“Save One Person”
First off, let’s set the scene. After a brief meetup with J.K. Simmons’ Commissioner Gordon, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Cyborg track Steppenwolf to his hideout beneath Gotham Harbor following the kidnapping of several the employees from S.T.A.R. labs, including Silas Stone — Cyborg’s father. The League finds the alien nasties midway through their torture — and murder — of their prisoners. It’s at this point that an important exchange occurs between Barry and Bruce, when the former becomes understandably nervous:
The Flash: It’s really cool that you guys seem ready to do battle and stuff, but – full transparency – I’ve never done battle before. I’ve just pushed some people and run away!
Batman: Save one.
The Flash: What?
Batman: Save one person.
The Flash: Uhh, which one?
Batman: Don’t talk, don’t fight. Get in – get one out.
The Flash: And then?
Batman: Then you’ll know.
Like many parts of Justice League, this conversation moves a tad too quickly to pack as much emotional heft as it should do. Even so, it still clearly defines the kind of people that Batman and the Flash are.
Obviously, Barry Allen’s youth and inexperience as a superhero are pretty heavily foregrounded by his humorous admission that he’s just “pushed some people,” but we also see just how much of a veteran Batman is in this exchange. Admittedly, this the first time that we’ve seen the Caped Crusader facing an alien horde, but it’s clear that Bats is very familiar with these kinds of tense and violent scenarios. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice told us that Bruce has been fighting crime for some twenty years, and this passage of time is effectively conveyed through Affleck’s calm and firm manner, despite the loud, pained cries around him.
We all know that focus and determination are integral parts of Batman’s character. However, this moment in Justice League is the first time that we’ve seen the DCEU’s Bruce Wayne as the tactical and respectful leader we know and love from the comic books.