(The below contains many "Dark Knight Rises" spoilers. Read at your own risk.)
Dear Tom Hardy,
I've been making fun of you for months, and the truth is, I knew better. Maybe it was my own nervous anticipation for what was bound to disappoint me. I knew "The Dark Knight Rises" couldn't live up to my unfair expectations, so it was you, Tom, who I subconsciously pinned my inevitable disappointment on. This despite the fact that I was a huge fan of yours. "Bronson," "Inception," "Warrior" — I loved you in all of them. Hell, I advocated for you to be one of our "actors we are most thankful for" back in 2009. But when I heard that voice for the first time, you were my designated scapegoat.
And let's be honest, I wasn't completely out of line at the time. That voice, you know the one, is pretty out there. Unfortunately, my first encounters with "the voice" weren't ideal. First, I heard you in leaked video recordings at Heinz Field during the production of "The Dark Knight Rises." I thought, "Surely that's not what Tom is going for, right?" You were the subject of much mocking at the MTV News office, I'm ashamed to say.
The next time I heard from you wasn't that much better. It sounds silly to talk about now, and again, I feel slightly stupid admitting I was so pessimistic, but when the initial IMAX prologue of the film screened for critics, you will admit no one knew what the hell you were saying, right?
Of course I'm so curious about the voice now. Like, what happened exactly? How did Christopher Nolan describe to you what he wanted? How many different permutations did you go through? If this is what you ended up with, were there versions that were even more out there? Did you practice in the mirror? Did you think you sounded insane? Did you crap your pants when idiots like me made fun of it in the early going? All is forgiven now, right, Tom? We can just have a good laugh about it.
Because the truth is, you kicked ass in "The Dark Knight Rises." And here are just a few moments and reasons why:
1. Er, The Voice
I know. I know. What can I say? We were wrong. It's mesmerizing and menacing and fascinating and fanatically ferocious.
2. The Prologue
Yes, your boss made a tactical error in that first preview of the scene way back when, but now I understand every terrifying word out of your (concealed) mouth and I relish each and every wheezy utterance.
3. The Fight
You know the one. The one where you open a can of whoop ass on the caped crusader. This was the scene that turned the whole movie for me. The first hour is a slow burn, but this is the "oh sh--" moment — the fight we've never seen in a Batman film.
4. You're Such a Showman
Early on, Nolan talked up Bane as a potent physical and intellectual adversary. He spoke the truth. Whether hosting an impromptu talk show on a football field ("Dr. Pavel, tell us what you do") or calling for class warfare on the steps of Blackgate Penitentiary in Gotham, you'd make a hell of a politician. Though the gimp look might not play to Middle America.
5. Poor Bane!
You bastard. With one tearful flashback sequence and those sad soulful eyes, I actually felt a bit for you, you crazy terrorist.
So there you have it, Tom. You've won my love back. Here you have my full public apology for ever doubting you. Congrats on a bold and awesome approach to a villain that really could have sucked. Hardy for Best Supporting Actor: My campaign starts here.
P.S. We're all still imitating the voice around the office. But it's with love now, cool?
Check out everything we've got on "The Dark Knight Rises."