Warning: Spoilers about the ending of "Dark Knight Rises" lie ahead!
Throughout Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy, one question consistently emerged: How long can Bruce Wayne keep suiting up as Batman?
In "The Dark Knight," Wayne memorably informed trusty butler Alfred that "Batman has no limits." Not the case for Bruce Wayne as a man, Alfred pointed out, to which Bruce replied, "Well, I can't afford to know them." In "The Dark Knight Rises," however, Wayne learned the hard way that both he and his elemental alter ego do have limits. No one can suffer the back-breaking pain of Bane and walk away consequence-free. And just as there's an end to what the Caped Crusader can accomplish, there's a line that Nolan as a storyteller refused to cross: killing Batman.
Though many signs pointed to the ultimate demise of Bruce Wayne by the end of "Rises," the hero survived and flew off with an unexpectedly happy ending. But even though he lived to fight another day (come on, you really think he'll stay retired?), Wayne certainly felt his fair share of pain throughout the "Dark Knight" conclusion. And from actor Christian Bale's perspective, that kind of reckoning was always coming his way.
"He's always been destined for some kind of a fall," the actor told MTV News. "We know that he's altruistic, we know his motives are born from genuine, sincere pain and a very understandable desire for revenge. We know he's attempting to turn that into something good, but we [also] know he has this monstrous personality inside of him. He's forsaken his life for that. Unless you make some serious changes, you know that something will befall him that's not going to be healthy.
"He's almost begging for a downward spiral," Bale continued. "He's begging for pain. He wants to have that pain inflicted upon him. It's something that's been a concern throughout all of these movies. That's expressed in a scene in 'Batman Begins' by Alfred, who is always the heart of these stories. 'And then what? And then what? How does this end?' "
Well, it doesn't end with the death of Batman, we know that much. Asked if there was any part of him that wanted to see Bruce die in the end, Bale smiled and said, "Not from an acting point of view. Not from any desire to never have to act again. I've enjoyed immensely playing the role."
Do you think Batman should have died at the end of "Dark Knight Rises," or are you happy he lived? Sound off in the comments section below!