With whirling strings, great speed and a consistent sound THE FLASH soundtrack will make excellent driving music.
The score by Benjamin Wallfisch was posted in its entirety on the WaterTower Music YouTube page on June 16 and made available for digital purchase. A double CD is slated to ship in August and a three-LP vinyl in September.
As someone whose music collection is about half movie scores and soundtracks, I was looking forward to this as much as the film itself!
THE FLASH is the most tonally consistent comic book score since Hans Zimmer’s MAN OF STEEL. This can rub you the wrong way as many tracks are hard to tell apart. However, for a film about a super-speedster, I feel it keeps you focused on what is happening on the screen and again want to drive (reasonably) faster.
I’m always delighted when the hero gets a piano tune to accompany him, as Flash has in the “Run” track. The majority of the score though has what can best be described as a properly disorienting feel and sounds like a relative to THE MATRIX intro music.
I also couldn’t help picking up a shade of WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT during the “Baby Shower” track. So there’s a strong chance next time I watch THE FLASH I’ll imagine Barry Allen yelling, “I’ll save you baby!!!”
Of course, we have the revival of Michael Keaton’s Batman march originally composed by Danny Elfman and still one of the most memorable superhero pieces ever made.
Putting together a team-up movie score can be a Catch-22. Elfman’s 2017 JUSTICE LEAGUE soundtrack featured a reprisal of the SUPERMAN 1978 and BATMAN 1989 themes but it didn’t mesh with the new actors and felt out of time.
Wallfisch luckily adapts the old to the new beautifully, providing enough nostalgia with a modern twist. Keaton’s march is still there but with the aforementioned whirling sound that THE FLASH‘s score thrives on. It’s like taking the Batman theme and running it through a Flash filter. The final product could come across as deluded but it absolutely works.
In fact, with THE FLASH score being very choir heavy I’d favorably compare it to Elfman’s BATMAN RETURNS soundtrack. There’s a Tim Burton-like wonder to it. If Elfman’s RETURNS music is nighttime this Wallfisch one is daytime.
The best example of this is the “What is this place?” track when we’re shown Wayne Manor. A playful harp hints at the Batman theme, stoking our curiosity and maybe gently references Batman unmasking himself to Catwoman in RETURNS.
I had high expectations that Wallfisch would deliver a new, intense variant of Ben Affleck’s Batman music. He had composed the SHAZAM! score and hands down my favorite part there was when one of the kids used a Batarang and the Batfleck cue from BATMAN v SUPERMAN turned up.
Sadly, aside from a powerful drumbeat similar to the Batwing’s attack on the warehouse in BvS the “Sounds about right, Bruce” track could fit in with most action movies. This echoes one of my few gripes with Tom Holkenborg’s score for ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE, there’s a hint of a Batman theme there but it blends in too much with the team stuff.
Holkenborg’s work in BvS still represents the peak sound of Affleck’s Dark Knight.
The same goes for Sasha Calle’s Supergirl, who never gets a clear theme. Her track starts out with a delightful note yet never distinguishes itself from the rest of the music.
One thing that is difficult to get used to is the short run times. There are a dozen or more tracks that are only one to two minutes long. This isn’t too out of the ordinary for a movie score, especially Elfman’s Batman discography (which might explain Wallfisch’s thinking here). But certain tracks should have been combined.
I guess I had gotten used to a Zimmer score with the music averaging three to seven minutes in length. If you merged the tracks where Barry goes back in time and the battle against Zod it’d be more listener-friendly. As it stands now, right when your adrenaline gets going the music subsides to move on to the next track.
Finally, I’d have liked it if Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4,” which played during Keaton‘s entrance, was featured on the soundtrack. I hadn’t heard that song since 2004 when Austin’s oldies station went away, and it was a pleasant surprise.
THE FLASH score is just like the movie it brings to life: a solid entry that delivers consistency while being just short of grasping greatness. – James Armstrong