Meanwhile, the ending to Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy isn't as vague as Inception. After flying a nuclear bomb out of Gotham City, Batman escapes the blast…off-screen. We know this, because later, while Alfred is in Florence, he sees his former Master Bruce sitting at a table, enjoying a meal with ex-Catwoman Selina Kyle. Some fans have theorized that this is all a dream—that Batman actually died in the explosion, and that Alfred simply imagined seeing his friend taking in the Italian sunshine.
But that's bat-baloney. Before the movie's end, we learn along with Lucius Fox that Bruce Wayne fixed the Bat-plane's autopilot six months before the final showdown in Gotham. That's all the exposition necessary for viewers to know that Batman jumped out while the plane flies the bomb toward the bay.
And sure, when Alfred sees Wayne in Florence, it's exactly how Alfred describes it earlier in the film. But that's not a dream—it's just the best way for Wayne to show Alfred he's alive. Moreover, Selina Kyle is there, wearing Wayne's mother's necklace, which she steals at the beginning of the movie. Alfred doesn't know she and Wayne have become an item, and he'd quit before Batman and Catwoman teamed up to save Gotham City.
Finally, Bruce Wayne himself, Christian Bale, thinks that he's alive by the end of the movie. He explained during an interview while promoting Exodus: Gods and Kings:
"[Alfred] was just content with me being alive. And he left. Because that was the life he'd always wanted for [Bruce]. I find it very interesting. I think with most films, I tend to say it's always what the audience thinks it is. My personal opinion is that it was not a dream. That that was for real. And [Bruce] was delighted that he had finally freed himself from the privilege, but ultimately the burden of being Bruce Wayne."
None of this matters anyway. Batfleck is the wave of the future! But let's shift our gaze toward the ghost of Batman's past…