The Dark Knight Rises wins praise from critics
Critics have rushed to praise new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, calling it "spectacular" and "bleak, black and brilliant".
It marks the final instalment in British director Christopher Nolan's trilogy, starring Christian Bale.
The Telegraph said "a breathless, bravura final act" brings the story to "a ferociously satisfying close".
However the Daily Mail branded the film, released in the UK on 20 July, "humourless" and "overlong".
Awarding The Dark Knight Rises just two stars, the paper said new baddie Bane, played by Tom Hardy, was "practically inaudible" because of the character's facemask worn throughout.
But Bane "steals the show" according to The Mirror: "The headline act may be a man in a black rubber suit but the real star of The Dark Knight Rises is Batman's nightmarish nemesis, Bane."
Reviewer David Edwards called the film, "the sulky, brooding brother of the recent Spider-Man flick".
The Telegraph writer Robbie Collins singled out Joseph Gordon-Levitt's rookie cop John Blake as the character Bruce Wayne is forced to share the limelight with.
He called the film: "A lucid, sinewy crime epic closer to Michael Mann's Heat and Coppola's second Godfather film than anything Marvel Studios has yet produced".'Unprecedented scale'
The Guardian agreed the film stands apart from other recent comic book movies, calling it "a corrective to the jumpsuit antics of The Avengers".
"Here is a film of granite, monolithic intensity; 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," wrote Xan Brooks.
Many praised Nolan's directing skills, along with Anne Hathaway's turn as cat burglar Selina Kyle, while Matthew Leyland from Total Film magazine was impressed with the action 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," said Leyland.
He also championed Christian Bale's performance as "never more vulnerable, likeable or willing to get his gloves dirty, pushing to new emotional depths for his final Gotham go-around".
Giving the film another five star review, Empire magazine called it "superhero filmmaking on an unprecedented scale".
Referencing the other films in Nolan's trilogy, Nev Pierce said: "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."