Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan’s final Batman film, “The Dark Knight Rises.” is winning critical acclaim in early reviews. The film is slated to debut in U.S. Theaters this weekend, (July 20). It could be summer’s biggest blockbuster.

Dark Knight has been riding a wave of hype over the past month, with the release of photos and several trailers and clips.

They teased plenty of action and pathos with Batman’s fate supposedly decided by film’s end.

So far, critics like what they see.

Dark Knight Rises at the Box Office
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Review tracking site rottentomatoes has logged 20 reviews so far. The film has an overwhelming approval rate of 95 percent, equal to blockbuster “The Hunger Games.”

“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,” wrote Justin Chang, in Hollywood trade paper Variety.

Added Todd McCarthy of trade paper Hollywood Reporter:

“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.”

While the trades are typically fawning, the film also got an over-the-top endorsement from Peter Travers of Rolling Stone.

“Potent and provocative, The Dark Knight Rises is the King Daddy of summer movie epics,” he wrote.

Influential critics from major outlets like USAToday and The New York Times have yet to weigh in on the film, and not all the reviews have been positive.

“At times, the action is so massive and thunderously clunky that I might as well have been watching one of the Transformers,” panned Marshall Fine of Web site Hollywood & Fine.

In Nolan’s final Batman trilogy, the caped crusader makes a last stand against his arch-nemesis Bane, played by Tom Hardy.

Film regulars Michael Caine (Alfred Pennyworth), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) and Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon) are joined by Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as cop John Blake and Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate.

In what may be good news from Batman fans, one critic suggests that even through the Nolan series is ending, the door is left open to yet another sequel.

“The final shot clearly indicates the direction a follow-up offshoot series by Warner Brothers will likely take,” McCarthy writes.