The dark end of “The dark knight” trilogy of scores was Hans Zimmer’s responsibility. James Newton Howard and his sensitivity were gone, and we were left with no real hope and a tremendous villain, the strongest Batman had to face during the trilogy. “The dark knight rises” was a tough challenge for Chris Nolan, to finish the trilogy on par with the second movie, a tough challenge for Batman, with his formidable and smart opponent Bane, and a tough challenge for Hans Zimmer to own this franchise.
Without Newton Howard, the music is dark as the underground prison from the movie. Everything is sharp and hopeless, heavy and aggressive. The music is brilliant. We get two new themes for the new characters: a luscious and slippery piano theme for Catwoman (“Mind if I cut in”) and a razor like motif with a hair raising chant for the unforgiving Bane. The chants are a recurring theme in this song, and the “Desi basarra” choir has remained legendary. The only hope we get in “The dark knight rises” is in the final cue, when James Newton Howard’s motif from the first score returns briefly during the most poignant scene. Now that the trilogy ends, the evolution of the music is obvious. “Batman begins” seems far away and innocent now, all the traces of hope and gentleness long gone.
Though lacking the magic of “The dark knight”, “The dark knight rises” gives birth to one of the most powerful and raw Hans Zimmer themes ever. “Imagine the fire”, Bane’s curse, is a magnificent composition that crushes everything in its path and drills away at the listener. It places dynamite in those holes and then blows everything up with the loudest of bangs. This 7 minute long monster never stops, it just rises and rises like a wave of pitch. You can physically feel the music crawling on your skin.
“Rise”, the end credits cue, is the other major highlight of this score. it’s heartbreaking and rises to the task of ending one of the best movie score trilogies of all times.
Cue rating: 84 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 42 / 51
Album excellence: 81%
A Storm Is Coming
On Thin Ice
Mind If I Cut In?
Born In Darkness
The Fire Rises
Why Do We Fall?
Imagine the Fire