By Matt Singer | Criticwire July 16, 2012 at 11:04AM
The embargo finally fell at midnight Pacific time, and "The Dark Knight Rises" reviews appeared. They are almost uniformly positive -- and even more than positive, they are almost uniformly gushy. As good as the previous two Batman films by Christopher Nolan? Most say yes, a few say no -- because it's even better than the previous two Batman films. Holy unreachable expectations, Batman!
To help kill time until Friday (or, let's be honest, Thursday at midnight), I've assembled as many early "Dark Knight Rises" reviews as I could find;
fourteen nineteen in all so far (I'll keep adding more as they come in, at least through the early part of the week). If you're trying to avoid Bat-spoilers, you may want to click through with Bat-caution; don't call me the Bane of your existence if you find something you didn't want to read.
All right I think I've exhausted my supply of horrible puns. Here are the reviews.
"Here is a film of granite, monolithic intensity; a superhero romp so serious that it borders on the comical, like a children's fancy-dress party scripted by Victor Hugo and scored by Wagner."
"Running an exhilarating, exhausting 164 minutes, Nolan's trilogy-capping epic sends Batman to a literal pit of despair, restoring him to the core of a legend that questions, and powerfully affirms, the need for heroism in a fallen world."
"The scope here is unashamedly novelistic, and although the plotting of the film’s first act is arguably muddled, Nolan’s sheer formal audacity means the stakes feel skin-pricklingly high at all times."
"A dark, downbeat film populated by conflicted characters and with apocalyptic overtones."
"A cinematic, cultural and personal triumph, 'The Dark Knight Rises' is emotionally inspiring, aesthetically significant and critically important for America itself -- as a mirror of both sober reflection and resilient hope."
"If there’s a slight sense of disappointment that this sequel can’t match the heights of the first two films, there’s no shame in a major studio tentpole daring to let its reach exceed its grasp."
"Nolan creates a grand, dirty, engrossing world, and his action sequences just hum."
"For audiences who want smart storytelling with their adrenaline rush, 'The Dark Knight Rises"... is as profoundly moving as it is dynamic."
"'The Dark Knight Rises' deserves credit for having the gall to speed right out of the gate and never fully slow down."
"Christopher Nolan concludes his Batman trilogy in typically spectacular, ambitious fashion with 'The Dark Knight Rises,' but the feeling of frustration and disappointment is unshakable."
"A smart, stirring spectacle that faces down impossible expectations to pull off a hugely satisfying end to business."
"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."
"I suspect that the reaction to the film will be hotly divided, but I'm firmly on the side that this is a triumph, a victory for all involved, and one of the year's most impressive efforts so far in any genre, on any subject."
"'The Dark Knight Rises' is a fine film in a strong summer, but it lacks the spark that made its immediate predecessor a masterpiece."
"'Rises' may lack the surprise of 'Begins' or the anarchy of 'Knight,' but it makes up for that in pure emotion."
"'The Dark Knight Rises' is, finally, the best of the Nolan Batman films."
"'The Dark Knight Rises' is intelligent, heart-pounding spectacle cinema that grips like a vice from minute one and won't let go."
"The plot is impossibly convoluted from the outset, and hardly improves."
"'The Dark Knight Rises' is a fitting emotional and narrative conclusion to this particular interpretation of the enduring story of Bruce Wayne the man and Batman the legend."