The Music of DC Films

When we watch superhero films, we tend to enjoy the epic fight scenes, characters with special abilities, and the overall story of heroism. We appreciate the ‘power’ behind these film, for watching them somehow makes us feel as though we are the heroes on screen, if only for a moment. Music is a significant and influential element to the storytelling in these movies. While some of us may not pay attention, some of the most powerful superhero film scores can be found in DC films, such as The Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the recent release of Wonder Woman.

Directed by Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight trilogy gave us Batman as the vigilante who rises from the depth of Gotham’s darkness to fight anarchy in the image of Scarecrow, Joker and Bane. To fully represent this dynamic of good and evil through music, Nolan asked Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard to compose the score for all three films. While there is no distinctive ‘Batman theme’, Zimmer and Howard managed to work within a consistent style while creating the soundtrack, one that brings out the chaos of the villains’ attacks, or Batman’s struggle to save the innocent. A theme that represents this chaotic action is called ‘Why So Serious’, which is played in the second film of the trilogy after Joker delivers his infamous line. While ‘Why So Serious’ is an example of music that welcomes the villain, ‘Rise’ from the Dark Knight Rises is a track that plays like an anthem that calls Batman from the depth of Gotham, to rise up and save the city poisoned with crime. Zimmer’s music composition for the trilogy was only the beginning of his work for the DC universe, for he returned to create the soundtrack for Man of Steel.

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