Acting and script aside, one of the most important aspects of any film is its soundtrack. Done right, an original score for a movie can enhance the whole thing, get it wrong and it can appear out of place and intrusive. For movies such as Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, getting the soundtrack right is perhaps even more crucial since many scenes will rely heavily on the build up of music to reflect the action happening on the screen. With the release of Zack Snyder’s long awaited Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice now just days away (at the time of writing), soundtrack composers Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL have spoken about the collaborative process, between the pair of them and with Snyder, which led them to compose the score to the film.
Both Zimmer and Junkie XL are well versed in providing music for the DC Universe; Zimmer, who is arguably one of the most innovative composers working today, has scored for The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, as well as Man Of Steel. Meanwhile, Junkie XL (real name Tom Holkenborg) worked with Zimmer on The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel, providing additional music for the soundtracks, and he composed the score for Deadpool – but Batman V Superman marks the first project where the Zimmer/Junkie XL pair hold equal billing.
Zimmer has pointed out that while he had eleven years of Batman behind him, this film marks a new take on that character, given by a new actor (Ben Affleck, in this case):
“So on the one hand, we had the legacy on our shoulders; and on the other hand, we both have the future of this new Batman to honor. And Superman. And Wonder Woman!… Since we had such an incredible synergy on Man of Steel, it was a perfect idea for us to work together on the Batman V Superman score.”
Serving as an executive producer on the album, Snyder was also very involved in the process, with Zimmer noting that he allows them to try things they haven’t done before. As Junkie XL put it:
“[Snyder] really knows what he wants as a filmmaker, yet he is very open and accepting of our ideas. He leaves you with an energy that makes you want to perform at your very, very best.”
Zimmer describes Batman V Superman as “mind blowing” and praises Snyder in being “brave and unique” in the choices he has made in the film. It is this ethic that he says he and Junkie XL have striven to recreate in the music choices they have made too, not least when it came to finding the right theme for Wonder Woman. The pair had already found the musical language of Superman (Henry Cavill), from Man of Steel, and quickly found the right theme for Affleck’s Batman, too. Making her first big screen appearance, and one that she will build on in subsequent movies, Zimmer felt that the theme for Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman “needed to be tribal and ferocious.” In the end, an electric cello was used to provide the perfect sound.
Both Zimmer and Junkie XL seem confident in the musical choices they have made here, and we will all be able to judge for ourselves in due course. Given the pair’s collective film score pedigree, as individuals as well as a team, it could well be that this score becomes a highlight of Batman V Superman. As Zimmer says, it’s the teamwork and collaboration that brings everything to life:
“Ultimately that’s what elevates a good movie; the musicianship, the ideas, the craftmanship, the artistic vision that everybody brings to the table.”
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25th, 2016, followed by Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 16th, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019;Justice League Part Two on June 14th, 2019; Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps on June 19th, 2020.