Soundtrack Review: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

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The Dark Knight Rises Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score The Dark Knight Rises by Hans Zimmer.

“I put this trilogy of scores up with the absolute best trilogies in the history of film music.”

So it’s finally the end of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and what a finale we have in store for us! Eight years after Batman took the fall for Two Face’s crimes, a new terrorist leader, Bane, overwhelms Gotham’s finest, and The Dark Knight resurfaces to protect a city that has branded him an enemy. It is of course directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale as Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred and Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon. The score is composed by Hans Zimmer.

Track List

1. A Storm Is Coming 80
2. In Thin Ice 80
3. Gotham’s Reckoning 100
4. Mind If Cut In 100
5. Underground Army 80
6. Born In Darkness 80
7. The Fire Rises 100
8. Nothing Out There 80
9. Despair 100
10. Fear Will Find You 100
11. Why Do We Fall? 100
12. Death By Exile 80
13. Imagine The Fire 100
14. Necessary Evil 80
15. Rise 100

The most anticipated score of the year is here, and even if you don’t agree, there are simply too many fans just dying to get their sweaty hands on this score. I have definitely looked forward to the third chapter in the Batman series of films by Christopher Nolan because I loved “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” both films and scores. On June 10, the bomb hit us all. Empire Online actually had the full score streaming on their website and so I had to join everyone in an attempt to listen to it before the imminent internet meltdown. There’s no James Newton Howard this time, but will the score need him?

If you are familiar with Batman Begins and particularly The Dark Knight you will not find many surprises in the score. It is definitely a Hans Zimmer Batman score to the core and that’s the way it’s meant to be.

The score is approximately 52 minutes long and feature 15 tracks in all and luckily there are no remix filler tracks like some feared. Instead it is really filled to the brim with music we expect to burst at us while watching the film. It is not an all out action score, but the action there is in here is what you would expect from a Zimmer Batman score, extremely high quality. ‘Gotham’s Reckoning’ for example is just what the doctor ordered but now with added chants. Yes, the chants play a big role in the score and it adds to the overall great quality.

In a couple of cues, ‘Underground Army’ and ‘Imagine The Fire’, I could hear the bassline from another great Zimmer cue from the past ‘The Kraken’, but apart from that, it is mostly influenced from the two previous Batman scores.

Also, the Catwoman theme ‘Mind If I Cut In’ definitely sounds different than the rest of the score and other themes like Batman, Joker, Two-Face etc.

When you come to track 7 ‘The Fire Rises’ be prepared for over 5 minutes of awesome action music. The start is toxic, wild, even extreme, but Zimmer has never been the one to shy away from such things. It’s explosive and just put this on maximum volume and enjoy the carnage. ‘Imagine The Fire’ is the longest cue on the score with 7 and a half minute and it’s also one of the best cues on the score. Just like ‘The Fire Rises’ it has a massive and epic approach that just keeps on pushing the sounds of delicious Zimmer-ish mayhem at you. It’s close to being the best action cue of the franchise but I still think ‘Molossus’ from Batman Begins has the edge. ‘Rise’ is the ending track and at over 7 minutes long it is another great reason to love this score. It’s TDKR’s ‘A Dark Knight’

Conclusion

The Dark Knight Rises feels fresh even though it is based on the previous Batman scores. It rises to a new level of excitement for me, although my personal favorite is still “Batman Begins”. It also lacks a cue like ‘A Dark Knight’ which is by far my favorite cue of the franchise (even though ‘Rise’ is pretty damn good and feels like a shorter remix of it), but overall this score is nothing short of great. It has what you would expect from a Zimmer Batman score and then it adds some phenomenal explosive stuff that keeps you coming back for more. I love this score and it feels so right, yet I can’t say it is the best score of the year so far (even though I want to). The numbers don’t add up, but by the end of the year, this will be the score I have listened the most. Is James Newton Howard missed? Perhaps a little, but Zimmer more than makes up for it in the end and finishes up this trilogy like the seasoned pro that he is. I put this trilogy of scores up with the absolute best trilogies in the history of film music. Just for the record though, Batman Begins is still my clear favorite of the three. What’s yours?

As a sidenote I have noticed that you get exclusive tracks when you order the CD from Amazon, ‘Bombers Over Ibiza (Junkie XL remix)’, ‘No Stone unturned’ and Risen From Darkness’. When you order from iTunes you get a different set of tracks in addition to ‘Bombers Over Ibiza (Junkie XL Remix)’: ‘The Shadows Betray You’ and ‘The End’. So it appears we have the same issue Tron: Legacy had to deal with. You will have to order several versions to get it all, which frankly sucks. Hopefully you will be able to get it all by ordering a Deluxe Edition or something like that but I won’t hold my breath.

GEEK SCORE: 90.6

Buy the score at Amazon or Amazon MP3. (iTunes link will be added when officially available)

Listen to The Dark Knight Rises by Hans Zimmer:

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Soundtrack Review: The Dark Knight Rises (2012), 8.5 out of 10 based on 81 ratings
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  • hans castorp

    heading up to listen to it myself…if it’s as good as you write, in the end, we will have hans zimmer and james newton howard the best of the year, only with two different scores…
    you mentioned molossus as you favorite action cue from the previous two scores…for me it’s the second best, after “almost a catch” from TDK. And my favorite cue overall is harvey dent…his theme is just…bliss

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Yep, both JNH and Zimmer delivered.

    • Lecrazy

      Like A Dog Chasing Cars is my favorite. Just so much heroic epicness.and then it comes to a crashing halt as the Joker’s theme is introduced. Brilliant.

      • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

        Another brilliant cue. So many… I should probably create a monster suite featuring cues from all three scores.

  • hans castorp

    and my favorite from the trilogy is also batman begins

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Then we agree :)

    • Guest

      Begins is the weakest in the trilogy…seriously action sucked monkey balls

    • http://www.facebook.com/susy.smith.3 Susy Smith

      Begins as a movie is the weakest in the trilogy…seriously action sucked monkey balls

  • http://www.facebook.com/marcjoseph.sison Marc Joseph Sison

    Like you, I also liked this score and the trilogy all in all. My favorite of the three is “The Dark Knight”. Although many of us Zimmer fans will like this, CC and company will surely destroy it in their reviews. :)

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      No doubt. I expect a frisbee on certain sites ;)

  • scientist88

    i’m sorry, but Death By Exile was definetly, at most, a 60…

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      It depends on how you see it. I see it as an intro to one of the best cues on the score ‘Imagine The Fire’ because if you have no gap between the tracks, it feels like a perfect match and Hans couldn’t have done a better intro imo.

  • NPTP

    Good taste – Begins is definitely my favourite score as well. In fact, I think Rises is the weakest of the three. Thanks for the review.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      I am still debating whether this is the weakest but I think it’s almost a tie between this one and The Dark Knight.

  • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

    I agree with you. It’s a stupid marketing ploy. Maybe they’ll earn more money short-term but they will lose long-term as more people turn to piracy.

  • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

    Nice! Thanks for the share.

  • Chiaraaa

    I certainly really liked the score but as you said, begins is my favorite due just to how much I have listened to is as opposed to the other films. Perhaps that little bit of JN-H was the perfect addition.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Yeah, JNH was missed a little in TDKR, but Zimmer held his own.

  • Arpit

    Perhaps addition of James Newton Howard would have earned this score atleast a 95/100 score. A good score nevertheless.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Perhaps. Batman Begins got a 95 from me.

  • Ivan

    I kinda hope Nolan-Zimmer chemistry will bring Zimmer back to Oscar nominee… What do you think?

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      There are some rumors that The Dark Knight Rises is Oscar bound so maybe some of it will trickle down on Zimmer. It’s about time he got another one.

    • http://flavors.me/dnwilliams dnwilliams

      As much as I like this score and Inception I really, really wish JNH was the one Nolan collaborated with more!

      • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

        Yeah I would love to hear some solo JNH for a Nolan movie. Would be so interesting.

  • Angela

    I’m going to fall in the minority here because I think it’s the weakest score of the series. Not to say I don’t like parts of it but like you I still think “Batman Begins” is the best. I was hoping for a cue like “A Dark Knight” from Dark Knight but the only one to even come close was “Rise” which is good but nothing we haven’t heard before. I do love the chanting voices, that is nice but I am overall very disappointed. I’ll stick with Batman Begins. I do wonder if it is because of JNH absence???

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Could be. Also think Batman Begins is the best.

  • hans castorp

    well i listened to it a few times..and i agree with geek..it’s amazing…it’s right up there with snow white for this year.
    as for the trilogy, still BB is the best, most intense, my favorite. from TDKR i absolutely love “mind if i cut in’ and, of course, “imagine the fire”. there’s also the second half of “necessary evil” which takes me right back to inception.

    i am waiting, as was the case with the other two scores in the trilogy, for the complete, expanded, recording sessions to get a better idea. anyway, i was a little nervous after what HZ did with POTC4, but it’s ok now.

    amazing score, i will keep listening to it

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      I’m hoping for a recording sessions promo myself.

  • http://profiles.google.com/flamingpenguin2 Stephen Noell

    I really enjoyed this, but I think it probably is the weakest of the trilogy in my opinion. I’m still debating as to whether Batman Begins or TDK is better, but I think BB wins out in the end, just because of how easy it is to listen to. TDK is great, especially tracks like “Like a Dog Chasing Cars” and “Watch the World Burn.” Great stuff from Zimmer in TDKR though.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Yep, a very strong trilogy. I think this and TDK is a battle for the weakest link, but if the weakest score is a great one like TDK or TDKR you know you have done something right.

  • http://flavors.me/dnwilliams dnwilliams

    The BATMAN BEGINS score is one of my favorites of all time. Really like this, ‘Gotham’s Reckoning’, ‘Mind If I Cut In?’, ‘Why Do We Fall’ and ‘Imagine The Fire’ are the highlights for me, this is right up there with JOHN CARTER for best of 2012.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      It’s just behind John Carter and Snow White for me. Amazing score though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=671412741 Laura Low

    great review and yeah imagine the fire Defo has to be my favourite,the parts that sound like bits from the kraken add to the depth of the entire piece,absolutely spine tingling! Hans zimmer at his finest xx

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      True, fantastic stuff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=671412741 Laura Low

    i hope so too,Hans deserves a Oscar and so does nolan,one of the best trilogys in recent years,it would be a disgrace to film if neither got a nomination let alone a win :)

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Agreed!

  • RZ

    Frankly, I am disappointed. If we want to compare it with other works of Hans Zimmer, I should say, It is the weakest.
    The power of Dark Knight Soundtrack was the beauty of it Without seeing the movie. you could listen to it all the time without the need to see the movie, and get excited.

    This one may work with the movie, but without seeing the movie, isn’t epic.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Well I disagree personally. I got a kick out of this, specially ‘The Fire Rises’, ‘Imagine The Fire’ and ‘Rise’ is what I would call epic. Goosebump stuff :)

  • Lee Allen

    I’m sorry but I have no understanding people’s love for this score. I find it terrible. How can anyone give ‘Mind if I cut in’ a perfect score. It is boring and uninspired with no interesting melody or content. That sums up the score to be honest. It has barely any original content. It’s filled with countless copy and paste jobs from the previous scores, and what is new, is bad. Bane’s chant isn’t scary or grand, it just sounds like ‘Fish fish, pasta pasta, and isn’t developed into anything more than a couple of chants. ‘Rise’ is basically copy and pasted from the end of The Dark Knight. James Newton Howard created musical depth for Begins and TDK where Zimmer provided banging drums and synthetic sounds. Howard’s Harvey Dent, Rachel Dawes, Bruce Wayne, Alfred motifs are beyond brilliant. It just shows that without Howard, like I predicted, Zimmer cannot deliver an in-depth masterpiece with emotional weight. It’s a finale to a grand trilogy, yet it isn’t grand, and isn’t finale-worthy. I’m a huge fan of Zimmer and have met the genius, but Rises is a disappointment. If you believe it deserves Oscar glory, then ask yourself this, is it better than Howard’s Signs masterpiece? His Village masterpiece? His Last Airbender masterpiece? All of which didn’t win an Oscar, 2 of which weren’t even nominated, and all are on countless music critics top lists of the greatest scores in history.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      To be fair, Oscar is and always has been a popularity contest, where the score is judged by many criteria, just not necessarily how good it sounds (like recent years is very much proof of that). It is not totally unrealistic for an Oscar nod for the last film in a great trilogy to be honored like Lord Of The Rings was.

      I wouldn’t put this score even close to The Last Airbender which is for me one of the greatest scores of all time. Personally I love TDKR more than both Signs and The Village though.

      Everyone has an opinion and yours is certainly valid and a great one. It’s a shame that you couldn’t hear what I am hearing when listening to this score as it would absolutely make your hair stand on end in certain cues.

    • Geoff

      This score is incredible

  • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

    You never know :)

  • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

    Hehe yep, that’s true.

  • RonTonY

    Yeah, Bombs Over Ibiza is dub step house, but you’re focused on the medium used (electro instrument manipulation) instead of the technique – the arrangement was still classical and was absolute genius if you ask me – The angry tremor of the strings during the riddling of obnoxious bass was pure gold. I could only think of the fight Batman would be up against (I’m referring to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Strikes Again). The whole album is fantastic in the way it sets the mood, but that dub step piece just oozes the primal essence of a good fight.

  • Pekingesejedi

    The music from the third trailer is nowhere to found on the cd,even the 6 bonus tracks don’t have it.I’m very angry it’s not there.

  • Calahoon

    Another great soundtrack by Hans Zimmer never fails to produce. Rise and Imagine the fire are fantastic and my favourite but I loved Necessary Evil and Mind If I Cut In as well. Fantastic stuff. However I reckon the academy will overlook this like they have with previous Zimmer- Howard Batman Scores. I was surprised not to hear any of the trailer music on the album.

    Producers: You don’t owe these people any more. You’ve given them everything.
    Zimmer: Not everything…Not yet.

  • LeeLeeLoopy

    Absolutely Phenomenal! Hans has certainly outdone himself because this soundtrack truly deserves an Oscar! His work has often gone unnoticed, which bothers me to no end (Inception? The Lion King?). This man deserves recognition for this!

  • jewen07

    Ok, where is the deserved Oscar award for this epic masterpiece?

    Probably in the same place like Gladiator, Lady In The Water, Airbender,Tron Legacy, Inception and many others.
    But for my, always in my memory and my tracklist…DESHEE BASARA!!!

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com/ Jørn Tillnes

      Was never going to happen. Was this disqualified for the Oscars or was it The Dark Knight? Something about a zillion composers or something that The Academy doesn’t like.

  • Sreekiran

    The soundtrack is powerful at its best. Gotham’s reckoning is the eerily score for the bad guy. The fire rises is replicant of the previous films, but what an intro score for the dark knight. Why do we fall, is impressive as it picks up. Imagine the fire and the Rise are the stand out tracks of the album. Rest are okay. But on the whole, a track worth to hear from start. Go on Zimmer. Do the best as you can. Power means TDKR, TDKR means power.

  • Arkadiusz Malcahn

    The Fire Rises is a blast! Definitely my favourite track from the whole trilogy.