All this chatter about yesterday’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Comic-Con trailer, and there’s one thing I haven’t seen mentioned: the score.
People often bemoan the lack of hummable theme tunes in modern blockbusters, and they’ve got a point . . . I recently challenged my sister to a movie themes humming challenge, the more recent the better. She came up with Harry Potter (dating back to 2001), The Lord of the Rings (2001), Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) and that was it. And don’t just say ‘well she doesn’t know her movies themes well enough . . .’ I gave it a go and didn’t do much better myself. All I managed to add was the Bane theme from The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
Despite all this, I continue to rate a tonne of modern blockbuster compositions and will often have soundtrack albums queued up on Spotify. And, one that’s got a great deal of airtime over the last couple of years is Hans Zimmer's work on Man of Steel. It may not exactly hit John Williams levels of hummability, but I love the huge god-like sounds Zimmer created for Zack Snyder's DC reboot.
And he’s staying on for Batman v Superman, as well. But, turn the clocks back just three years and Zimmer was finishing up his famous work on Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Across those three movies, Zimmer created an iconic (albeit not all that hummable) soundscape for the character. Even Rocksteady’s Arkham video games take a similar oppressive sonic approach to the Bats.
So, Zimmer made the smart move and passed the Batman scoring job onto another composer, Junkie XL . . . the Dutch mastermind behind another one of my Spotify faves, Mad Max: Fury Road’s soul-trembling score.
The aforementioned trailer is suitably ginormous, but the realisation that we’re going to be treated to one of the greats of modern blockbuster film music teaming up/battling with the proverbial rising star has just ballooned my anticipation ten-fold. How they’re going to go about balancing Zimmer’s work with JXL’s is a question for another time but, if they pull off this competing themes set-up, the superhero showdown is going to extend beyond the screen and onto our surround sound systems. Prepare your eardrums, folks!
1) Interestingly, Junkie XL did provide a remix of one of Zimmer’s The Dark Knight Rises tracks for the soundtrack album. It wasn’t featured in the film, but at least we know JXL has spent some time with the character. I’m not all that keen on the track itself, but I have faith that he can deliver when left to his own devices.
2) I’m also unsure exactly what tracks Zack Snyder used to score this latest trailer, but I’m hoping it’s just temp/work-in-progress stuff (a la one the greatest trailers of modern times, the second Man of Steel trailer, which used Craig Armstrong’s work from Elizabeth: The Golden Age to barnstorming effect), because, at the moment, it’s pretty indistinct, generic epic blockbuster fare. But, here’s to hoping!