bane simply wanted to torture the people with hope that they could survive, as he had in the Pit, so that they would struggle against one another to "stay in the sun," before he killed them all. Bane first headed to Blackgate Prison, where he read a speech that was written by Commissioner Gordon to the press and the prisoners of Blackgate, which revealed the monster Harvey Dent had become. Bane declared that Gotham would be taken from the corrupt who kept the people down with their lies of opportunity, then blew open the prison and released all the convicts, before he let the city descend into anarchy.
The Final Battle and Death
But as the time of the bomb’s detonation drew close, Batman returned, and escaped the Pit as Talia had. He coordinated with Selina, the GCPD, and Lucius Fox to free all of the police officers who were trapped underground. Batman led some police officers against Bane’s army while some other members of the police worked on stopping the bomb. Bane fought Batman personally. This duel took place in the center of the battle, and stretched to the doors of Wayne Tower. Both men were a completely even match - Batman did not bother using his gadgets, for he knew that Bane was immune to them, instead he focused on attacking Bane's mask knowing that it's his weak point. When it seemed that Bane was going to win, the Dark Knight commenced to destroying Bane's mask, and gradually weakened the herculean terrorist. Bane flew into a furious, incredulous rage - a villainous breakdown - and violently attacked Batman. Bane's fury was such that, when several of his shots missed, they shattered sections of the walls at Wayne Tower. However, when Batman destroyed the mask, Bane succumbed to the pain and was defeated. Bane was beaten and Batman demanded to know where the detonator was, but Talia then revealed herself, and stabbed the Dark Knight in the side. After explaining her and Bane’s stories to Batman, since he’d believed that Bane had been the child of Ra’s al Ghul, Talia then left to ensure the bomb’s detonation, and left Batman with Bane so that he would be killed in the nuclear blast along with the citizens of Gotham.
Bane decided that he was not going to wait until the explosion and that he was going to kill Batman now. Bane pointed a shotgun onto Batman's head and prepared to pull the trigger, telling him that he will "Just have to imagine the fire". Before this could be done, Selina arrived with the Batbike and shot Bane with it, instantly killing him.
Bane was an extremely tall, herculean bald man of an incredibly muscular build, with few scars on his scalp. He wore a breathing mask that covered his jaw, mouth, nose, and the top and back of his head. He wore a brown trench coat with a military vest underneath with black combat pants and boots. He had a very deep voice - whether this was his actual voice or an effect of the mask was left up for debate.
When Bane first appeared, he wore a long-sleeved black shirt.
Look at him: his speed. His ferocity. His training. I see the power of belief - I see the League of Shadows' resurgent!
~ Alfred Pennyworth, on Bane.
Bane was ruthless and cold, and was perfectly willing to slaughter millions of people as Ra’s al Ghul sought to and killed people with his bare hands without a care in the world. Despite being cast out of the League of Shadows, Bane was fully immersed in the organization's beliefs and ideals, was willing to rejoin the League and be given the chance to lead the raid against Gotham. Bane’s time in prison affected him greatly, to the point that he sought to make Gotham experience the same situation that he and inmates did. He also declared his intent on completing 'Ra's al Ghul's destiny', despite the latter being the man who resented and excommunicated Bane from the League. Bane commanded absolute loyalty from his men and was perfectly willing to kill them in pursuit of his goals.
As a contrast to his brutality, Bane generally behaved like a stereotypical aristocratic gentleman: he acted jovial and polite toward both allies and enemies, as shown when He listened to a young boy singing The National Anthem at the Football Game, saying to himself, "That's a lovely, lovely voice.", shortly before he set off several bombs. Bane's habit of casually talking to people that he planned to hurt made him a disarming presence, which allowed him to maintain dominance in any situation. The only person that Bane seemed to truly care for was Talia. He was extremely calm, and spoke softly and confidently at all times, even when he threatened people or was open about the necessity of their fear or pain.
In his speeches, Bane behaved like a classic revolutionary leader. He had an extremely sophisticated vocabulary that made his speeches more rousing. He was an exceptionally powerful public speaker, who was capable of dictating in front of vast crowds of people, even his enemies, and turned them over to his side.
Peak-Human Condition: Bane had extremely high levels of strength, durability, and reflexes and when combined with his League of Shadows training, he was a very strong opponent.
Martial Artist: A complete master of all martial arts, Bane was able to take repeated punches from Batman with little to no effect and even outfought him with his knowledge of fighting techniques similar to Batman.
Master Strategist: Bane was also extremely cunning and very intelligent, and frequently misdirected and tricked his enemies, and his combination of brains and brawn made him very dangerous.
Honed Senses: Bane possessed extremely heightened senses and awareness: he could see through unclear environments easily due to his League of Shadows training, which also enabled him to contradict such techniques if they were used against him. That meant that he was completely immune to Batman's most resourceful and conventional weaponry.
Pain Tolerance: Bane's mask also functioned as a breather that dispenses a type of anesthetic that kept his pain at bay. It also prevented him from experiencing any and all physical pain and exhaustion. That particular factor made him even more dangerous in a fight since he would take risks that others would not even think of doing, and enabled him to exhaust an opponent before throwing the first and killing blow. However, it's also Bane's weak point, if it's damaged the crippling pain from the injuries that he had sustained while he was down in the Pit quickly return, rendering him severely weakened and unable to fight properly.
Calm down, doctor. Now's not the time for fear. That comes later.
~ To Dr. Pavel before launching him out of the aircraft.
~ Bane to Batman on their first fight, revealing that he knows Batman's true identity.
Oh, you think darkness is your ally? But you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it. Molded by it. I didn't see the light until I was already a man, but by then it was nothing to me but blinding! The shadows betray you because they belong to me!
~ Bane, when Batman tries turning off the lights to distract him.
I am the League of Shadows. I am here to fulfill Ra's Al Ghul's destiny!
~ Bane to Batman during their first fight.
Ah yes, I was wondering what would break first. Your spirit...or your body.
~ Bane breaking Batman's back.
Let the games begin!
~ Bane before blowing up the football field.
Behind you stands a symbol of oppression: Blackgate Prison, where a thousand men have languished under the name of this man, Harvey Dent, who has been upheld to you as the shining of justice! You have been supplied with a false idol to stop you tearing down this corrupt city! Let me tell you the truth about Harvey Dent from the words of Gotham's police commissioner, James Gordon.
~ Bane before revealing Harvey Dent's true colors
We take Gotham from the corrupt! The rich! The oppressors of generations who have kept you down with myths of opportunity and we give it back to you...the people. Gotham is yours. None shall interfere. Do as you please. Start by storming Blackgate, and freeing the oppressed! Step forward those who would serve. For and army will be raised. The powerful will be ripped from their decadent nests, and cast out into the cold world that we know and endure. Courts will be convened. Spoils will be enjoyed. Blood will be shed. The police will survive, as they learn to serve true justice. This great city... it will endure. Gotham will survive!
~ Bane during his speech.
So you've come to die with your city? No, I came back to stop you.
~ Bane and Batman before fighting a second time
I broke you. How have you come back? You think you're the only one who could learn the strength to escape? Where's the trigger? But I never escaped...
~ Bane revealing he never escaped The Pit
We both know that I have to kill you now. You'll just have to imagine the fire!
~ Bane's last words as he's about to kill Batman before being killed himself.
This incarnation of Bane did not use Venom, the steroidal compound that he used in the comics to gain superhuman strength, most likely because the Christopher Nolan Films tried to be more realistic.
Though in some popular theories, the Venom to which Bane usually use is not a strength enhancer but a gas-like chemical which keeps his pain intact.
This version of Bane resembled Ubu, the al Ghul family's loyal body guard. The comic book version of Bane once took up the mantle of Ubu after he killed him in battle.
Bane's costume for the film was markedly different from his comic book counterpart who wore a Mexican Wrestler's Mask. In the film, Bane's mask did not cover his full face, but rather his mouth, jaw, and his back head, with his eyes and brows clearly exposed. Bane also wore a military grade armored vest, with a matching pair of black combat pants complete with knee pads and boots and periodically donned a brown trench coat.
In the comics, Bane was born in a prison located in the fictional Caribbean country Santa Prisca, while the prison featured in the film presumably took place in the Middle East. While other media appearanced portrayed him with a Latin American accent, Tom Hardy chose an accent closer to original Latin,and described it as that of a gypsy or "Romani Latin" as opposed to Latino.
Tom Hardy stands around 5 feet, 9 inches where Christian Bale was over 6 feet. Since Bane towered over Batman in height in the comics, special film techniques were used to make Hardy's stature and figure appear larger and imposing. In particular, three-inch lifts were added to Hardy's boots to make Bane equal in height to other tall characters.
A controversy regarding the character ensued nearing the release of the film where several political pundits, including Conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh, believed that Bane was intended to reference Bain Capital, the name of the company 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney formerly ran. It resulted in Christopher Nolan denying Bain as the inspiration, as well as Bane co-creator Charles Dixon confirming Nolan's denials, stating that Bane's overall character was in fact closer to Occupy Wall Street.
There were some criticisms about Bane being hard to understand after the The Dark Knight Rises prologue debuted in December 2011. The prologue voice was mostly changed in the later theatrical cut of the full film.
Tom Hardy has described Bane as "brutal. He's a big dude who's incredibly clinical, in the fact that he has a result-based and oriented fighting style. It's not about fighting. It's about carnage. The style is heavy-handed, heavy-footed, it's nasty. Anything from small-joint manipulation to crushing skulls, crushing rib cages, stamping on shins and knees and necks and collarbones and snapping heads off and tearing his fists through chests, ripping out spinal columns. He is a terrorist in mentality as well as brutal action."
Christopher Nolan said Bane was what Bruce Wayne could have become if he had stayed in the League of Shadows in Batman Begins.
Bane had some similarities to Son Hyuk from 2011 Korean action series Athena who saved Yoon Hye-in just like Bane did with Talia and they both became their guardians as well as having a brother-sister relationship to them.
Bane's platonic relationship with Talia closely mirrored Bane's relationship with fellow Secret Six member, Scandal Savage, the daughter of another immortal super villain, Vandal Savage.
Similar to Ra's al Ghul and the Joker, the main villains in the trilogy's previous installments, Bane's real name was never revealed and was only known by his alias.
Bane was very similar to Darth Vader: Both of them can be considered tragic villains, were highly intelligent, and extremely powerful among other characters in their respective franchises. Also, they were widely feared throughout their world/universe that they appeared in - among allies, enemies and neutral alike. They both also wear masks after having an injury around the face. They were in some way, similar to the hero - or reflections of what the hero might have become.
Bane is known throughout DC Universe as "The Man Who broke The Bat", since his greatest feat throughout his villainous role is breaking the Batman's back, this version of Bane has accomplished the same thing in the film, though it is not as devastating or as brutal as the original comic shows.