Music is a core component of every cinematic experience. With comic book movies, it is important to use soundscapes that not only reflect the heroes and villains, but their environment and what they represent. The four #Batman movies of the Burtonverse aimed to capture that with every release, and undoubtedly succeeded.
- Perk Up Your Ears & Listen To The Best Movie Soundtracks
In this article, I will rank the albums of the film series from worst to best. I've also included my favorite song from each release. However, the question remains: Which album genuinely defines the essence of Batman overall?
6. 'Batman & Robin' (1997, Soundtrack)
Yes, you should have guessed right away that the musical counterpart to Batman & Robin would be the worst of my list. The universally hated film turned the dark realm of Gotham into a world of bubblegum. Although its soundtrack was praised and even certified platinum, to me it was as chaotic as the movie itself. Going from grunge to gospel to techno within minutes, this album completely abandoned consistency and respecting the character of Batman altogether. As a huge fan of The Smashing Pumpkins, their track "The End Is the Beginning Is the End" didn't fail to stay with me.
5. 'Batman Forever' (1995, Score)
After listening to Elliot Goldenthal's Batman Forever score, I couldn't help but feel as if something was missing. It also contained lots of repetitive elements, most notably in "Perpetuum Mobile" and "Gotham City Boogie." Overall, this is the movie's vapid script and uninspired portrayal of Batman morphed into music. While I did appreciate Nicole Kidman as the clever psychologist, Dr. Chase Meridian, the scores provided to reflect her character ("Chase Noir" and "Chase Blanc") gave off a haunting, elegant tone.
4. 'Batman' (1989, Soundtrack)
While I thoroughly enjoyed the Prince album, it definitely fit #TheJoker more than the Dark Knight himself. Songs like "Partyman" and "Trust" encapsulated his wild antics, and added the perfect amount of levity that the remarkable film deserved.
3. 'Batman Forever' (1995, Soundtrack)
As opposed to the film itself, the soundtrack to Batman Forever was a work of art. While the tracks ranged from a variety of genres, it kept a consistent dark, dreamy mood throughout its entirety. It was difficult choosing a favorite, but Mazzy Star's relaxed, acoustic trip won me over within its first few seconds.
2. 'Batman' (1989, Score)
Batman (1989) used a flawless balance of soundtrack and score. Danny Elfman is the one who started it all with the character's musical realm. His emblematic piece, "The Batman Theme" paved the way for music of the legendary cartoon, Batman: The Animated Series. The track's gorgeous melody is sure to resonate with every fan of the Bat.
1. 'Batman Returns' (1992, Score/Soundtrack)
In my opinion, the Batman Returns album truly defined the character and the gothic, brooding landscape that is Gotham. Danny Elfman returned once again, bringing back the charm of his Batman (1989) score with a fresh take. While the aforementioned album mostly captured the character, this one captured his entire world. The track that stole the show for me wasn't exactly a score. The single created for the film, "Face to Face" by Siouxsie and the Banshees is a dream in itself. You can't help but envision the first encounter/fight between Batman and Catwoman while listening to the art-pop ballad.
Let's not forget about this classic melody, an amalgamation of all the Batman moments we've seen thus far:
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What is your favorite album of the Burtonverse? Share your thoughts in the comments below!