I remember that when "Batman Begins"
came out, I read a review saying that Rachel was the latest in a series of 'useless bat-girlfriends' who wasn't really necessary and was obviously put into the movie just so it wouldn't just be a sausage fest. I thought that was a bit of an exaggeration, but a fair point being made.
Nolan also confirmed that pretty much the only studio interference in "Batman Begins"
was insisting that it be PG-13 and 'romantic'. I think this goes a long way towards explaining why Rachel felt so shoehorned into that movie. It didn't help that Katie Holmes was also the weakest acting link in the cast.
I do think a lot of the love interests in Batman movies have been forced and that "Batman Begins"
would have been just as good or better without a female character. Re-watching the movie, I realized that Rachel didn't do much for most of the movie besides recite thinly veiled exposition dialog, and a friend of mine who watched it with me suggested that maybe one of the reasons Katie Holmes didn't return for the sequel was because this is why she didn't find it a very enjoyable role to play. Rachel had a little more to do in "The Dark Knight"
, but in the end, she still felt like more of a plot device than a necessary character.
I don't think the fact that so many women in Batman movies have been unnecessary means a woman in a Batman movie will never fit, though. To me Michelle Pfieffer/Catwoman was the best character out of the first two Batman movies, and I can imagine the women in the next Batman movie being a lot more interesting and organic to the story than Rachel, especially if one takes centre stage as a villain.