Re: Does Bane being a PURELY physical threat hamper him as a villain?
Bane represents more than a physical threat. In terms of social relevancy, he represents two aspects that threaten any establishment (which all three Batman films feature an aspect of, given that Batman is a definitively establishment figure). First he represents the dangers of radical, opportunistic populism. He uses misconstrued half-truths and real issues to create social unrest to his own benefit. He also represents the threat of military take over. Essentially a man who would be a dictator who takes power through military conquest.
That continues the themes of religious zealotry from Ra's Al Ghul (and Talia) anti-authority anarchy from the Joker.
But as a character, being a no-nonsense, efficient killing machine is simply not as charismatic or interesting as the tempting foil (Joker) or meglomaniac/evil father figure (Ra's), though I do think Bane was executed to the fullest of his character while I think Ra's could have been done even better.
My thoughts on it.
"Let us disappoint the Men who are raising themselves upon the ruin of this Country."