So that's one Internet discussion we can put to rest. I mean, I know it's tempting fate to say that, but the evidence is conclusive: Bane's voice was indeed modified between early screenings of The Dark Knight Rises' prologue late last year and the film that was released earlier this month. The proof comes in the form of an audio comparison between the two versions, which you can hear below.

As we said in our early review of The Dark Knight Rises prologue, even though actor Tom Hardy's voice communicated Bane's sinister personality extremely effectively, the words themselves were often unintelligible as heard through the mask that covered the majority of his face. The opinion was repeated by many other outlets and, later, by the viewing public who saw the same footage with IMAX screenings of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. From The Hollywood Reporter's Heat Vision blog, back in December 2011:

Sources close to the movie say Warner Bros. is very aware of the sound issue. One source working on the film says he is "scared to death" about "the Bane problem." And with good reason. The last Batman film, 2008's The Dark Knight, grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, and the studio doesn't want anything to tamper with Rise's chances for success.

Naturally, the muffled Bane voice prompted the production of numerous parody videos.

Nolan reportedly agreed to make minor adjustments to the sound mix, the results of which can be heard in the clip above. Your mileage may vary on how "minor" the changes were. Certainly, some lines have been rerecorded or at least different takes were for the final version, and Bane's voice is uniformly clearer and louder overall. In any case, Hardy is far easier to understand in The Dark Knight Rises than we initially feared, and whatever alterations he and the filmmakers made went toward creating what the ComicsAlliance staff unanimously agreed was a worthy successor to Heath Ledger's Joker.

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