Nolan's Batman: The Music

Second part in a series of blog posts breaking this generations Batman down into little digestible answers as we ask 'What made Nolan's Batman so damn good?'.

Lets not dance around the fact that music has a major influence in films. Whether its to stylise like in Drive and Pulp Fiction or just some basic intro music for Darth Vader, it has been a huge part of film screenings and film theatre, way before recording actual dialogue was even imaginable, and remains the emoutional backbone of any powerful film(s), like Nolan's Batman Trilogy.

Written and composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard (although Howard wasn’t involved in TDKR for fear of feeling like a third wheel after the Zimmer-Nolan duo of Inception) the music in Nolan's batman really only came to the foresight of popular culture after The Dark Knight and some of the brilliantly energetic reoccurring themes decorating the films.

“Watching this unique collaboration between two great talents has been constantly fascinating and exciting. Their contribution to Batman Begins has been immeasurable” - Christopher Nolan

Although it is later slightly revamped and given more prominence in the sequels, the song below is the theme that really blasted every punch and car chase scene into the back of your memory to remain there until The Dark Knight blew you away once again.

Regardless of how it all started, Batman Begins was still a movie too steeped in expectation and a pre-written origins story to do anything creative. It has only been since The Dark Knight is there anything worth mentioning when discussing the musics true impact on Nolan's Batman.

“I have admitted to both Hans and James separately that one reason I was inspired to revisit the world of Batman Begins was the extraordinary music they created for that film. Music that perfectly captured the tone I was seeking – energetic, but with grandeur – action, but with emotion” - Christopher Nolan.

Even from that beautiful tension building opening 1minute of The Dark Knight, you can tell that the music has gone up a notch. No longer restrained by what was expected from it, Nolan and co. were able to take everything a step further, that little bit darker and a lot more intense.

Bane was not only the highlight from the film but also from the music. Zimmer takes on this much more underground, almost techno, sound along with an incredible chant that keeps each of Banes scenes intimidating and powerful.

The way in which each character has their own separate theme really helps accentuate the iconography of Nolan's characters along with adding to their style, their philosophies and their aura.

The music is another leap from Tim Burtons batman, taking a more genre breaking approach mixing electronics and orchestras as one, and an even further leap from the satirical (ba-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-Batman) 80s batman. Even leaving the dramatic fight scene trumpets in the 80s along with it. Instead using minimal or no sound (first bane fight in TDKR for example) to highlight the fight itself.

For what is considered, for the most part, 'classical music' - the bane (excuse the pun) of the popular music scene - it is incredible to see so much of the soundtrack unanimously adorned by the masses. With Youtube view counts to show it. Never before has a soundtrack been so fluid and iconic throughout a series of films without sounding old and outdated. With Zimmer's ground breaking ideas, his use of 'noises' as music along with Nolan's open mind, you cant help be leave your jaw dropped on the seat in front of you.

“So what are we doing next Chris” - Hans Zimmer


Still to come:
The Beliefs
The Reality of Batman
The Visuals