Director Christopher Nolan has defended film fans irate over negative reviews of The Dark Knight Rises.
The final part of Nolan's Dark Knight Batman trilogy has received mostly positive reviews, but a few critics gave it a negative write-up.
Some fans' response to those critics became so venomous on the review aggregator site RottenTomatoes.com that it suspended user comments on Monday.
But at Wednesday's London premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan was quick to defend the heated response to the reviews.
"I think the fans are very passionate about these characters the way a lot of people are very passionate. Batman's been around for over 70 years and there's a reason for that. He has a huge appeal, so I think you know people certainly respond to the character," he said.
Nolan also dismissed conservative US commentator Rush Limbaugh's contention that the villain in the movie, Bane, was an attempt to make a disparaging link to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's former company, Bain Capital.
"I'm not sure how to address something that bizarre, to be honest. I really don't have an answer for it, it's a very peculiar comment to make," Nolan said.
Morgan Freeman, who plays Lucius Fox, called the claim "ridiculous".
"Chris wrote a fictional story that didn't have any political thoughts in mind, so it's like art or something you know, it's all in the mind of the beholder," Freeman said.
Bane has been a character in the Batman comic series for many years.