7 times Tom Hardy was the badass hero we needed

A villain on screen, he’s a superhero in real life.

Pass Tom Hardy in the street when you’re up to no good, and there’ll be no escape. This is a man who will bring hell in the name of sweet justice. As if bulking up for his Bane role wasn’t warning enough, Hardy doesn’t take anyone’s shit. He’s a marvel, an on-screen villain who’s actually a superhero in real life.

Don’t believe us? Below is definitive proof of Hardy’s heroics. He lives life in the fast lane, puts himself on the line for bigger causes, and he’s willing to grunt until all the world’s evils are eradicated once and for all.

When he stopped villains in the street

This is the most recent and spectacular eyewitness report of Hardy’s superhero instincts. He’s said to have succeeded in chasing a thief on foot, doing what a young Peter Parker never had the guts to do.

According to The Sun, Hardy witnessed a moped crash near his Richmond home. Two men fled the scene, and he pursued one through south west London gardens and building sites. After winning the chase, he’s reported to have declared: “I caught the c**t.” Good grief.

When he read bedtime stories on cBeebies

When he’s not roaming the streets as an undercover crime-stopper, Hardy reads kids’ stories for all the mums out there. His last appearance on cBebbies (for Mother’s Day 2017 on March 26) saw him reading Ross Collins’ There’s A Bear On My Chair’, successfully sending toddlers to sleep while giving parents a reason to keep the telly on. What a sweetheart.

When he called out a journalist’s sexist question

At a journo Q&A for Mad Max: Fury Road, Hardy was fielded a poorly-phrased, sexist question from Toronto Star scribe Peter Howell. “I’ll preface my remarks by saying that I have five sisters, a wife, a daughter, and a mother so I know what it’s like to be outgunned by oestrogen,” he began, awkwardly. “But I just wanted to ask you, as you were reading the script, did you ever think, ‘Why are all these women in here? I thought this was supposed to be a man’s movie?’” After a short silence, Hardy gave a swift answer to shut down the ridiculous topic. “No, not for one minute… That’s kind of obvious.”

When he had the greatest Myspace profile

Nothing – repeat: nothing – tops Tom Hardy’s pre-fame Myspace profile. It is a thing of wonder, the least self-conscious Myspace of all time. The bulk of it consists of nearly-naked selfies, which are almost definitely a parody and not just a means of showing off his abs. He wore fake moustaches, revealing speedos, wigs. And his “about me” section is like reading a grammar-shunning Jack Kerouac. “I make mistakes, I stand corrected, I accept casualties and walk with hope because I fucking LOVE. I could so easily be dead. My head is like a dangerous neighbourhood I should never be in it without an appropriate adult.” Oh, Tom.

When he agreed to get a tattoo after losing a bet with Leonardo DiCaprio 

Leonardo DiCaprio at the 89th Annual Academy Awards

In 2016, Leo DiCaprio bet Hardy that his The Revenant co-star would receive an Oscar nomination for playing John Fitzgerald. Hardy wasn’t having any of it, so he agreed that should the nomination happen, he’d get “tattoo of the winner’s choosing.” A few months later, and Hardy still has a deal with DiCaprio that he’ll ink the words “Leo knows everything” on his body. “I haven’t got [the tattoo] yet,” he told Esquire. “Because it sucks.”

When he dissed action-hero roles as ‘boring’

From Bane to Taboo’s James Delaney, Hardy isn’t one for conventional characters. In a recent interview with The Sunday Times (January 8), he claimed modern day action-heroes aren’t allowed to express their personality. That they’re dull, faux hero clones. “Now you’ve got to look like you’ve just come off a vegan diet, gone to the gym, part Navy Seal, really clean-valued, clean-living, moralistic – and then you go out and save the world from an impending danger that isn’t really dangerous at all,” he said, not mincing his words, then describing these typecast roles as a “homogenised sort of eight-pack, tanned, straight-teeth, physicalised, action-hero leading male.”

When he made grunting cool

Taboo’s script is all well and good (who hasn’t said “I have a use for you!” when picking up a pen recently?), but you could solely enjoy the show just by listening to Hardy’s grunts. These are skilled grunts. They vary in volume and tone. No grunt is the same. There’s the “I think the government is conspiring against me” grunt, the “perhaps I shouldn’t have the hots for my sister” grunt, the “views on cannibalism are just subjective, really” grunt. Hardy has the full range.