In my last post, I discussed the variations on the most prominent theme in Batman Begins: a two-note motive of D-F for Batman. But there are three other themes that appear in the film at prominent moments. These are described below in a film music analysis.
The “Thoughts of Death” Theme
This theme appears twice in the film, the first time after the young Bruce Wayne’s parents are shot dead and there is a cut from the crime scene to the police station where Bruce is being cared for. The music features a wordless boy soprano singing three phrases:
Because this theme isn’t heard until after Bruce’s parents have been killed, it does not represent the sorrow of the scene in general, as is typically done, but rather Bruce’s sorrow in having witnessed the death of his parents. Hear it in this clip:
This theme also appears when Bruce returns to Gotham as a young adult for the court hearing for the early release of Chill, the man who killed his parents. As Bruce unpacks in his room at Wayne Manor, he reveals a handgun he had packed in his suitcase. At this moment the theme returns, indicating that Bruce is not only contemplating the death of his parents but, as the handgun implies, killing Chill as well. For this reason, I call it the “Thoughts of Death” theme.
The “Succeeding” Themes
These themes appear in a few key scenes:
- When the adult Bruce lowers himself into the well and starts to create the Batcave
- When Batman brings in his “backup”—a flurry of bats—to distract police while he saves Rachel
Succeeding Theme 1
Succeeding Theme 2
Succeeding Theme 3
These themes are used interchangeably and are heard when Bruce or Batman is in the process of overcoming some obstacle. This process is why I say it is a “succeeding” theme and not simply a “success” theme. Notice that they are all in the same D minor key as the main Batman motives, further associating the themes with Bruce/Batman. Hear the clip below from 0:38 for Theme 1, which then leads into Theme 3 at 0:55 (beginning in slightly varied form).
And Theme 2 can be heard below from 0:39:
The Love Theme
This theme is quite long but this is its most prominent portion:
This portion of the theme occurs at two important spots:
- When young Bruce is on the elevated train listening to his father talk about how he helps the city
- When Bruce and Rachel kiss in the burnt out rubble of Wayne Manor
Here’s an audio clip of theme starting from 1:57:
Interestingly, this theme is not limited just to romantic love, as these themes typically are, but it also expresses the familial love Bruce feels for his parents.
Coming soon—Musical Themes, Part 3: The Dark Knight.