Danny Elfman knows superhero scores. Though he has done many, his standouts are the classic themes from Batman (1989) and Batman Returns, his amazing Spider-Man (2002) and Spider-Man 2 scores, and some supplemental music for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Though John Williams’ Superman score predates Elfman’s Batman theme, one could still consider Elfman the architect of what music in a superhero film should sound like.
It was a delight then, that Elfman returned to the world of superhero music with his score for Justice League, even though he was brought in last minutes by Joss Whedon to replace Antonius Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL. Elfman obviously used some cues from Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Wonder Woman, but also made the brilliant move of incorporating bits and pieces of his original Batman theme and William’s Superman music.
Elfman explained how he used his Batman theme in the Justice League score to The Hollywood Reporter:
“I twisted it and my Batman theme… the DNA is there, but the themes aren’t necessarily obvious in the film. Except for one specific moment in the final battle. Joss said, ‘Let’s do it [Batman’s theme] on the nose. Fans love this kind of stuff.’”
Aside from fans loving nostalgia, Elfman had an entirely different reason that he wanted to incorporate his and William’s music into the new score:
“The whole concept that every time a superhero franchise is rebooted with a new director, then you have to start the music from scratch is a bulls**t idea. It’s only for the ego of the director or the composer. They need to learn the incredible lesson that Star Wars and James Bond have known for ages, which is that keeping these musical connections alive is incredibly satisfying for the people who see those films.”
Elfman used his Mission: Impossible score as an example:
“It would’ve been crazy to exclude it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a decade old, or seventy years old. Give me a reboot of any old film and I can take the themes and use them in a way that feels fresh.”
Elfman also said he used the numerous Spider-Man themes Marvel and Sony have concocted after he left after Spider-Man 2 as an example to DC for why they should allow him to include the classic themes:
“There’s like four different Spider-Man themes at this point, and as a result, he doesn’t have a recognizable sound. I told the guys at DC, you have a great musical heritage that you should be proud of and you should keep it alive. And they agreed with me, which is refreshing.”
As for whether or not we will be hearing Elfman’s sick tunes in future DC Extended Universe movies, Elfman said he had no expectations, though he had a particularly easy time working with DC:
“I met with all the producers and the Warner Brothers/DC executives, knowing they were just going to rip apart my cues or request different takes, but they were incredibly supportive and didn’t want drastic alterations. That never happens!”
Did you like Danny Elfman’s score for Justice League? Did you enjoy hearing hints of Superman and Batman themes past? Do you agree that franchises should not change their main theme when they reboot or is Elfman full of himself? Let us know in the comment section below!
Justice League is now in theaters.
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SOURCE: The Hollywood Reporter