"Few blockbusters have borne so heavy a burden of audience expectation as [director] Christopher Nolan's final Batman caper, and the filmmaker steps up to the occasion with a cataclysmic vision of Gotham City under siege in The Dark Knight Rises," writes Variety's Justin Chang. "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 comic book-driven Hollywood universe."
"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," notes The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy. "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."
The Dark Knight Rises doesn't lack for ambition or vision," states Tim Grierson over atScreen Daily. "Nonetheless, this final installment in director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy is the first of the series not to smoothly execute its grand aspirations. The film suffers a bit from a glut of new characters, but is helped along by Nolan's continued insistence on emotional resonance over mindless spectacle."
"With spectacle in abundance and sexiness in (supporting) parts, this is superhero filmmaking on an unprecedented scale," offers Empire's Nev Pierce. "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."
"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 victor for all involved," writes Drew McWeeny of HitFlix. "Whoever Warner Bros hires to reboot the Batman films a few years from now, I wish you luck. The bar is as high as it could possibly be."