The Dark Knight Rises Soundtrack Review

Hans Zimmer was handed the chance to redeem himself above the level of Hollywood hack score writer when Christopher Nolan handed him the opportunity to work on the batman Franchise. Zimmer started off very strongly in film back in the late 80’s with some truly beautiful work on the likes of Rain Man, and even thrillers like Ridley Scott’s Black Rain. But throughout the 90’s his work all too quickly became very repetitive – especially in the works of Jerry Bruckheimer movies. Yes he has his name on some important and recognisable properties like Gladiator but often the work is very telling of his range.

You could easily compare some of the climatic action beats from Gladiator and see that they are just an update from what he did in Crimson Tide, which then also carries over in part to some of the main themes of his Pirates of the Caribbean work. And yes if you were to listen to these in close succession you would be able to pick up the refinements he has varied over to the Batman work.

But for once he pulled his finger out and started to create strong motifs and longer lasting, yet simplistic notes to really help sell a film, not just for its trailer, but for the entire duration of each film.

He returns again on his own for the final instalment, and again whilst digging up the past (which is actually an important part of the film’s plot) also brings in new ideas which have strong ambitions on the story.

Zimmer composed the last two scores in this franchise with James Newton Howard. It may be for the sake of completion been nice to have had Howard back again on this one, but to be honest Zimmer overshadowed the previous film. Howard’s largest contribution was perhaps to the first film.

Whilst Zimmer takes and updates themes and cues he created for the previous films (mainly Batman Begins), he has created some new work here, especially the “Rise” chanting that ties in so well with the character of Bane.

It’s another strong score and one that Zimmer can hold up high with glee as a work he has actually paid attention to and worked out very carefully. But then with a director like Christopher Nolan, like the score for Inception proves, we seriously doubt he had much choice but to deliver the best he was capable of delivering.

Steven Hurst

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