Film scores

Soundtrack review: Justice league – Throne of Atlantis (Frederik Wiedmann – 2015)

Justice League- ToA

“Justice league – Throne of Atlantis” is a superhero animated movie in the DC Universe. It’s some sort of origin story for Aquaman and this means there’s no guy more fit to write the score than Frederik Wiedmann. I talked to him about this score and other things and you can check out the conversation on Sunday . I’ve been a big fan of his Batman scores so I couldn’t wait to see how dark and epic this one was going to be. This is actually a sound I’m familiar with so it’s like sitting at dinner with old friends. A very dark and awesome dinner.

“SOS” eases us into this score. For the first minute that is because we don’t need to be eased up into this score. We the listeners know what we came for. The music rises like a wave and sprouts some choral work at the end, epic choral work not to be mistaken with the emotional one that starts “Athens affair”. Is it a female voice? Are these only strings bringing the echo of a female voice? It doesn’t matter, the effect is awesome.

I am comfortable with this music and I welcome it with all my heart. I couldn’t have appreciated cues like “Water” and “Cyborg in the deep” this much if I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I like it that this score takes no breaks and has no filler cues. Every piece of music means something and Freddie Wiedmann had a lot of material to choose from. You can hear that in the music because only the best made in on the album. There are themes for almost every character and “Scarecrow” is my favorite. This is my kind of epic and I can tell that the composer took a lot of joy in writing this theme.

Frederik Wiedmann created a unique sound for this franchise and “Justice league” has an easily recognizable identity. Give me “Cyborg reveals” and I’ll recognize the composer any day. I love the surprises in this cue and the turns it take toward the end. Nothing is linear and this makes the music all the more exciting. “One of both worlds” and “A memory of the past” have that reflective melodic sound that evokes a hero’s back story or his resorts for acting the way he does. These two cues are also a sort of break before the action starts again. “No mercy” brings the epic choirs and the relentless pounding of the strings and percussion. The main motif is repeated faster and faster as if I was witnessing the transformation of man in superhero. It’s the highlight of the first half of the score for me. It’s already marked for a trial for my running playlists.

Whenever I watch a movie or animated feature about superheroes I am fascinated by the dark side of the their story, by the part that made them who they are. It’s not a darkness to be afraid of, it’s actually a comfortable, melodic darkness and one I can understand. A superhero story would not work without that dark side and this is what Freddie Wiedmann does so well in scores like “Justice league – Throne of Atlantis”: put that darkness into notes and transmit it to us. I almost feel like it’s part of me now.

“The calling” is another highlight of this score. Now I am sure this is my favorite piece from the album. It’s a very special feeling to listen to this score while my 2 weeks old daughter sleeps in a basket near me. I look at her, I listen to this music and I realize I’d like to be like a superhero for her and protect her and let her know that I’ll always be here for her. Do I feel a new calling myself?

“Justice league – Throne of Atlantis” tells a story. The music is deep and powerful. “Reunited” is sweet and grateful and I understand the cue because I am invested in what the music told me so far. Then comes the final part of the score where everything comes together. “Justice league”, “Few against many” open the road to the epilogue and the completion of the origin story. That epilogue (“Becoming a beacon” and “Aquaman”) has all the heroism I need to be very satisfied with the ending of such a story. The ending is a new beginning…

After hearing this score I now regret not asking Freddie what his favorite cue from it was. I’ll get another chance for sure. “Justice league” was an exciting a listen as ever and there’s a lot more coming from him this year. I am really looking forward to it all.

Cue rating: 92 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 35 / 57

Album excellence: 62%

Highlights:

03 Athens Affair
04 Water

06 Scarecrow
07 Cyborg Reveals

09 A Memory Of The Past
10 No Mercy

13 The Truth
14 The Calling
15 Royal Murder
16 Reunited

21 Few Against Many
22 Brothers
23 Becoming A Beacon
24 Aquaman

 

 

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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