Have to admit: I fully expected this column (Monday Morning Comic Rack; the first in a series of self-indulgent weekly columns) to focus on Iron Man 3’s big trailer spot in last night’s Super Bowl. As so often happens with live sports, though, the prediction was thrown out the window and a new comic book character took center stage (new comic book characters are constantly taking stage during live sporting events. Like Tigra at the World Series? It’s like, this isn’t about you lady! And wear something, this is television).
Superheroes have become something of a big game tradition, right up there with aging pop stars doing unspeakably sexual things, and the Patriots not winning the big game (suck it, Belichick).
It was this time last year that The Avengers movie trailer finally gave visual credence to all the unfounded speculation regarding the comic book movie kingdom’s christening. The year before that we got a first glimpse at Thor and Captain America. And probably Green Lantern, but I’ve relegated that memory to the space reserved for my first dentist appointment and the time I saw a live cow placenta.
Knowing that Iron Man 3 would be debuting a full trailer during the 49ers and Ravens Harbro Browl (seriously, Hawkguy, bro, they are brothers), I pretty definitely expected to focus on what we learned about the movie from the trailer.
We can still do that (check it out below – basically: Tony’s gonna have a hell of fall, War Machine is going to be Iron Patriot, and I’ll get a little too choked up when all the falling plane people hold hands), but the more important revelation has to do with a DC villain. Take a bow, Mr. Bane.
The Extended Iron Man 3 Movie Trailer
So get this: Bane is mainstream.
I guess I fully understood the mega-popularity of Batman without stopping to consider the trickle-down effect of his supporting cast. When the power went out last night, thousands of Twitter accounts took the opportunity to announce the coming of Bane, referencing the now iconic, trailer-ingrained scene when Bane blows up a football field (sans old man top chef Hines Ward).
— GQ Magazine (@GQMagazine) February 4, 2013
My first thought was (possibly naive) surprise that Bane made such an impact after his stint in The Dark Knight Rises. I enjoyed Tom Hardy’s cinematic take on a Venom-less Bane, but it’s not like anyone was referencing the likes of Talia Al Ghul or Ra’s last night. Of course, a one word name and a one muscular, Hannibal Lecter-meets-Sean-Connery figure is substantially easier to remember.
Without bringing down the mood lights too much (prepare for the downest of lights), I do have to say that I felt a little bit sick after all the Bane references. I’m a guy who likes comic books. Clearly. I like story. And as such, when a Christopher Nolan, or Frank Miller, or whomever decides to enact a terrorist plot within a story I’m willing to go along for the ride, see the point they are trying to make, and hope that I can understand human nature and the theme of life a little more (or maybe just smile and not have to think for a while. Could go either way).
But when the same situation happens in real life? It’s a little harder to ohh and ahh with a gleeful cheer. So again; I’m not a humorless sad sack (see also: the rallying cry of humorless sad sacks). I get the Bane references, and I know they were intended with humor and irreverence And frankly, I’m really glad 98% of America can sit and watch a mass scale power outage on America’s biggest stage and have a good time with it and not really worry that something HORRIBLE is about to happen.
Maybe it was the Sandy Hook kids trapped in simultaneous horrific exploitation and uplifting chance of a lifetime. Maybe it’s the fact that it was during a Bane shoot em’ up scene that a mentally ravaged murderer forever desecrated the joy of the movies. But something just doesn’t feel right anymore about joking about Batman’s greatest villains enacting full scale acts of terror in real life. That bothers me.
Without a Batman to counter, the story is just so much less fun.