Christmas came early for comic book nerds. Within hours of each other, both The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man unveiled new movie posters this week. (See both images below.) The new promo for the final installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy features new villain Bane walking away from a shattered Caped Crusader mask with a tagline that reads, "The Legend Ends." The Amazing Spider-Man's poster is similarly monochromatic, picturing star Andrew Garfield scaling a brick wall with a long spider silhouette as his shadow. It too has a short-and-sweet tagline: "The Untold Story." The Dark Knight Rises will be released July 18, while The Amazing Spider-Man hits theaters July 4. Here, three things critics and fans are buzzing about as they dissect the new posters:

1. Spider-Man looks surprisingly dark
Many recent superhero films can be classified in one of two ways, says Darren Franich at Entertainment Weekly: The "moody Nolanesque thriller," like The Dark Knight, and the "sprightly Favreauvian action-comedy," like Iron Man. The new Spider-Man poster has the "same shadowy aesthetic color scheme" as the new Dark Knight Rises poster, hinting that this new Spider-Man film will tread in a darker milieu. That may not be a good thing, says Trevor Gentry-Birnbaum at What Culture. Recent depictions of Spider-Man, including the Sam Raimi films, portrayed the hero as a "Charlie Brown-esque loser." With Dark Knight Rises already staking claim on the "grim, gritty, and serious" territory, The Amazing Spider-Man might want to keep it light.

2. Batman might not survive The Dark Knight Rises
Nolan has said repeatedly that he intends for Dark Knight Rises to be a "genuine conclusion" to his Batman trilogy, and this new poster proves he isn't lying, says Franich. Bane seems to be on a victory march away from a defeated Batman. A tagline reading "The Legend Ends" only adds fuel to the question nagging fans of the series: "Could they actually kill off Batman?"

3. In the end, the Batman poster wins
Both posters have simplistic designs, relying on "a dark shadowed look," says Laura Vees at Snark Food. But with its broken Batman mask and such a haunting tagline, the Dark Knight Rises poster "grabs you and shakes you," while the Amazing Spider-Man poster settles for merely being "rather cool." In fact, "you sort of have to feel sorry for Spider-Man," says Simon Brew at Den of Geek. Just as The Amazing Spider-Man starts getting some buzz with its new poster, "along comes Batman to steal his thunder."

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