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Wonder Woman
  • Composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams
  • WaterTower / 2017 / 79m

Given that the same comic book characters keep getting the same films made about them over and over again, it’s quite a surprise that when Wonder Woman appeared in Batman v Superman in 2016 it was the first time she’d ever appeared on the big screen.  Now she has her own film, with Patty Jenkins’s movie easily the best-received of the four “DC Universe” pictures to date.  Gal Gadot reprises the role she started last year and I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of her in the coming years, with Wonder Woman’s baby presumably appearing in the next film (as you can see from the album cover, she is heavily pregnant during this film).

To say the DC Universe has been rather musically undistinguished so far would be quite the understatement, with a series of completely joyless scores that only occasionally venture away from the monochrome.  Rupert Gregson-Williams’s Wonder Woman is a bit different, which is good: there is at least a bit of colour in it sometimes.  But, sad to say, it certainly has problems of its own, primarily that it’s astoundingly bland and for the most part really quite dull.

Rupert Gregson-Williams

Hans Zimmer introduced a theme for the character in Batman v Superman – an action motif that’s got character and is memorable, it was easily the highlight of that score.  Pleasingly, Gregson-Williams uses it here too but it’s clearly not suitable as a general main theme for Wonder Woman, so he provides a new one of those.  Well, I say it’s new, but really it’s so generic you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve heard it many times before.  As soon as it’s introduced in the opening cue, “Amazons of Themyscira” (with Wonder Woman herself being the Amazon Prime), it comes across as a less memorable version of a Brian Tyler Marvel themes – then shortly after, when it’s forming the basis of the attempted “epic” action piece “Angel on the Wing”, it’s like being back in the early 2000s Remote Control world, specifically King Arthur or The Last Samurai.

If you (like me) find those two scores to be entertaining, I wouldn’t get your hopes up too high, because while at times it may have striking similarities, Wonder Woman doesn’t come close to matching them for entertainment value.  After “Angel on the Wing”, barely anything happens for a long time on the album.  Bland noodling takes us to the lengthy “No Man’s Land”, which is a clever title for a cue that in some ways epitomises the score, with its heroic anthem covering the first three minutes and never quite seeming to find any great identity, and then suddenly there it is, the Zimmer theme, which gives the whole thing a much-needed boost of energy.  Like a lot of people, when I first heard it I assumed I was listening to an electric guitar, but it’s actually an electric cello (played by the popular Tina Guo) – I’ve genuinely no idea how she manages to get that sound from it, so hat’s off to her for it.  Creative and distinctive, if there’s one bit of music from the score you will remember, it’s that.  Eventually it gives way to more typical modern action music, which passes the time even if it doesn’t leave much impression – and finally, there’s “Time” from Inception – again.

The score generally becomes darker after that, with the focus turning more consistently towards action.  The best cue is “Wonder Woman’s Wrath”, with its focus shifting between the Zimmer theme and the most conventionally heroic statement of the main theme.  “Hell Hath No Fury” is an impressive, rather apocalyptic piece of action, marred only by the cheap sound.  The soft finale to the score, “Trafalgar Celebration”, is really lovely – an old-fashioned romantic take on the theme, it sounds like proper film music and is very welcome.  Finally comes the end title piece “Action Reaction”, which rather unexpectedly starts as if it’s about to burst into the theme from The Terminator before turning, surprisingly, into my least favourite cue on the album, a pretty horrible piece which evokes unpleasant memories of Batman v Superman.

I would much rather listen to this score than its predecessors in the series – it at least has some levity to it and avoids being a relentless onslaught against the senses – but frankly it’s still a disappointment.  I don’t understand why so many of the scores for these films – and there are a lot of these films these days – don’t even attempt to leave a distinctive mark.  Whoever is applying the pressure for them to be generally characterless musical wallpaper just doesn’t understand what music can really do for a film.  Anyway, I know I’m fighting a losing battle there.  Wonder Woman isn’t that bad, it’s just boring.  A very decent 15/20-minute playlist could be made from it.

Generally bland and dull, but does have its moments

See also:
Man of Steel Hans Zimmer
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Hans Zimmer and Tom Holkenborg
Suicide Squad Steven Price | |

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  1. James Gordon (Reply) on Sunday 11 June, 2017 at 01:07

    The actress is heavily pregnant not the character hahaha (bad english here ^^)

  2. Saint (Reply) on Sunday 11 June, 2017 at 02:11

    I knew this soundtrack wouldn’t be very well received. I love bits and pieces of it, “No Man’s Land” is undoubtedly my favorite piece of the soundtrack. The first three minutes is seriously uplifting music. But it’s very easy to tell that Rupert Gregson-Williams cannibalized the usual Media Ventures R/C sound. A guilty pleasure but one that I very much like.

  3. ghostof82 (Reply) on Sunday 11 June, 2017 at 17:00

    Why are superhero soundtracks so uninspiring? John William’s wrote the book on how to do it with his brilliant score for Superman: The Movie. Nothing has come near it since.

    • Kilar (Reply) on Tuesday 13 June, 2017 at 21:32

      I believe Elfman’s Batman and Horner’s Spider-Man came pretty close.

  4. Ad de Nijs (Reply) on Sunday 11 June, 2017 at 17:15

    The 15-20 minutes of playable tracks is exactly the amount we are updating to the database
    of Screensoundradio.

  5. tiago (Reply) on Tuesday 13 June, 2017 at 04:21

    I have to say, I really liked the first track, and the Trafalgar Celebration cue. The Amazons of Themyscira track is of course rooted on the Zimmer/MV style of the late 90s/mid 2000s, which I still think it was his best phase. As for the rest of the disc… I don’t know, those epic power anthems, I only like them when they come from Zimmer himself. When it’s other people (Junkie XL on Mad Max, Jablonsky on Transformers, RGW on Hacksaw Ridge and Wonder Woman), less so.

    And I have a small suspicion that the No Man’s Land cue, or at least its first third, was temp-tracked with Horner’s Saving New York, from The Amazing Spider-Man. Well, not a bad piece to draw inspiration from, I suppose.

  6. James Gordon (Reply) on Tuesday 13 June, 2017 at 11:59

    No Man’s Land is a mix of The Last Samurai, The Bourne, Gladiator and Pirates of The Caribbean.

  7. Ben (Reply) on Friday 16 June, 2017 at 07:45

    Watched the movie yesterday. Conclusion: this music is not even close to the film, harms mood and build tension massively. An incredibly bad job. Why does DC not finally commit a competent composer? No themes, nothing. I was horrified. So incredibly boring, generic, superfluous.

    Man of Steel, Batman vs. Superman, Wonder Woman, Justice League (Junkie XL?) From a musical perspective, it is indiscutable.

    Does anyone remember the good old days? Williams, Goldsmith, Elfman, Goldenthal, Walker…

    Alexandre Deplat, Gabriel Yared,… There could have been so many possibilities. Maybe you should take a look at Marvel’s Creativ department…

    • tiago (Reply) on Sunday 18 June, 2017 at 03:37

      Thankfully, Junkie XL was replaced on Justice League, now Danny Elfman is scoring it. So, yeah, there’s still hope for the DCEU, musically speaking 🙂

      And it’s not like if Marvel is doing so much better this days. Aside from Brian Tyler, Silvestri and Giacchino on last year’s Doctor Strange, most of Marvel’s scores was quite forgettable and generic. But, yeah, I would love to see Desplat handling one of those super-hero movies.