Chaos sits in a darkened corner of Gotham city, rubs its hands together and smiles. It's almost time. In a little while, the forces of insanity and madness will begin a twisted, enraged march through the town, burning it all to the ground as it offers a full challenge to the "Dark Knight" with a limitless grin and a semi-crazy school girl flicker of the eyelids.
The Joker has arrived to town.
James Newton Howard (The Sixth Sense, The Village, Collateral, etc.) and Hans Zimmer (Gladiator, Crimson Tide, The Thin Red Line, etc.) once again have seized the essential musical "nector of the gods" and given us mere mortals another taste of bliss with a score that will certainly rival any action-based film for years to come. Here are the standouts...
#1. Why So Serious?- opens the film. This melody gives us a glimpse of the horror that awaits the city of Gotham as a psychotic clown roams the streets with murder and aimless rage on his devilish mind.
#2. I'm Not a Hero - spells the anguish and darkness that both Batman and his enemies seem to share. A powerful montage of moods which range from a surreal set of ominous strings until being finally eclipsed by by an epic, almost chanting rhythm where we feel the defiance within Batman's soul.
#3. Harvey Two-Face - a Newton Howard piece which illuminates the heroic side of the cities vigilant district attorney, Harvey Dent.
#4. Aggressive Expansion - Zimmer roars out at us with this one. A powerful tune which combines sparse threads of the Batman theme with an otherworldly sense of anticipation.
#5. Always a Catch - Opens with the Joker's delirious theme; closes with a quaint melody.
#6. Blood on My Hands - another Harvey Dent theme. A haunting piece of strings give us the mood for just what Dent represents to the city and his importance to the people as a symbol of justice.
#7. A Little Push - lacking a definitive structure, this song acts as a filler being only 2:42 long.
#8. Like a Dog Chasing Cars - Truly one of the standout pieces to this score, this song attacks the listener with a quick-patterned rise that culminates in menacing dance into the world of both Batman and the Joker. A beautiful tune which shares both the definition of who Joker and Batman truly are, until finally giving way into a melody which stands alone as Batman's, essentially leaving his similarities to the Joker behind.
#9. I am the Batman - short but powerful filler track.
#10. And I Thought My Jokes Were Bad - only 2:30 long, still provides the listener with a concise ride into the realm of Gotham.
#11. Agent of Chaos - Another multi-layered piece which pays initial homage to the Joker's random madness until giving way to the tragic outcome surrounding Harvey Dent.
#12. Introduce a Little Anarchy - if ever there was a Zimmer Batman theme within the film, this would be it.
#13. Watch the World Burn - Captures the horror of what the Joker is capable of doing. Truly one of the gems of the score, if not the most powerful track on the album.
#14. A Dark Knight - at 16:15, acts as the final piece for the film, joining together many of the main themes from the film.
soundtrack grade: A
audibility aside from the film: A
rank among top film scores: top 100
rank among top action scores: top 50