Could the latest Batman movie have a deeper political meaning?
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh says it does.
The villain in the finale to the booming box office "Batman" franchise "The Dark Knight Rises" is suddenly in the national political debate.
"Bane," played by Tom Hardy, is a hulking man with a cage-like gas mask engulfing his face, and he's drawing a lot of fire from Limbaugh.
"The villain in ‘The Dark Knight Rises is named Bane, B-A-N-E,” Limbaugh said. “What is the name of the venture capital firm that (Mitt) Romney ran and around which there's now this make-believe controversy? Bain. Do you think that it is accidental that the name of the really vicious fire breathing four-eyed whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?”
Many are calling this theory a stretch at best.
DC Comics, which developed the Batman series, first introduced "Bane" in January of 1993, nearly 10 years before mitt romney, the presumptive republican presidential nominee, was elected Governor of Massachusetts.
Furthermore "Bane" was announced as the film's villain in January of 2011, months before Romney officially announced his candidacy.
But Limbaugh's comments fall within a larger debate about "The Dark Knight Rises," which touches on themes of terrorism, economic turmoil, and political strife -- all relevant today, potentially making the movie more than just a summer popcorn flick.
Some reviews are quick to draw the comparisons.
The LA Times says "The Dark Knight Rises" "brings a whiff of contemporary societal trends - or what (director Christopher) Nolan has called 'the things that worry us these days' - into play."
And Roger Ebert writes that the movie portrays an: "apocalyptic future that seems uncomfortably close to today's headlines."
Early box office projections indicate that "The Dark Knight Rises" will clean up when it opens Friday, with some reports saying it could make between $160 and $180 million.
The film is produced by Warner Brothers, which is owned by CNN's parent company, Time Warner.
Whether the relevant themes, or even Limbaugh's comments, will have any impact on moviegoers remains to be seen.
But Morgan Freeman, who reprises his role as weapons specialist "Lucius Fox," says despite the chaos and violence in the Batman movies, one message is clear:
"I think they all have the same basic theme, but this one hits it a little harder,” Freeman said. “Basically it's hope, hope things can and will get better."
Yet another theme that might sound familiar to politically savvy audiences.
Top Entertainment Headlines