LONDON -- Director Christopher Nolan is defending fans irate over negative reviews of "The Dark Knight Rises."

While the final piece of Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy has gotten mostly positive reviews, a few critics, including The Associated Press' Christy Lemire, gave it a negative review. Fan response to those critics became so venomous on the review aggregator site RottenTomatoes.com that it suspended user comments late Monday.

Appearing at Wednesday's London premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises," Nolan was quick to defend fans' 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 weighed in on conservative 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," he said.

Morgan Freeman, who plays Lucius Fox, called the contention "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.

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  • Anne Hathaway As Catwoman

  • Christian Bale & Anne Hathaway

  • Tom Hardy As Bane

  • Christian Bale As Batman

  • Tom Hardy as Bane

  • Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate

  • Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox

  • Anne Hathaway

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Gary Oldman

  • Christian Bale & Michael Caine

  • The Tumbler

  • Tom Hardy & Christian Bale

  • Tom Hardy As Bane

  • Christian Bale

  • Christian Bale

  • Christian Bale

  • Anne Hathaway as Catwoman

  • Christopher Nolan

  • Christopher Nolan

  • Anne Hathaway

  • Christopher Nolan

  • Gary Oldman

  • Morgan Freeman & Christian Bale

  • Morgan Freeman

  • Anne Hathaway

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Marion Cotillard

  • Nolan, Freeman, Bale

  • Tom Hardy

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Matthew Modine

  • Tom Hardy

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt

  • Michael Caine