Lost fans are familiar with Giacchino’s work on tracks like The Constant and the song that played during Charlie’s death…I’m not crying…you are. Well, he has dialed it up to 11 on The Batman, which is the best superhero score ever. There are a number of excellent tracks in this score, but we will focus on The Batman.
For me, The Batman is one of the best superhero themes ever. It is complex, emotive and true to the character. It begins with a simple series of three notes on the keyboard, which signifies impending doom. Like Batman says, the bat-signal is a warning. This is quickly complimented with a series of wonderful string movements and a western style slide guitar. In a way, this mimics the character’s two halves. You have the elegant Bruce Wayne with his billions and the relentless vengeance of Batman. Horns and other brass end this first movement, which gives the track its superhero grandiosity. This has been a staple of Batman themes from Burton to Nolan. No Batman theme is quite complete without that brass.
However, the second movement returns to the strings. They seem to express a deep sorrow and longing that the elegant strings in the first movement lacked. There is a deep pain here, which mirrors Bruce’s grief over his parents’ murder. In a lot of ways this grief casts its shadow and hangs over the character for 95% of the movie. Bruce is never really able to integrate his grief and become a full person until the final act.
Having said all of that, it is the final movement that sets this apart from all other superhero themes. Giacchino strips back all the elaborate instrumentation, fades to silence and then returns to the familiar three piano notes from the beginning of the track. Now, we are past the strings and complexity and sitting in Batman’s core. He is stripped bare to his essence. These notes become menacing and relentless. You cannot escape them as they build to a frenzy. Much like Batman himself, his superhuman drive is what inspires horror in criminal’s hearts. You simply cannot escape him. These notes build and totally overwhelm you. They are both awe inspiring and oppressive. Magic.
Giacchino continuously returns to this musical theme throughout the movie and it acts much as character’s themes in Peter and the Wolf. You hear those first few keyboard notes and you know Batman is coming to throw it down. As soon as those notes kick in you are excited and terrified. Giacchino captures the essence of Batman in a track that will live on for decades.
Listen to The Batman