I’ve spoken to three persons who attended one of the two screenings yesterday of The Dark Knight Rises in Manhattan. Without being specific or spoilery it seems fair to generally summarize at least some of what they said. So here are the main observations, starting with the most positive and working our way down:

(a) “It’s going to be huge…dramatically and thematically a very powerful film,” says one. “It’s a special kind of blockbuster,” a somewhat younger media guy says. “The Avengers is a joke next to this…I know a good movie when I see one.” Another claims that “it’s better than both of the Joel Schumacher [Batman] films and the two Tim Burton versions put together.”

(b) One responder feels that “the best thing about it are the performances by Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon Levitt.”

(c) The geekboy known as “c*mfckn*w” who tweeted after last Friday night’s junket screening that “if this does not break the mold and win Best Picture, no comic-book movie ever will”…this guy is delusional, I’m told. TDKR will be a box-office behemoth, but like TDK and BB before, it’s just not Best Picture material. Certainly not as the average Academy member defines that term.

(d) It’s strong but quite long, and in one person’s view “not that compelling…there’s a really solid 115 or 120 minute drama with action in there [but Nolan] has made this huge bloated thing that runs two hours and 40 minutes.”

(e) Tom Hardy‘s Bane is an unmistakably strong figure in and of himself, but he’s no match for Heath Ledger‘s Joker. He just doesn’t deliver the same bark and spark that Ledger gave to The Dark Knight.

The rest of the reactions are too spoilery to mention.