I guess some spoilers below about The Dark Knight/The Dark Knight Rises? But if you haven’t seen it by now, why are you even reading this blog?
I don’t think the proprietor of AICN watched TDKR. At least, not the same one I watched. Let’s leave aside the complaints from his original review—”ZOMG, NERD RED ALERT, Bane isn’t exactly like he is in the comics GAH”—and instead focus on one bit from his Blu-ray review:
Batman quitting because a bad guy killed his girlfriend…. PISSES ME THE FUCK OFF. I hate it. It runs counter to everything I believe regarding the character.
But, that’s, that’s … that’s not why he quit! Did he even watch The Dark Knight? Does he remember what happens at the end of that film, how [spoiler!] the Batman took responsibility for Harvey Dent’s crimes in order to keep his memory alive and give the city a chance to clean up the streets and heal, post-Joker? I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable to think that Bruce Wayne, unable to put on the cowl and stripped of the one person in the world he truly loves, would mope around Wayne Manor for a decade. It’s not like the dude has to work. But Bruce Wayne didn’t “quit” being the Batman because Rachel Dawes was murdered. That’s simply an incorrect reading of the series.
If anything, Bruce Wayne quit being Bruce Wayne after Rachel’s death. Gone was the playboy lifestyle, the semi-interested-in-business scion of a failing empire. Instead, he retreated to his home where he could limp around and feel sorry for himself. That’s why Alfred is so distraught in The Dark Knight Rises when Wayne decides to once again become the Batman. He wanted Wayne to once again become Wayne. People always say “Bruce Wayne is the mask that Batman wears.” There is no better demonstration of that argument than this film.
Anyway, I could see having trouble with Nolan’s reading of the character—in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, for instance, Bruce Wayne continues to attend fundraisers and hobnob even after he quits being Batman. But, honestly, I’m not sure I buy Miller’s reading of the character. Does Wayne seem like the type who would keep up appearances for the sake of the common folk?