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Awesome Music / Batman

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"There are few movie music moments when you know a big gun has entered the room- the sweeping orchestral strains of Williams' Superman among them. Now a "new" hero was arriving with an attitude for a far more jaded generation of fans. And when those menacing strings rose with glistening percussion, before bursting into a galloping, instantly memorable theme, you knew this was one of those holy shit musical moments - the sound of major talent arriving on the scene like a bat out of hell."
— Film Music Magazine's review of the 2010 remaster of Batman (1989)

For the Batman: Arkham Series, Batman: The Animated Series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the DC Extended Universe The LEGO Batman Movie and Joker (2019), see here, here, here, here, here, and here respectively.

The Live-Action Movies:

  • Batman/Batman Returns/Batman Forever/Batman & Robin:
    • Danny Elfman's music for the first two films, Batman (1989) in particular, is one of the very few elements of the original film series that many people think the Nolan films haven't come anywhere near topping.
    • The opening number, literally titled "The Batman Theme", makes the accompanying titles so awesome that you can fail to notice that next to nothing's happening onscreen. The theme gets a reprise at the film's end. It is also rescored as the opening theme for Batman the Animated Series.
    • "Waltz to the Death," which is what the Joker and Vicki Vale were dancing to while Batman was beating up Mooks, is also quite amazing. It's dark, it's beautiful, and (considering what's happening on the screen) it's also "unintentionally" hilarious.
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    • "Descent into Mystery", which is heard when Batman drives Vicki Vale through the forest to the Batcave. So epic, it was reused in the trailer to Batman Returns. The "whirlwind" sound at the beginning at the Ominous Latin Chanting deserve special mention.
    • The "Finale", the most triumphant piece of Batman-related music ever. Especially epic is the crescendo (before the familiar "Batman Theme" hook at the end) combined with the image of Batman standing on a ledge, silhouetted against the night sky, with the Bat-signal in the distance. If that doesn't give you goosebumps, nothing will.
    • In addition, the pop soundtrack composed by Prince has some pretty awesome numbers, too. The crowner is probably "Batdance", picked as the main single from the album. It was #1 on the charts for a reason, folks.
    • Elfman's incredibly intense score for Batman Returns is nothing short of awesome, either.
      • Especially epic is the opening number, "Birth of a Penguin", complete with a dark re-orchestration of the previous film's theme, and "The Final Confrontation".
      • The network television premiere of Batman Returns on February 12, 1995 (prime-time slot on NBC-TV) was kicked off by a montage of the most action-packed scenes from the film set to what is perhaps the Crowning Music Of Awesome: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (specifically the "Ode to Joy" part everyone remembers).
      • And on the more conventional rock side of things, it's practically impossible for there to be a more fitting rock song for this film than "Face to Face", an incredibly dark, incredibly melancholic, incredibly sexy track — performed, no less, by Siouxsie and the Banshees, the ambassadors of goth rock themselves.
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    • The latter two films in the series may not have been the greatest, but both include pop soundtracks that are actually enjoyable to this day. At the very least, no one can deny that "Kiss from a Rose" was the single of 1995.
    • And while still a distant third to Elfman and Zimmer/Newton Howard's scores, Elliot Goldenthal's scores are still pretty amazing, delivering the proper level of bombast for an abjectly cartoonish universe (Goldenthal specifically chose to invoke a feeling similar to a Russian circus). Sadly, most of the music he composed for Batman Forever was shelved and unreleased in favor of the aforementioned pop-heavy soundtrack, and has only recently become commercially available in its full length.
    • Whatever other flaws Batman & Robin may have, it used the bombing-awesome theme song introduced in Forever. Plus, the pop soundtrack is really good (even if the vastly superior remix to R. Kelly's "Gotham City" is left out) in a "Why tie this music to this movie?" sense. So much that The Smashing Pumpkins' "The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning" was recycled in a Watchmen trailer, which was featured before The Dark Knight, of all movies.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • Whilst it seems to only be on the soundtrack to Batman Begins, not in the actual movie (at least, not in its entirety),"Lasiurus" possibly sums up the essential character at the heart of Batman better than any piece of music (even some of the other fine pieces listed here) ever will — it's dark, brooding and melancholy, and yet there's a subtle note of hope weaved in there that gradually and powerfully builds to a crescendo, giving the listener the impression that the night will end and evil will be overcome...
    • Molossus, which also fits Batman flawlessly - it's nothing but 4 minutes of pure badassery, with an always-present sense of heroism and determination that reflects the fact that Batman will never, ever give up until all of Gotham is safe from crime.
    • "Mortus", the song played during the final battle between Batman and Ducard, the true Ra's al Ghul.
    • "Artibeus", which also doubles as horror.
    • The opening track "Why So Serious?" sets the mood for the entire film. Amazing how much horror is contained in a single note... Listen to it over headphones, or surround sound in an acoustically perfect room; that single note jumps around, well... chaotically. The Crystal Method's Remix of said song is not quite as creepy, yet... it is. In its own "Crystal Method way."
    • Like A Dog Chasing Cars pretty much sets the tone for this Batman, right down to a lapse into "Why So Serious?"
    • The last minute of Aggressive Expansion. If "Why So Serious?" builds up the tone of the Joker, this song smashes it down on you like a 5000-pound hammer. It's impossible to listen to this song without imagining him bursting into the room and holding a knife to someone's neck at the last second, and to top it all off, the scene it's used in is when he kills the goddamned judge and commissioner.
    • The sheer awesomeness of "Agent of Chaos".
    • I'm Not a Hero. Particularly the subtle similarity to the Elfman theme around the 4 minute mark.
    • Harvey Two Face, especially in its stirring reprise of the love theme. Awesome in spite of the fact that the ending part doesn't show up in the film.
    • The original release of the soundtrack ends with the 16-minute long suite A Dark Knight. Emblematic of the competing ideals between Batman, Joker and the people of Gotham, the notes come after the other in a tapestry of epic conflict—with the last notes devoted to the overwhelming crescendo of Batman's saga-wide Leitmotif, yet still undercut by Joker's own unsettling electronic note, the very same one from "Why So Serious".
    • The Dark Knight Rises: DE-SHAY DE-SHAY BASHARA BASHARA
    • And then there's "A Fire Will Rise", the third trailer theme, which is mind-blowingly epic and tragic, fitting perfectly the mood for the finale of the trilogy.
    • While this isn't connected to the movie directly, Hans Zimmer created a hauntingly beautiful track called "Aurora" honoring the victims of the Aurora Theater Shooting. The Dark Knight would be proud.
    • The track "Gotham's Reckoning" that plays as Bane and his henchmen kidnap a nuclear physicist and wreck a CIA jet in mid-flight.
    • And now the complete score has been released, witness the incredible drums at the end of the film version of that track.
    • All Out War (imagery contains spoilers), which plays during the final battle between Batman and Bane. It starts with Bane's Leitmotif, but then, 30 seconds in, it turns into something entirely different, becoming both intense and extremely climactic, and it really does hit home that this is the Last Stand for both Batman and Bane. That whoever wins gets to decide Gotham's ultimate fate. That this is truly the Grand Finale. This theme screams nothing but: "It. Ends. Here."

The Animated Movies:

The Animated Series:



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