With the 'The Dark Knight Rises' now just days away from release, fans, writers and even conspiracy theorists are speculating on all sorts of topics linked to Christopher Nolan's final Batman movie. Earlier this week, it was claimed that Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character in the movie was actually the Caped Crusader's trusty sidekick Robin, albeit masquerading as a Manhattan police officer.

Now, there is some concern - from right wing circles anyway - as to the political message of the film. Eyebrows were certainly raised when the relatively obscure villain 'Bane' was announced as the primary bad-guy in the film, though Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh claims that it's all a thinly veiled attack on the Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Speaking on his syndicated radio show on Tuesday (July 17, 2012), Mr Limbaugh suggested that 'Bane' was designed to get Americans thinking about the 'Bain' Capital Investment Fund, in the lead-up to the Presidential Elections in November. And why would Christopher Nolan want audiences to take their minds back to the 1980s? Well, Bain is the investment fund that Romney founded, at which he allegedly made a huge number of layoffs. Explaining his theory, Limbaugh said, "A lot of people are going to see the movie. And it's a lot of brain-dead people - entertainment, the pop culture crowd - and they're going to hear Bane in the movie and they're going to associate Bain.And the thought is that when they're going to start paying attention to the campaign later in the year and Obama and the Democrats keep talking about Bain, not Bain Capital but Romney and Bain, that these people will start thinking back to the Batman movies: 'Oh yeah, I know who that is!".

Of course, Bane was not invented by Nolan, nor the writers of The Dark Knight Rises, instead first coming to prominence in the 1993 Batman comic book 'Knightfall'. Also, the decision to write the villain into the script came far before Mitt Romney had even started his campaign to become the Republican candidate. However, if the film is apolitical, how does Nolan account for the themes of economic frailty and terrorism in the movie's plot? Actor Gary Oldman answered that one during a recent discussion with MTV News, saying, "I think it's what people read into it.At the time, I don't think two years ago, two-and-a-half years ago, that you can predict that. You can take the temperature of something, but you can't - as brilliant as Christopher Nolan is, he doesn't have a crystal ball. So, it's very much culture and our consciousness, isn't it? Our subconscious, where we're at in the world right now. So, you can read in rather than read out".