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6 reasons why composer Danny Elfman is excellent news for Justice League


Amidst ongoing reports that DC's Justice League movie is undergoing extensive reshoots, news has emerged that the soundtrack for the movie is also changing.

It's been revealed that Junkie XL, who co-composed Batman v Superman with Hans Zimmer, is now off the project and has been replaced by Danny Elfman. This comes as Avengers director Joss Whedon has waded into the fray to rescue the film after filmmaker Zack Snyder stepped down due to personal tragedy.

It may be a chaotic situation but Elfman's appointment to the project is very good news indeed. Here's why.

He defined the sound of Batman

Hans Zimmer's Dark Knight scores have their fans, and let's not forget Elliot Goldenthal's excellent work on both Forever and Robin. But there's only one true Batman theme, and that's Elfman's.

His grandiose, Gothic yet ever-so-slightly tongue in cheek superhero march for the two Tim Burton movies, released in 1989 and 1992, defined the contradictions and brooding grandiosity of Batman like no-one else.

Given his work was so influential in defining Michael Keaton's Batman, we can't wait to hear how he depicts Ben Affleck's take on the character in Justice League. Do we sense another classic theme in the making?

In fact, he defined the tone of the modern day superhero soundtrack

In the wake of Burton's Batman movies the floodgates were opened to superhero movies. One of the most influential aspects on all the ensuing movies was Elfman's richly melodic, textural music, which exerted an enormous influence not only on the immediate likes of Dick Tracy (scored by Elfman in 1990) but also the contemporary Marvel movies (listen out for the soaring sounds in Michael Giacchino's Doctor Strange score).

The dark tone of Elfman's soundtracks, ones that invited us to dance with the devil in the pale moonlight, was one of the most important developments in the superhero movie since John Williams soared with his Superman theme back in 1978.

Put simply, there is no better superhero composer than Elfman to score Justice League. Just listen to the clear influence on Jerry Goldsmith's spectacular score for 1994 flop The Shadow.

He's a comic book pro

Spider-Man 1 & 2, Wanted, Hulk, Darkman, the Men in Black movies – Elfman's superhero and comic output is really quite remarkable. Just look at all those movie scores cited there: they're all recognisably Elfman yet they're each tailored brilliantly to their respective movie, from rumbling, modernistic anger to soaring emotion and rip-roaring action.

This all bodes well for Justice League: given it's DC's first ensemble superhero movie and given the sheer range of characters on display, there's every opportunity for Elfman to pick tones and styles from each of the aforementioned scores and meld them into one glorious whole.

He's an expert at capturing weird and wonderful characters

The ongoing partnership between Elfman and Burton is one of the greatest in modern cinema, encompassing a whole host of oddball movies including the hilarious Beetlejuice, the mischievous songs of The Nightmare Before Christmas, the anarchic Mars Attacks! and the creepy Gothic horror of Sleepy Hollow.

Given Justice League is crammed with a whole host of unusual DC faces (many of whom like Jason Momoa's Aquaman and Ezra Miller's The Flash we haven't seen before), we can't wait for Elfman to dip into his box of musical tricks.

If rumours are to be believed that Whedon is adding more humour to the movie, can we expect the composer's music to strike a similarly lighthearted tone in the manner of his earlier classics?

He can wring the tears out of us

Two words: 'Ice Dance'. This beautifully tender, crystalline piece from Elfman's masterful Edward Scissorhands soundtrack is more than enough to set the waterworks going.

If he can wring even a fraction of this emotion for Justice League and create genuine empathy for the film's characters, we'll be happy.

He and Joss Whedon are already a great team

When it came to Whedon's 2015 Avengers sequel, Age of Ultron, capable superhero composer Brian Tyler (responsible for Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World), was signed on to write the score.

However just months away from the release date it was revealed that Elfman had also been drafted in to adapt Alan Silvestri's muscular theme from the earlier Avengers movie, ensuring franchise continuity whilst also moving the future of the team in new directions, musically.

Why Tyler couldn't have done this himself is unclear (scheduling conflicts with Furious 7 is the most likely reason), but there's no denying that the theme Elfman came up with is one of the best things about the movie. It proves that both he and Whedon are a formidable team – bring on Justice League.

Why do you think Danny Elfman is the perfect choice for Justice League? The film is out on 17th November (providing the reshoots don't change anything), so let us know @Cineworld.