Is 'The Dark Knight Rises' immune from criticism? Some of its fans certainly seem to think so. It would appear that some of Christopher Nolan's supporters have been getting a little carried away with upholding the quality of this movie which, let's face it, hasn't actually been released properly yet. In fact, some users of the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes were so upset by the minority of reviews that dared to be negative about the film, that they sent abusive messages and even death threats to those who had written them.
So, what has caused such over-protective behaviour from fans of Nolan's Dark Knight franchise? Could it be that they are simply upset at having to wave goodbye to Christian Bale and his raspy-throated, heroic ways? Or is it more complex than that? Should we be looking at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for someone to blame? After all, it was the omission of The Dark Knight from the Best Picture category in 2009 that many believe to be the reason the Academy expanded the category, to include more films. The response to Nolan's snub was overwhelming and shortly afterwards, the Academy's rules changed. Then they changed again. Perhaps Nolan's fan-base feel that he should be a rightful shoe-in for an Oscar win this year, thus obliterating any allowance for criticism, in the process? It's not a theory than many rationalists would subscribe to but it may go some way towards explaining the death threats.
It's worth remembering of course, that the majority of the reviews for Dark Knight Rises have been largely positive. The film has received a healthy 87 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has a nice, plump, fresh looking tomato next to its score, which we all know to be a good thing in the world of movie reviews. And the top, professional critics have hardly been reticent in their praise. The respected movie critic Roger Ebert praises the movie for its "sensational climax" (which will, no doubt, have everyone screaming "DOES BATMAN DIE???" at their laptop screens) and Salon.com's review describes the movie as "Arguably the biggest, darkest, most thrilling and disturbing and utterly balls-out spectacle ever created for the screen."
But those who dared to criticize The Dark Knight Rises found themselves on the receiving end of some abusive comments from the site's users. We'd love to share some of these comments with you but sadly, things got so bad that the site's editors were forced to disable the comments function as a result of the abuse, which led to Associated Press' Christy Lemire receiving death threats. Christopher Nolan has tried to make light of the situation claiming that it's understandable for fans to get a little over-protective of their favourite super-hero "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."
If that's really the case, then someone, somewhere surely needs to explain to these fervent death-threat makers that a) Batman isn't actually a real person and b) Christy Lemire will not bring about the downfall of a multi-billion dollar franchise by being one in a gazillion people who claim not to like the film that much? Surely? With reviewers of the movie receiving death threats for daring not to like the super-hero adventure, the members of the Academy must be quaking in their boots about this year's ballot time. It'll be a brave voter that makes any effort to snub Christopher Nolan this time around. Unless that is, public opinion on the movie - once people have actually had a chance to. you know. watch it - begins to swing in the favour of its detractors.