Originally Posted by Anita18
In TDK, Joker tells Batman that society will shun him when they don't need him anymore. This is partly true, but it's all because of Batman's own doing. In TDKR, we see that the mayor and Foley hate Batman, because he's the "SOB that killed Harvey Dent." It's not because he's a vigilante. In fact, many still view him as a heroic figure and are delighted at his return.
At the same time, Bruce has always acknowledged that Batman is not wanted by society. Not because of disgust like it is with leprosy (like Joker claims), but because a functional society can not, should not view Batman as acceptable. It is not Batman's job to be the police. He enables the police by working outside the law, but it's always been a fine balance over how much he allows himself to work outside the law.
So in killing off Batman, Bruce also frees Gotham from its obligation to hunt him 24/7. Even if it's always been a half-hearted effort, it's still effort that can be better used elsewhere. And he also frees Gotham from having to explain to the rest of society why they need him. Because they don't, not anymore.
But they will need him again, and someone will be there to protect the city. This is why I love the ending of TDKR so much. It completely re-informed the theme of Batman Begins...that the Batman became a symbol, an icon, and legend that would be incorruptible and (factoring in the ideas of the LOS which were instilled in him) immortal.
The Blake character is one reason that many fans have rejected TDKR, but I do kind of embrace it. If you can accept that Chris Nolan's Batman series in NOT the comics, you can understand that this trilogy deserved a definitive ending for Bruce. He earned it, physically and emotionally, with a career that was pretty long for any man to endure (in reality). TDKR's ending is the perfect combo of "ambiguous" and "definitive", in that we don't really know what will happen in the future but we still know how our story ended.