Batman fans at Alternate Realities comic book shop in Scarsdale reflected Wednesday afternoon on "The Dark Knight Rises," which will be in theaters nationwide this Friday.

There's plenty of buzz surrounding the last of the three Batman films directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale. Fans have dissected its trailer for months, critics are weighing in (and, in at least one case, receiving death threats for a negative review), and industry executives are salivating, to say the least: The franchise's predecessor, "The Dark Knight," made $1 billion worldwide.

Among the Hudson Valley residents excited for the new film is Frank Spadaccini of Dobbs Ferry. "I've been a Batman fan forever," said Spadaccini, 42. "I used to watch the '60s show; I still DVR the '60s one, and I DVR everything that catches the keyword, 'Batman.'"

Spadaccini calls "The Dark Knight" one of his favorite movies, largely due to the late Heath Ledger's Academy Award-winning performance as one of Batman's most notorious nemeses, The Joker. This time around, Spadaccini is looking forward to how the movie handles the villainous Bane, played by actor Tom Hardy.

"I hope they do it true to the comic," he said, referring to specific plot lines that may or may not spoil the movie, so we'll skip the details. "Anything in this movie that has any of those story elements would be interesting."

Spadaccini considers Bale to be the best actor to play Batman, but Mohegan Lake resident Ed Fonzo has a different pick. "Michael Keaton, because he was the most realistic," said Fonzo, 46. "Christian Bale is a great actor ... but, to me, Michael Keaton was just a regular guy [playing] a torn character. ... He seemed like a guy who was most likely to be living next door, who could be Batman. Christian Bale is too Hollywood for me."

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Regardless of who's playing Batman, Fonzo said the Dark Knight is "one of the coolest comic book characters ever."

Another fan who prefers Keaton to Bale is 16-year-old Fishkill resident Nick Delfico. Sporting a T-shirt with the shield of Captain America on the front, Delfico said Batman is second only to Spider-Man on his list of favorite superheroes.

While he's excited for "The Dark Knight Rises," Delfico said that he loved the conclusion of "The Dark Knight" so much that he wishes that it were the final film of the Nolan-Bale trilogy. He's hoping for more Batman movies in the future, but under one condition.

"They should never make the Dark Knight die," Delfico said. "The legend should continue."

Overseeing the Batman debates was Anthony Desiato of Hartsdale, a 25-year-old manager at Alternate Realities (700 Central Park Ave., Scarsdale; 914-723-7950; He says he's been waiting for the latest Batman movie for quite some time.

"I got my tickets for [Friday] night at midnight, and I got my tickets in June," said Desiato, who will see the film in IMAX at the City Center in White Plains. "With a lot of the superhero trilogies, they tend to falter with the third movie -- and I'm mainly thinking of Spider-Man, X-Men, Blade -- so, the fact that it looks like this is going to be a strong finish to the series, I'm excited. I'm excited to see a superhero trilogy conclude well."

Although Bale is his favorite Batman, Desiato said he was not upset that "The Dark Knight" will be the last collaboration between the actor and Nolan.

"I'm happy that they're going out on their own terms," he said.

Even without Bale and Nolan, more Batman movies are a near-certainty, especially given the financial success of this summer's superhero movies. "The Avengers" and "The Amazing Spider-Man" have saved the day at the box office with record-breaking debuts and steady performances thereafter. But what is it about Batman, in particular, that inspires so many fans and sells so many tickets? Is it the intrigue? The action? The humanity?

"He's tough," said Delfico, who also marveled at the fact that Batman rarely kills his enemies.

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Fonzo offered a common response among comic-book fans, nothing that it's "because he doesn't have any superpowers."

Desiato agreed with Fonzo, adding, "Pretty much anyone could be Batman, except it's expensive."

Spadaccini has his own reason for America's obsession with Batman: "[He's a] normal dude who's rich, with gadgets."