Re: Batman reboot: Should it be based on realism, dark imagination, or silliness
But the thing is that Bruce doesn't deny himself happiness. It's the environment. Batman is born out of a necessity, a theme played in Year One and Batman Begins. He is there to return Gotham to the citizens, because the law is corrupted and can do nothing about it. On comics and cartoons, he has to keep going. In this approach, this "balance" is already reached at the beginning of Rises, thus rendering Batman useless. But you know the story, now we have a Bruce who is physically worn out, he can do this anymore, he gave everything he had. Similar to the Rebirth episode on Batman Beyond, where Bruce cannot keep doing his Batman gig because old age and he quits, but on Rises the toll on his body came earlier.
And talking about happy endings, remember Epilogue? We have Terry McGinnis who thinks that he is burdened with a curse, that he is unable to be happy because the mantle of the Bat prevents it, because he learns that it's his destiny to follow Bruce's steps. But he learns that he can overcome that, and be his own man. It is a similar theme that is played on Rises too, but with Bruce as the protagonist. So, it is not a far fetched theme.
A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy's shoulders to let him know that the world hadn't ended.