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How Batman Fans Really Feel About The Ending Of Christopher Nolan's Trilogy

The films of Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" trilogy are often considered some of the best Batman movies out there, and there have been quite a few. The second film, 2008's "The Dark Knight," even has the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of all the various iterations, with a 94% Tomatometer score — further, all three films have the top three scores if you exclude animated versions — 2017's "The Lego Batman Movie" ranks second overall.

"The Dark Knight" trilogy is so successful and widely renowned for a whole slew of reasons, from the performances — including Christian Bale's turn as our leading hero, as well as Heath Ledger's iconic portrayal of the Joker — to the impeccable writing and, of course, Nolan's deft directing. Another notable aspect is the trilogy's ending.

Despite the dark tone of the films, the trilogy ends with somewhat of a happy ending. In "The Dark Knight Rises," after defeating Bane (Tom Hardy) and Miranda Tate, aka Talia al Ghul (Marion Cotillard), Batman and Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman (Anne Hathaway), find themselves left with Talia's bomb and no way to stop the detonation. Batman rides away with the bomb on the Bat, taking it far away so it doesn't hurt anyone when it goes off. After it explodes, Batman is presumed dead and hailed as a hero. However, before the film ends, Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) discovers that Bruce is not dead when he spots him dining in a restaurant with Selina, alive and free after all.

So, what do fans really think of the ending to "The Dark Knight" trilogy?

Fans are generally content with the ending

A couple of years ago, a fan posted on Reddit proclaiming their love for the end of "The Dark Knight" trilogy, writing, "I will always be grateful to Nolan because he gave Bruce and Selina the happy ending they deserve." The user included a screencap of the scene of Bruce and Selina dining together, in which it is revealed that Bruce survived after all.

One fan pointed out how it was a fitting ending, given that the beginning of "The Dark Knight Rises" sees Bruce on a multi-year break from being Batman, writing, "Great ending for that trilogy and fitting for what that character had been through and where he was at at the start of the third film." One user, u/Rockdaboat07, pointed out its uniqueness. "The one time they ever got a happy ending together," they remarked. Another fan, u/blitzskrieg, brought up how viewers can relate to Bruce's ending. "This scene gave me hope that no matter how s***ty or complicated your life is there comes a time when you get to be just yourself for your own sake," the Redditor noted.

Meanwhile, one user, u/WingedFreak1989, opined that, regardless of personal preference, the ending "works for those particular versions of the characters." Another fan agreed and added to this point, writing, "Indeed, Nolan Batman wasn't into it for long term, his only goal was to bring back Gotham from crime and corruption and make it a city his parents always dreamed of. His wasn't a lifelong crusade against crime."

Some fans have gripes with the ending

On the other side of things, one fan, u/garreauxgarreauxton, found the ending "cheesy." They argued that "the message that this saccharine conclusion in the cafe sends is that violence is a legitimate means to that end, is justified if committed in retaliation, and that it is relatively free of long-term consequences," which contradicts the character's views on violence. Further, they pointed out how, as a well-known billionaire, it would be hard not to notice his presence at a cafe.

Another fan, u/Chimpbot, also had problems with the ending, namely how Bruce left his Batcave to John Blake (whose full name is revealed to be Robin John Blake as a nod to the character's sidekick), played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Pitching their preferred ending, they wrote, "Bruce essentially abandoned his post and left the keys with a young cop who had absolutely none of the insane training Bruce had undergone. I would have preferred the 'twist' to be that Robin had been working with Bruce for years and had been part of a contingency plan to take over should the need arise." The user also stressed that this suggested ending would still wrap things up while also being "open-ended enough" to allow viewers to "imagine the next chapters" of Bruce's story.

So, it seems that the ending is really left to a viewer's personal preference. However, there's one other interpretation that has fans talking ...

Others think Bruce actually died

Notably, Alfred doesn't speak with Bruce when he sees that he is alive. He only nods at him from across the room — because of this, some fans believe that he imagined Bruce happy and alive as a way of getting through the grief of losing him. This is despite the fact that Christian Bale himself has revealed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly (via Collider) that he believes that Bruce lived.

One fan, user u/starhawks, who is adamant that it was a figment of Alfred's imagination, wrote, "I still maintain he died in the blast. If Alfred actually saw Bruce, and this wasn't just a daydream, he wouldn't just sit there and smile. We also see Bruce in the cockpit seconds before the bomb goes off." Another fan, user u/OrionsComics, agreed, writing, "Finally, someone says it! All I've seen are people saying he's alive."

Other fans have pointed out the clues that reveal the scene is not a dream — Selina is wearing the pearls that went missing (presumably given to her by Bruce) and Bruce has the scar that Alfred would have no way of knowing about — but some fans remain insistent in interpreting the scene this way.

All in all, the ending definitely left fans with a whole lot to discuss.