But I don't recall him going "I don't want to be Bruce Wayne anymore" in the Pit. So then why couldn't he live as Bruce Wayne? Why does he need to fake his own death on both counts?
No one knows Bruce Wayne is Batman. No one's hunting him as either one of them. Had Batman been outed as Bruce Wayne...then yes, Bruce faking his and Batman's death would have made some sense. But he wasn't. No one knew Bruce was Batman but Gordon.
It seems they just wanted melodrama. Dramatic statue unveiling scene. Speeches. The scene with Fox. Alfred crying. Etc.
The bottom line is that based on what's in the film, he apparently fakes his death for no apparent reason other than being dramatic, and to make The Batman a symbol...which The Batman was anyway, and would have been had he saved Gotham and survived, especially since Blake was apparently going to take over as Batman.
Even with that, I can see why Batman would fake his death, to allow Bruce an exit.
But why the hell would Bruce Wayne need to appear dead as well?
Its like he faked his death for no reason.
So Bruce needs to completely telegraph his endgame to us in the pit? I don't agree with that at all.
I also wasn't saying Bruce retires BECAUSE he saved Gotham from a nuclear annihilation. It's just that if you look at it that way, it seems like a great way for him to go out. If you're gonna retire Batman, that's not a bad way. Just like I thought at first, "okay well if they're gonna kill Batman, a mushroom cloud is a pretty badass way to go out"
The reason he fakes his death as both Wayne and Batman is simple: he wants a life away from Gotham. Alfred's words about there being nothing there for him but pain and tragedy finally sink in. Not to mention the other added benefits of turning Batman into a symbol, the Manor into an orphanage. It's his way of starting over.
Yes, the Nolans chose to keep us out of Bruce's head there until the very end. But that's why I love it. It's a very devious, methodical, and darkly heroic thing Batman/Bruce does at the end. He puts the few people he cares about in the world through hell to achieve his endgame. He's not Jesus on the cross dying to save the world. He's friggin' Batman. I love how the ending reinforced that. It also played off Bruce's paranoia for him to truly sever his ties to everyone like that.
Did the Nolans and Goyer choose to present it that way because they wanted drama, speeches, crying, etc? Well, sure. And it paid off in spades for me.
You don't have to like it The Guard, I'm sure you will debunk everything I've said here blow by blow and explain why it didn't have to be that way, but all I'm saying is that for me and many others, the ending worked emotionally, it worked for the character, and it was as satisfying a conclusion to Batman's story as I've ever seen, even if I could have more or less guessed it. The execution of it, the music, Bruce's funeral, Caine's performance...it had impact.
When you watch the movie a second time with the mindset that post-pit Bruce knows that stopping the nuke is his last mission, things just fall into place a bit more. The fact that he lures Selina to his side with the clean slate, etc.
People might say the movie "cheated" us there, but I don't think so. The first time you watch it, maybe. But the movie is not designed to be watched just once. Nolan knows we'll be watching this movie for years to come. Personally, I'm glad there's no moment in which the movie lets us in on Bruce's plan. It's just not something I want to see, I like it more as Bruce's "prestige" as it were. If you're looking at "The Pit" as the movie-verse version of a Lazarus Pit, it just seems so fitting that he makes it out of there and ends up getting a "new life" as it were.