I’m a big fan of film scores and superheroes but I’m not the biggest fan of Hans Zimmer. After reading and watching reviews on WB’s latest blockbuster outing, I did what any superhero fan would do and listen to the soundtrack. I initially had some hope because Germany native Zimmer was this time collaborating with Dutch native Tom Holkenborg (aka Junkie XL), an up-and-coming composer who’d just scored Mad Max: Fury Road and Deadpool.
And my thoughts on their results?
Much of the soundtrack is defined by a six-note motif that’s a combination of the notoriously iconic “BWAAAHHH” horn from Inception shortened with a loud drum and brass/synth over top of it. I’m not sure if this uninspired “theme” reflects how low Zimmer’s composing ideas have gone, or if he was so bored by the movie he was watching he decided to throw in the most generic, Terminator 2-esque theme possible. And based on reviews that second idea might not be too outlandish!
If you’ve listened to the scores for Man of Steel or The Dark Knight Trilogy, then you should be familiar with Zimmer’s work by now. It’s the same in this film, only he made it even louder and put a choir in the background. Hey guys, you know every moment of your score doesn’t need to sound as epic as possible? I couldn’t listen to some of the tracks because they all sounded the same! Instead I went through the soundtrack trying to find anything different. Needless to say I hardly found anything!
Holkenborg’s contribution supposedly resides with the Batman theme and probably some drum beats. This theme does have moments but they’re only moments. It’s not a cohesive theme, more like three separate melodies mixed together. Like any composer who’s style resembles Zimmer’s, its near impossible to find where one composer stops and the other starts. There’s also plenty of the aforementioned motif.
Superman’s dreary theme from Man of Steel is hinted at once or twice and it’s just as unimpressive as before. Zimmer does give a different take for Lex Luther, a rather funny piano melody but then the six-note motif hits and the rest of that track gets dropped into repetition valley. Despite the fact Wonder Woman’s theme sounds like multiple electric guitars were run through a computer that produced a bad imitation of a sitar (really an electric cello), it’s the most memorable thing on the score.
There is one track where it finally goes quiet- for half the piece; its still a Hans Zimmer score. Yet for those couple minutes, it actually sounds like they managed to write a genuine quiet moment. Unfortunately, neither man wrote enough.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t fare well critically and I suspect this score didn’t either. Then again, if one believes Youtube comments it’s one of the greatest scores ever made and Zimmer is a god among men. On both counts, no. It’s repetitive, bland, and besides the catchy Wonder Woman theme and very occasional listenable moments it just makes me want to listen to all the old Batman and Superman scores again.
FINAL RATING: 1.8/5
UPDATE: Hans Zimmer has recently announced he will “retire” from superhero film composition. I’m glad he finally noticed how stagnant he’d become in the genre.