Lots of discussion and lots of opinions were flying around recently about the quality of music in super hero movies that have been produced over the last five years or so, I have to say I do agree to a certain extent, especially the efforts of Hans Zimmer but that’s is another story, I think the THOR scores by Doyle and Tyler were very good and had what a good superhero scores needs, THEMES. The latest offering in the superhero film department is JUSTICE LEAGUE and this has a score by Danny Elfman, in my humble opinion this has got to be the best score for a film of this kind in many a year, it is a return to thundering themes, superb secondary themes and numerous motifs for the many characters involved. Elfman has always been a composer who has delivered and with every assignment just seems to become more polished and creative. Yes, the score for JUSTICE LEAGUE can at times sound predictable and maybe a little cliched, but I think in these days of mediocre music for the cinema it is what film music fans need and want. This is a large-scale work, with vibrant and strident strings, jagged, proud and at times rasping brass passages, powerful percussive interludes and support, ominous sounding choir brings at times a darker sound to the proceedings and enhances and embellishes this already commanding work. Driving, sinister and melodic go hand in hand within this score, each of them complimenting the other and fusing together to achieve a style and sound that is appealing and alluring, it is a work that I know will be a big hit with collectors, there is something here for everyone, action, adventure, romance, melancholy and memorable themeatic material. The sound that Elfman has created for this project is certainly a little different from his somewhat impish and tongue in cheek style and approach on other movies within this genre, it is a return to the days of BATMAN, with powerful dark and near operatic musical moments. A return to the commanding and haunting thematic approach that he employed within films such as DARKMAN, NIGHT BREED and has little nuances and references which could be out of BEETLEJUICE, but with a higher degree of tension and a richly dark and shadowy persona underlying, Elfman does pay homage to himself in a way, as he weaves into the fabric of the new music hints of the original BATMAN theme, which is instantly recognisable, but we can also hear the SUPERMAN theme or at least little hints of it. The composer also employs a style within the quieter moments of the score, that is melodious but at the same time has to it a menacing and foreboding aura. We are treated to some wonderfully emotive writing aswel in the cue, A NEW HOPE in which the composer employs strings, woods, piano and solo trumpet before it launches intoa momentous and powerful crescendo, but the inventiveness of the composer shines through in each track, where else would you hear a Balalika in a superhero score, well there is one here. The cue AQUAMAN IN ATLANTIS, is a composition that displays the versatility of the composer, because it has so many musical guises within its running time, robust and forceful to begin with and then moving into full on action mode, until finally coming to rest with slow and poignant woods that bring the cue to its close.
This is Danny Elfman at his best, it is the Danny Elfman we all know and love, a Danny Elfman who has managed I think to rescue the superhero score with this work. I recommend that you get this soundtrack, it is a score that you will never tire of and will return to many times. Buckle up for the ride of a lifetime, this is awesome stuff.