Bruce Wayne’s Opening Narration
It’s right there, in the opening lines. As Zack Snyder’s camera sweeps over brooding scenes of grief and mourning, we hear Bruce Wayne prepare us for what is to come. He reminisces about better times – to paraphrase, a time when good guys were good, and bad guys were bad – but that those times, and those heroes “are fallen.” In other words, welcome to our world, audience, we do things a little differently here.
It is no accident that these words are accompanied by yet another rendition of The Murder Of The Waynes – perhaps one of the most filmed superhero origin stories. But, Snyder manages to present this in a new and compelling way, which compounds the point: You think you know this story, and these characters, but we’re going to show you a different perspective.
The significance of the narration cannot be overstated – in just a few words, Bruce Wayne encompasses our personal relationships with Batman and Superman. These characters have been by our sides for over seven decades – that’s over seventy years of human history, in which we have come together and been torn apart. We have discovered, and we have wilfully ignored. We have stumbled through technological advancements, and we have chosen paths that have not always been either right, or true.
Batman and Superman have changed in those years, too – always reflective of the times. Bruce Wayne tells us that times have changed, and your heroes have changed with them. Your heroes still reflect the times, it’s just that the reflection is going to be uncomfortable to look at.
It’s All In The Cars
Bruce Wayne – wealthy playboy – sweeps into a high profile Metropolis function in a very well-maintained, classic Aston Martin. Very James Bond, and very fitting with his character. This is an older, battle-weary Bruce Wayne, who longs for the past. His unsettled psychology is driven by his childhood trauma, and he is unhappy with his current reality, in which Superman exists. It is, then, unsurprising, that he would opt for a classic motor vehicle.
When Diana Prince makes a quick exit from the same function, with Bruce Wayne in pursuit on foot, she slips into her own sports car – except this is a much more modern choice. Her character is challenging him in the story – at this point silently refusing to acquiesce to his alpha-male dominance. He is curious, yet she reveals nothing. He wants her to stop and answer him, but she continues to leave. They each have their own agenda, and the fact that she zooms off in a sports car indicates that she is his social equal, but her modern choice highlights that she is the antithesis to his aging brutality. In the subtlest of ways, she is the same, but different. Bruce Wayne, at that point, represents the past, while Diana Prince is most assuredly the future.
Diana Prince Shuts Down Bruce Wayne’s ‘Mansplanation’
It is really the first time we hear Diana Prince speak, and her words are utterly perfect. It is an exchange that speaks to every single woman on the face of the earth, because we have all been in the same situation – a man assumes he knows more than you, and generously imparts that knowledge, so that you may better understand the topic at hand. Indeed, bless the mansplainers, for without them, women would surely still be scared of the sun.
Diana Prince is minding her own business, looking at an ancient artefact in a glass case. Again, it is no coincidence that this version of Bruce Wayne is, himself – literally – an ancient artefact that lives in a glass case. The artefact in question in this scene, however, is a sword, and Bruce Wayne approaches from behind. He has an issue with the mysterious woman – whom he knows nothing about – because he saw her steal a digital drive that he had implanted to steal digital information from Lex Luthor.
However, he opens their exchange by assuming she doesn’t know what she’s looking at – telling her that the artefact is a fake, and informing her of the location of the real one. He is the classic alpha-male, attempting to impress with his superior knowledge. If he were a peacock, he’d be in full-on feather display-mode.
But, this is Diana Prince, and as she says later, he’s never known a woman like her. She cuts him off mid-sentence and finishes the information for him, with an attitude that constitutes an audible eye roll. It is beautiful to behold, and the most perfect way to introduce Diana Prince – AKA Wonder Woman – to the cinema screen.