Early 'The Dark Knight Rises' Reviews Overwhelmingly Positive

The early reviews are trickling forth, and though not quite as unanimously overwhelming as those for 2008's "The Dark Knight," Christopher Nolan's concluding Batman chapter "The Dark Knight Rises" has been received largely as a worthy successor and final chapter.

Well, actually...the trilogy highlight is exactly what The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy calls it. He claims that it's invoking of real-world terrorism, financial collapse and political turmoil makes "silly and childish" affairs of Marvel's "The Avengers" with its gravitas.

"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," he wrote.

Richard Corliss' take for Time further's the Batman-for-grown-ups/Avengers-for-kids disparity. He lays the trilogy conclusion amid some lofty literary peers, as well as the highlights of 2012.

"For once a melodrama with pulp origins convinces viewers that it can be the modern equivalent to Greek myths or a Jonathan Swift satire," Corliss opined. "'TDKR' is that big, that bitter - a film of grand ambitions and epic achievement. The most eagerly anticipated movie of summer 2012 was worth waiting for."

Upon ever film, a little rain must fall.

Variety's Justin Chang thought highly of "TDKR" but noted that "it never quite matches the brilliance of 2008's 'The Dark Knight.'" The U.K. Daily Mail's Chris Tookey believes its reach not only extends beyond its grasp, but that's it's more sizzle than steak.

"'The Dark Knight Rises' is not as repellently sadistic as its immediate predecessor, but it has pretensions vastly beyond its capabilities, and the special effects drown out the narrative," Tookey wrote.

Christy Lemire's Associated Press recap minces few words slotting "TDKR" far below "The Dark Knight." In fact, she claims, all that's wrong with Nolan's third film succeeds in making his second look all the better.

"There's so much going on here, though, with so many new characters who are all meant to function in significant ways that 'The Dark Knight Rises' feels overloaded, and sadly lacking the spark that gave 2008's 'The Dark Knight' such vibrancy," she said. "The absence of Heath Ledger, who won a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of the anarchic and truly frightening Joker, is really obvious here."

MSN's Glenn Kenny took a tough-but-fair approach.

It's an excellent crime saga, he said. The action and special effects accomplish an overwhelming mission. On the other hand, it makes a costumed vigilante too much the vehicle for higher-brow social commentary and socio-political indictment.

"The movie crams in a little more superhero-movie-as-civics-class stuff than I subjectively needed, although I understand how it's kind of crucial to the larger moral thesis Nolan's trying to attach to his story," Kenny said. "Call me parochial, but I'm not sure the world actually needs the Tolstoy of the superhero movie, if such a position is even tenable."

"The Dark Knight Rises" hits theaters July 20th.

For more reviews, head over to BuzzFeed's early roundup.