Love him or hate him, Hans Zimmer has quite the presence in the world of cinema. If you’re here, reading this, then you’ve definitely heard his music, whether it be that from Pirates of the Caribbean, Sherlock Holmes, Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, and even The Amazing Spider-Man 2. And that’s just a sampling of his work! Whew!
Though he’s not the only composer to score the music for two different Batman actors — Elliot Goldenthal wrote the music for Batman Forever starring Val Kilmer and Batman & Robin with George Clooney — he is the only one to write two completely different scores for separate Batman Universes. Based on the quality of Batman Forever and its sequel, I’m assuming Goldenthal didn’t really give character motivation much thought when writing his Batman theme, but Zimmer took it very seriously. Now that he’s done with superhero themes forever (or for now…), Zimmer has a unique outlook on the differences between Christian Bale’s performance from The Dark Knight Trilogy and Ben Affleck’s in Batman V Superman.
Zimmer discussed how the switch in actors changed his approach, even though the character is the same, in an interview with Inverse:
“I spent months trying to come up with something for Ben. The Batman that I know and the one I learned is the one that Christian did, and Ben plays it differently. And I canâ€™t quite shake that off. For me, the Christian Bale character was always completely unresolved. It was always about that moment at the beginning of the first movie, where he sees his parents getting killed. It was basically arrested development. The Ben character is more middle-aged, he seems to be grumpy as hell but I didnâ€™t feel the pain that I felt in Christianâ€™s performance. And it was that pain that made be interested.”
Though The Dark Knight films are obviously superior, I must say I disagree with Zimmer’s take on Affleck’s Batman. His Bruce Wayne’s pain is palpable, even if it comes across as rage more than Bale’s almost morose portrayal. I obviously prefer all three Christopher Nolan films to Batman V Superman, yet I think Ben Affleck is the better Batman. I may be alone in that, but for me it has always been about the balance between Batman and Bruce Wayne. Some actors nail one and not the other. Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne was lacking but he did a great Batman, Bat-Voice aside. I think Affleck was great as both sides of the coin, as a more charming Wayne and more bad-ass Bat.
Of course, Zimmer was not alone for his second round of Batman, as Junkie XL (Mad Max: Fury Road, Deadpool) worked closely with him on the Batman theme. Zimmer told Inverse:
“We did it together. Well, you know, honestly, thinking about it, we really did do it together. And it was great having a partner in crime on this thing. And you canâ€™t have a better partner than Junkie, the guy is on fire constantly. Heâ€™s one of the most creative people I know, and plus heâ€™s as geeky as me.”
I wonder if Junkie XL would agree with Zimmer’s assessment of Batffleck?
Do you agree with Hans Zimmer? Was Bale’s Batman “unresolved” with more pain than Affleck brought to the role? Did you feel Batffleck was just an old-grumpy-face? Or does comparing the two bring the most pain of all?
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