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July 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Joe Morgenstern

The movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has restored user comments about The Dark Knight Rises — some 4,000 of them after yanking them because of a deluge of vicious and threatening comments directed at reviewers who had criticized the film. The website tends to view mixed reviews of movies as positive, something that veteran Wall Street Journal critic Joe Morgenstern appears grateful for. Referring to the death threats that had been posted by some angry fans aimed at one critic who had voiced strong criticism of the film, Morgenstern wrote: “I may have saved my life without realizing it by liking The Dark Knight Rises sufficiently — or disliking it with sufficient restraint — to have my review categorized as ‘ripe’ rather than ‘rotten’ on Rotten Tomatoes.” Lamenting the fact that popular discourse on the Internet “has been growing ever more poisonous,” Morgenstern commented, “The Dark Knight ‘s acolytes don’t have a monopoly on intolerance of dissent. They’re part of a rising tide that threatens to drown Internet discussion in shrill opinion.” Nevertheless he urged that the comments be restored after the “clearly intolerable” ones are removed. “Free speech for the many shouldn’t fall victim to abuse by the few,” he concluded. Meanwhile director Christopher Nolan has defended the angry commenters, telling the Associated Press, “I think the fans are very passionate about these characters.” It was not clear whether Nolan included those who were posting death threats.