17th Jul 2012 12:31pm | By Batman correspondent, London
The Dark Knight Rises has elicited mainly positive, gushing reviews from critics after its first screenings around the country.
Empire magazine called it "superhero filmmaking on an unprecedented scale" and awarded the film, starring Christian Bale, Tom Hardy and Anne Hathaway, a five-star rating.
Writer Nev Pierce wrote: "Rises may lack the surprise of Begins or the anarchy of Knight, but it makes up for that in pure emotion. A fitting epitaph for the hero Gotham deserves."
Total Film writer Matthew Leyland was pleasantly suprised by the film's more tender moments
"Gruff, gritty and gothic though it is, TDKR may bring a lump to your throat that isn't popcorn-related," he wrote.
And Xan Brooks of The Guardian described Christopher Nolan's work as a film of granite, monolithic intensity.
" [This is] 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," he wrote.
The Daily Mail was unimpressed, though – the paper describing the film as "overlong" and "humourless".
The Mail handed out only two stars and was highly crticial of new baddie Bane, moaning that he was "practically inaudible" because his facemask.
Such a criticism was levelled during teaser clips of The Dark Knight Rises, but producers did promise to fix any sound problems.