It's rare to see two marquee-name composers credited for a score, but perhaps two people were needed to come up with something that would stand up to the memory of Danny Elfman's work on 1989's Batman.
Just as director Christopher Nolan's back-in-black approach is quite different from Tim Burton's phantasmagorical one, Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard's take doesn't bear much kinship to Elfman's. (You'd be hard-pressed to find any recognizable theme here, for instance.) Mostly the composers remain conservatively subtle, though coming up with the expected pounding on grandiose, action-movie worthy selections such as "Myotis" and "Antrozous" (no, the poetic-sounding track names aren't lifted from old Cocteau Twins
records, but refer to various types of bats). Standout track "Tadarida" incorporates some of the distorted vocal effects associated with the Scarecrow's drug-induced nightmarish visions. Atmospheric to the point of evanescence sometimes, the individual tracks tend to meld into each other after a while. The sense of stylistic continuity helps establish an overall mood, but it's often hard to distinguish between shades of black. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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