Why we need 'The Dark Knight Rises' right now
8. It should speed up Tom Hardy's ascent to stardom
Let's face it, Heath Ledger's Joker isn't going to be topped. But if someone has to try to follow in his Oscar winning footsteps as Batman's arch-nemesis, Hardy's not a bad choice. Anyone who saw his brutal, insane performance in Nicolas Winding Refn's "Bronson" knew he was destined to be a star. His scene-stealing turn in Nolan's "Inception" helped introduce him to a broader audience, and a role in arthouse hit "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" didn't hurt. But he's still waiting to break big -- the forgettable flop "This Means War" didn't do it -- and playing skull-crushing terrorist Bane could be just the ticket. Assuming audiences understand his dialogue through the permanent gas mask affixed to his face.
- Geoff Berkshire