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The blockbuster sequel to one of 2008’s most successful movies is about to collide with the blockbuster sequel to one of 2008’s least successful presidential campaigns.

Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” the final movie in his Batman trilogy, will hit theaters on July 19th — right in the middle of the presidential campaign — and if Mitt Romney wins the Republican nomination as expected, he will likely be dogged by some uncomfortable comparisons between his business record and Nolan’s movie.

For starters, the villain of “The Dark Knight Rises” is named “Bane,” while the private equity firm that Romney founded is named “Bain.” They are pronounced the same way. Given the fact that some opening night screenings of Nolan’s movie are already sold out, one can expect a lot of pop culture buzz about an evil Bane — precisely what Romney doesn’t need after months of being slammed for “vulture capitalism” during his time at Bain Capital.

Tom Hardy, the actor who portrays Bane, describes his character as “Brutal. He’s a big dude who’s incredibly clinical, in the fact that he has a result-based and oriented fighting style.” Replace “dude” with “firm” and “fighting style” with “business strategy,” and Hardy could’ve easily been describing Bain.

The similarities don’t end there; the trailer for “The Dark Knight Rises,” which was partially filmed just blocks away from Zuccotti Park, is full of Occupy Wall Street themes.

The preview depicts police and military battling on the steps of a City Hall-like building, and angry rioters smashing valuables in a mansion. At one point the character Selina Kyle (played by Anne Hathaway) whispers to Batman’s billionaire alter-ego Bruce Wayne (played by Christian Bale), “Do you think this can last? There’s a storm coming Mr. Wayne. And you and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all going to wonder how you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.”

If the movie featured a scene where someone directs Bruce Wayne to cut the “pious baloney,” as Newt Gingrich dubbed Mitt Romney’s protestations that he wasn’t a politician, it could practically be renamed “When Bruce Wayne Came To Town.”

Given that Bane was announced as the new Batman villain four months before Romney officially announced his presidential candidacy, it’s highly unlikely that Nolan was intentionally attempting to take a shot at Romney. Still, the parallel between Romney’s campaign and “The Dark Knight Rises” will be a fun subplot to watch during the summer dog days of the presidential race.

 

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