In case you happened to have missed it, The Dark Knight Rises hype kicked off this past Friday with an interactive viral-marketing game that revealed the first photo of Tom Hardy as Bane. Freakier than his goofy Batman & Robin counterpart, Hardy’s Bane looks to be the most jacked-up villain to date in Christopher Nolan’s Bat universe. While many comic-book-movie super-villains tend to be of the scrawny, brainy variety (Joker, Lex Luthor), there are a few costumed baddies who would be equally at home in a wrestling ring. Let’s take a look at some of the toughest brawlers in comic-book movies.
Bane, Batman & Robin and The Dark Knight Rises
In comics, Bane is known as the villain who broke Batman’s back. In Batman & Robin, his first big-screen outing, he was reduced to wearing a ridiculous trench-coat disguise as Poison Ivy’s lackey. Though we’ve yet to see him in action, Tom Hardy’s Bane is already scarier than the late wrestler Robert Swenson (pictured). The Inception star clearly hit the gym for the role and sports a mask that is more muzzle and less luchador. (The teeth make him look a bit like Killer Croc.) Could the new mask be a delivery system for venom, the chemical that gives Bane his superstrength?
Bone Saw McGraw, Spider-Man
In honor of the late, great Randy “Macho Man” Savage, who died in a car crash on Friday, let’s take a moment to remember his role as wrestler Bone Saw McGraw in Spider-Man. With his killer body slams, entourage of babes, and signature catchphrase (“Booooone Saw is readddddy!”), Bonesaw is the king of the ring. He also puts some serious hurting on a masked Peter Parker, smacking him with a chair and throwing him around the steel cage to the delight of his crazed fans. But when he comes after Peter with a crowbar, that’s when the Spider strength kicks in. R.I.P., Macho Man. R.I.P., Bone Saw. Sabretooth, X-Men
Also in the wrestler-turned-comic-book-movie-star category is Tyler Mane as Sabretooth. While Liev Schreiber’s Sabretooth from X-Men Origins: Wolverine was more erudite, Mane wins in the pectorals department. Sabretooth’s role in the Brotherhood of Mutants is sheer brute force, as evidenced by his one major scene, where he tangles with Rogue and Wolverine in the snow. (Thankfully, Mane doesn’t have to tangle with too much dialogue.) Fun fact: Mane’s wrestling partner, Kevin Nash, was originally supposed to play Sabretooth. Though he missed out on X-Men, Nash did star as…
Super Shredder, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze
After Vanilla Ice’s immortal “Ninja Rap,” the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles outing is notable for the moment when the Turtles’ nemesis Shredder uses the titular ooze to transform into a bigger version of Shredder. All bulky muscles and sharp spikes, Super Shredder is a menacing presence. Sadly, he’s also fairly ineffectual. (He basically just throws a tantrum and causes a building to fall on his head.) Thankfully, he doesn’t join the Turtles and Vanilla Ice for a rousing round of “Go, ninja! Go, ninja! Go!”
Non, Superman II
A Kryptonian of few words, Non is easily the strongest bad guy in the Superman franchise. (Though, considering his competition is Lex Luthor and that weaselly CEO Robert Vaughn plays in Superman III, that’s not saying much.) Strong enough to lift a space capsule with one hand, Non trashes the White House and brings Superman to his knees. (Technically, Supes knelt before him as well. Zod just takes all the credit.) He’s not too bright, falling to his death while trying to fly without his powers in the Fortress of Solitude. With Michael Shannon playing Zod in the Superman reboot, perhaps Non can return to smash Metropolis.
Emil Blonsky, The Incredible Hulk
Hopped-up on a cocktail of super-soldier serum and gamma radiation, Emil Blonsky goes toe-to-toe with the Hulk in New York City. Though he starts out as scrawny Tim Roth, Blonsky morphs into a massive, gruesome monster capable of slamming the Hulk around. Sure, he’s not exactly easy on the eyes. But what he lacks in looks, Blonsky makes up for in smashing ability. (He’s basically a cross between the Hulk and Godzilla.) Considering that the Hulk usually goes up against tanks, Blonsky more than holds his own in a fight.
You remember Lawrence, Joker’s thug who carries the boom box in the Flugelheim Museum, right? (“Gentlemen! Let’s broaden our minds. Lawrence?”) That guy was huge. And he doesn’t just carry around a jam box that only plays Prince songs (for some reason). While Bob the Goon got all lines, Lawrence did go toe-to-toe with Batman in the cathedral scene. And, as he proves while blasting “Party Man” at the Flugelheim, Lawrence is also quite the dancer.