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GOTHAM CITY - "The Dark Knight Rises" is days away from opening and the anticipation is high. Fans are not only excited to see the conclusion to the Christopher Nolan trilogy, but to see if the film can live up to the massive hype around it.
Rises' predecessor, "The Dark Knight" made over $1 billion worldwide and is considered by many as the greatest superhero movie ever made. So, can the new Batman film live up to "The Dark Knight" or even surpass it? While we won't know for ourselves until Friday, critics have already had a look at the new film and reviews are starting to pour in and it's hard to find anything but praise for Christopher Nolan and the Batman team.
"Director Christopher Nolan and his team have delivered the grandest, most emotional and superheroic chapter in their Batman saga" wrote IGN's Jim Vejvoda.
"A Cinematic 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," wrote The Playlists' Todd Gilchrist.
While almost all of the reviews, so far, praise the Batman finale, some point out that despite being an excellent film it falls short of "The Dark Knight."
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"A Fine film in a strong summer," wrote Amy Nicholson of Boxoffice Magazine. "But it lacks the spark that made its immediate predecessor (The Dark Knight) a masterpiece."
"If it never quite matches the brilliance of 2008's ‘The Dark Knight,'" wrote Variety's Justin Chang. "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."
At this point finding a negative review is difficult, but search long enough and you will find at least one.
"At times, the action is so massive and thunderously clunky that I might as well have been watching one of the Transformer movies," complained Hollywood & Fine's Marshall Fine.
Fine's negative review makes sense considering he also panned "The Dark Knight" claiming the film was "too in love with itself."
"The Dark Knight Rises" has its work cut out for it as it tries to win a summer that has been dominated by a superhero team.
"The Avengers" broke all kinds of records and surpassed "The Dark Knight" as the third highest grossing movie in history by more than $80 million. While it seems nearly impossible "The Dark Knight Rises" can beat out "The Avengers" when it comes to dollars and cents, many are wondering how Batman will stack up against the Marvel superhero team.
While more and more comparisons of the two films are inevitable, Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter was one of the first to weigh in on the superhero battle.
"Big-time Hollywood filmmaking at its most massively accomplished," wrote McCarthy. "This last installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy makes everything on the rival Marvel universe look thoroughly silly and childish."
While McCarthy's review might sound like a slap-to-the- face to "The Avengers," keep in mind that he loved Joss Whedon's take on the superhero team-up.
"This is effects-driven, mass-appeal summer fare par excellence, that sought-after rare bird that hits all the quadrants," McCarthy wrote of "The Avengers." "Joss Whedon has adroitly balanced the celebrity circus to give every single one of the superstar characters his or her due."
"The Dark Knight Rises" lands in theaters Friday July 20th.
Do you think "The Dark Knight Rises" can live up to the hype? Will it do "The Dark Knight" justice? Can it beat out "The Avengers" or will it fall epically short? Tell us on the comment boards and on Facebook.