Did Batman die in The Dark Knight Rises? by Christian Mueth
Answer by Christian Mueth:
In a metaphorical sense, yes. Batman “died” when the bat exploded.
However, in a literal sense?
I don’t think so. In the beginning of the movie, Bruce tells Lucius Fox that there’s no auto-pilot on “the Bat”… Except, at the end of the movie, it’s shown that the Bat indeed had auto-pilot added to it, and that Bruce Wayne had been misleading Lucius.
There are other instances sprinkled throughout the movie that suggest Bruce had been planning to fake his death— such as his will already being written to “Robin”, or the fact that he never actually would’ve had time to reconnect the bomb to the reactor (despite pretending that he could).
There’s also this fact: Martha Wayne’s pearl necklace is reported missing at the end of the movie, when people are counting up the things left in Bruce’s will.
“Any news on the missing item?”
“We gotta leave no stone unturned. We can’t leave a string of pearls on the manifest as lost.”
And, at the very end of the movie, Selina Kyle is seen wearing it:
That small bit really hammers the fact that Wayne is alive home for me.
It is hard to believe that Batman somehow found time to escape the Bat before it exploded— especially without anybody noticing. But, it was established throughout the Nolan trilogy that Batman, like his comic counterpart, was a master escape artist (constantly disappearing on Gordon and such) so it’s not that big of a stretch.
The only thing that really puts me off is the ending in Florence… I find it hard to believe that Bruce would’ve been there the exact same day that Alfred was, or that nobody would recognize him as Bruce Wayne. However, so long as you suspend your disbelief for that scene, everything else seems to fit.
It’s certainly possible that Bruce Wayne had been planning to die, rather than planning to fake his death… But, in light of the evidence, I think that the latter is more likely than the former.