With the deadly shooting in Aurora, Colo., inside a packed movie theater showing "The Dark Knight Rises," questions are being raised as to whether there is any connection between the killings and the movie's plot and the character of Batman.
In "The Dark Knight Rises," a masked villain leads a murderous crew into a packed football stadium and wages an attack involving guns and explosives. It's just one of the more haunting scenes in what was one of the most anticipated movies of the summer, if not the year.
It's unclear whether the shooter's motives had any specific link to "The Dark Knight Rises." The shooting happened at 12:30, not far into the midnight screening that marked the film's opening day.
Violent attacks on the public by villains are key components of most superhero movies, including "The Avengers" and "The Amazing Spider-man," both in theaters now. By Hollywood standards, the Batman movies are more grim than bloody.
But there are general parallels to the Colorado shooting, "The Dark Knight" and the comic book character:
-- Bruce Wayne's drive to become Batman arose from witnessing the deaths of his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne, at the hands of small-time criminal Joe Chill, who shot and killed them after they had left a movie theater.
-- The Batman video game called "Arkham City" takes place in an abandoned movie theater (The Monarch, outside of which Bruce Wayne's parents were killed).
-- In the third issue of DC Comics' "Batman: The Dark Knight," a gritty retooling of the Batman character that was written by Frank Miller in the 1980s, the Joker kills an entire late-night TV audience with gas.
-- In the same book, a man starts shooting up a porn theater after getting fired from his job.
-- "The Dark Knight Rises" features at least two scenes where unsuspecting people are attacked in a public venue: the stock exchange and a football stadium.