Michael Giacchino! How did we get so lucky? The composer who built the themes for Pixar favorites like "Up" and modern sci-fi favorites like "Lost" and 2009's "Star Trek" has lent his expansive talents to "The Batman," and the world is better for it.
I don't know much about the hard work that goes into making music, but I know how it makes me feel. And the new score for "The Batman" makes me feel like I could run a marathon. The film's original motion picture soundtrack features 29 original songs from the musician, with title tracks ranging from the punny ("Collar ID") to the punny and esoteric ("Meow and You and Everyone We Know"). Clearly, Giacchino had a good time putting this soundtrack together, but I think we'll have an even better time listening to it in the years to come.
The score for "The Batman" hinges upon a booming character theme that shares a title with the movie. The most memorable part of the nearly seven-minute-long track feels as if it's in a near-constant crescendo, trudging along with a powerful sonic force that's so infectious, it's already inspired at least one great TikTok–of "Good Day Philly" anchor Alex Holley composing the hell out of an invisible orchestra. The steady beat will get in your head, but the track also includes sweeping, heroic stretches and quiet, emotional bits that call to mind the instantly tear-inducing overtures from "Lost." The whole of Matt Reeves' deep, dark movie is encompassed in one song that both builds you up and makes you cry.
Giacchino Does Batman Justice
It's been a long time since a superhero movie score felt this epic. The last truly great one may have been Ludwig Göransson's soundtrack to "Black Panther" in 2018. It's been even longer since a Batman score felt capable of carrying the gravity and emotional range of its movie like this one does, though the Caped Crusader has a long history of gorgeous musical accompaniment.
Giacchino's score seems to pay homage to Batmen past, with swelling crescendos that call to mind Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard's "The Dark Knight" score and inquisitive, ghostly vocals that invoke Danny Elfman's eerie, dramatic work on "Batman Returns." This is a Giacchino joint to its core, though: it's smooth and somber, shot through with strong emotion.
Without its score, "The Batman" would be a pretty movie about a guy in a hulking suit wandering around crime scenes. With it, it transforms into a film about the weight of legacy, about fear and love and the messy act of living in a world where bad things happen. Robert Pattinson's Batman is a man of few words, and the Riddler stays muted and masked for much of the movie's run-time, so the soundtrack speaks for them. The "Catwoman" theme is jazzy and elegant, but sadder than it first seems. "The Riddler" track stays quiet like its subject, before breaking into a string-heavy, frenetic orchestration that conveys dangerous instability. The album's final track, "Sonata in Darkness," could have easily gotten away with being a generic end credits accompaniment, but instead it's a piece of music so sweet and complex, it gives me chills.
It only takes one great soundtrack to make it abundantly clear how long we've been coasting on just-okay music. For every "The Batman," there are a dozen blockbusters whose scores sound piped-in and nearly identical. It's only just arrived, but "The Batman" already seems poised to remain in the public imagination for a long time. That's surely thanks in no small part to Giacchino's stunner of a score.
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