Re: Greatest Composer of a Batman Film!?
Elfman all the way.
The problem with Zimmer and Howard's scores for the Nolan films is that they are generic trailer music, IMO. It really doesn't feel like a Batman movie when I hear it. It captures the tone Nolan wants but that's it. There aren't many themes to identify the characters with either and if there are it feels lazy and too simple to me.
Batman's motif is two simple notes. Zimmer claims that Batman hasn't earned his theme yet so that's why he has a simple motif that you hear in Black Rain and any other action film he scored. I'm not going to bother comparing it to Elfman's, Walker's or even Goldenthal's theme , which I think is underrated.
The Joker has a one note theme. I'll admit it captured some of Heath's performance but definitely not all of it. There's more to Heath's performance than being scary and dark and Zimmer missed it big time. One note doesn't do his performance justice at all. Ledger gave an amazing performance to one of the best villains on any medium and all he gets is one silly long note. Darth Vader, the shark from Jaws, Doc Ock, Norman Bates, and so on and so forth have great themes to go with great performances but the joker the one played by an actor who passed away shortly after filming and received a posthumus oscar for arguably portraying the best joker on screen get's one silly ridiculously long note.
Harvey Dent's theme is basically Batman's. Probably to parallel Dent's White Knight to Wayne's Dark Knight. Still seems lazy. I was very disappointed in that theme compared to everything else b/c Howard wrote it without the aid of Zimmer as Zimmer did with the Joker. Instead Dent's theme might as well have been written by Zimmer since it sounded like Zimmer anyways.
Another problem is Nolan. IMO Nolan doesn't have an ear for music. That seems to be a flaw he has in every movie of his. Now don't get me wrong I do think TDK is good in a guilty pleasure kind of way but nothing else. It's music you could play while working out , drawing, etc. Not really a good listening experince unless you're busy doing something while that's playing in the background. Back to Nolan, Inception had the potential to do a lot of things with the music as did BB and TDK and missed the oppotunity. Instead Nolan wanted Zimmer to write his usual generic loud trailer music instead of a psychological dense score that could create layers just to emulate the dreams and emotions in the movie.
Too bad those scores had so much potential to be great and missed it big time. Sad when two composers like Zimmer and Howard , who are so much better than what Nolan gives them credit for, collaborate and come up with something like what they came up with for BB and TDK. Nolan's Batman scores are nothing but guilty pleasures to my ears.