'Dark Knight Rises' reviews whet the appetite even more for the final Batman installment

christian-bale-anne-hathaway-dark-knight-rises.jpg "The Dark Knight Rises," the third and final installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman franchise reboot starring Christian Bale as the caped crusader, has lifted the embargo on the first round of reviews. And if you were already excited, the reviews will not do anything to put a damper on that.

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter writes, " 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."

Variety's Justin Chang says, "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. If it never quite matches the brilliance of 2008's "The Dark Knight," this hugely ambitious action-drama nonetheless retains the moral urgency and serious-minded pulp instincts that have made the Warners franchise a beacon of integrity in an increasingly comicbook-driven Hollywood universe. Global B.O. domination awaits."

Drew McWeeny of HitFix writes, "
We may never see superhero films quite like these again, and that's fine.  Nolan had something special to say with his time in the trenches, and he's ended on his own terms.  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."

Time Out's Tom Huddleston says, " We've been witness to something truly impressive: a seven-year cinematic adventure which combined the epic and the personal in dizzying, inventive, sometimes perplexing, often enthralling, always imaginative ways."

So far, there really isn't a bad review out there. Just varying degrees of enthusiasm. That's not to say there won't be a negative review, but what we've read so far has only amped up our excitement and anticipation for the final chapter.

"The Dark Knight Rises" opens nationwide July 20.

Photo/Video credit: Warner Bros.