BOSTON (CBS) – The early reviews of Mark Wahlberg’s movie about the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt are beginning to trickle in, and so far, critics seem to approve.

The Guardian calls “Patriots Day” “tense yet respectful.”

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“It’s clear this is meant to be a positive homage to Boston, its spirit and its residents,” the review states.

The movie also gets praise from Variety, which says the “intense, jittery re-creation” of the bombing focuses more on the heroes instead of the terrorists.

Michelle Monaghan (Carol Saunders) stands on the sidelines of the Boston Marathon in Patriots Day(CBS Films)

Michelle Monaghan (Carol Saunders) stands on the sidelines of the Boston Marathon in Patriots Day(CBS Films)

“’Patriots Day’ is no rush-job TV movie; it’s genuinely exciting megaplex entertainment, informed by extensive research, featuring bona fide movie stars, and staged with equal degrees of professionalism and respect,” Variety says.

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The Hollywood Reporter is a little more mixed in its assessment. The film is described as “well cast and technically impressive,” but the review says Wahlberg’s fictional police sergeant Tommy Saunders is “the least interesting of the men of duty he’s played.”

Mark Wahlberg (Sgt. Tommy Saunders) and Michelle Monaghan (Carol Saunders) in Patriots Day. (CBS Films)

Mark Wahlberg (Sgt. Tommy Saunders) and Michelle Monaghan (Carol Saunders) in Patriots Day. (CBS Films)

Director Peter Berg is applauded by Indie Wire for including interviews with the actual survivors at the end of the movie, “a heartfelt, harrowing tribute to the film’s real-life heroes.”

Also starring in the film and featured in the trailer are Michelle Monaghan as nurse Carol Saunders, John Goodman as Police Commissioner Ed Davis, Kevin Bacon as FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers, and J.K. Simmons as Watertown Police Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese.

The movie will be released in theaters in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles on December 21, and will have a nationwide opening January 13.

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Patriots Day is being produced by WBZ-TV’s sister company CBS Films.