'The Dark Knight Rises': What the Critics are Saying

Warner Bros. Pictures

Christopher Nolan's Batman finale retires the legacy to rave reviews.

The Dark Knight Rises opens Friday, July 20, as this summer's most anticipated movie. Starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne and features performances from series newcomers Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this last installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy comes four years since the last Batman film.

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See what the critics are saying about The Dark Knight Rises below:

The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy has high praise for the film for its cinematic brilliance, saying the movie is "big-time Hollywood filmmaking at its most massively accomplished ... this last installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy makes everything in the rival Marvel universe look thoroughly silly and childish."

FILM REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises

McCarthy also adds that the last of the Batman series is "entirely enveloping and at times unnerving in a relevant way one would never have imagined, as a cohesive whole this ranks as the best of Nolan's trio, even if it lacks -- how could it not? -- an element as unique as Heath Ledger's immortal turn in The Dark Knight. It's a blockbuster by any standard."

Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers raises issue with the "reactionary politics and franchisefeeder ending" of the trilogy, but applauds the film as being "the King Daddy of summer movie epics."  Travers observes that "for nearly three hours, Nolan juggles themes that took root in 2005's Batman Begins and reached doomsday perfection in 2008's The Dark Knight with the late Heath Ledger's masterful, Oscar- winning performance as the Joker."

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Richard Corliss of Time magazine compares The Dark Knight Rises to the summer box office hit The Avengers saying, "The movie may not top The Avengers at the worldwide box office, but it is a far, far better thing — maybe the best, most troubling, assured and enthralling of all the superhero movies," and adds that, "The Avengers is kid stuff compared with this meditation on mortal loss and heroic frailty. For once a melodrama with pulp origins convinces viewers that it can be the modern equivalent to Greek myths or a Jonathan Swift satire."

Corliss goes on to conclude that the Batman finale is "a film of grand ambitions and epic achievement. The most eagerly anticipated movie of summer 2012 was worth waiting for."

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Indiewire's Eric Kohn, however, says that the film "feels simultaneously speedy and lethargic, with plenty of unremarkable cutaways and exchanges given unnecessary weight thanks to Hans Zimmer's routinely invasive score."

Tom Huddleston of Time Out London finds "as in the previous films, Nolan and his co-writer, his brother Jonathan, draw on real-world issues to spice up the fantasy, and with dubious results: with its rampaging Occupy Gotham anarchists, philanthropic billionaires and decent cops who ignore due process, this is so staunchly right-wing it’ll thrill all those Fox News anchors outraged by The Muppets."