Originally Posted by redfirebird2008
That's the thing though, Bruce has a very finite view of his Batman career in BB. He makes it clear that he wants to clean up the streets, create a symbol for others to follow, and be done with it. Now whether TDKR executed this idea well is another issue altogether, but it's not like the seed wasn't planted for him to quit in the first movie. It was there all along and fans chose to ignore it, then got mad about it when Nolan followed through with it.
That was in BB. TDK already undid that ground. The idea that Bruce could quit anytime soon and be with Rachel was a delusion he had that broke by the end of the second film. The first film is about him learning the means of striking fear into criminals and becoming Batman. The second film is about him getting more into the Batman mindset and into the idea that this is who he is not only meant to be, but who he has to be. Rachel's death, Harvey's corruption and the Joker himself are the major factors that play into this character arc of his. TDKR just ignores that character arc in TDK and pretends like it didn't happen. I've had this debate many times though.
Originally Posted by BatLobsterRises
My honest opinion: I don't believe "Bruce is cursed to be Batman forever" was a key message of TDK. It was merely one possible direction the story could go if it continued.
I think the message of TDK is more about having to make impossible choices that may otherwise be perceived as wrong in order to defeat a greater evil in a time of crisis. It's about coming face to face with the devil and having to make serious compromises in order to come out with some measure of victory. And I think it's about accepting that it might have been your own actions that invited the devil to come wreak havoc in the first place.
I don't think any of that has any bearing how how long Bruce is supposed to be Batman for. TDK did indeed sum up some of the classic aspects of the Batman mythos, but I believe it did so in a way that works in a confined way. The story was free to go any number of directions, as the ending had a large degree of ambivalence to it.
I don't believe "cursed" is the way to put it. A curse is defined as something horrible that you cannot get rid of no matter how hard you try and how much you want to. Although that is true with Batman to an extent that he is cursed forever, I don't think it is true in the way you're referring to it as. Bruce intentionally transformed himself into Batman and knows why he is important and why he has to do what he does.
What you said is certainly true about TDK and it is a constant theme in the film but I personally I personally never found it to be the
theme. I think that if you analyze Bruce's character arc and progression from the start of BB to the end of TDK, what I told redfirebird2008 is the character arc that Bruce experiences. TDK could have went in a number of possible story directions but I felt that this character arc I am referring to was fully necessary to be there in order for the story to feel like a natural continuation. As The Joker already said, not a single person walked out of theatres expecting Batman to go home and retire for 8 years. But once again, this is a discussion that we've had over and over again in this thread.