I'm currently reading The Dark Knight Manual: Tools, Weapons, Vehicles and Documents From The Batcave. Cool book, written in the first person (Bruce Wayne) and there's a reference to the first five years as Batman.
This tells me that Batman operates for a few years before that year he spends going after the upper echelons of organized crime, the year the Joker refers to in TDK. That backs up a reference in TDKR about Bruce's "years" as Batman. The idea seems to be that Bruce was Batman for at least five years from BB to the events of the TDK. Also we don't know how long he operated as an outlaw after the events of TDK. In TDKR it merely makes a reference to eight years since the last confirmed sighting.
that makes sense. But it seems odd that The Joker was operate mostly unseen for "a few years" between BB and TDK before becoming a much larger part of Batman's life. It also seems odd that it took that long for Wayne Manor (and the Batcave) to be constructed.
Again, to me it seems like TDKR just wasn't "thought out" in how it was to fit into the movie series which seemed to be all about establishing a "status quo" for Batman's career and adventures that'd continue after movie series ended. Even Joker references this in "TDK" when he says, "I can see us doing this forever." That's obviously a wink-wink to the audience that that is exactly
what is going to happen even if we never get to see it.
But then TDKR just says, "Fuck it! He stopped being Batman shortly after the events of TDK, the Batcave was a waste of time and resources, and... Batman is crippled."
It seems like quite a disconnect between each movie and the previous outing(s.)