The Flash – Benjamin Wallfisch

Concerning spoilers: I avoided mentioning story plots in this review, but I have to address some concepts which you may not want to know.

The Flash, a hero with super speed, is one of the iconic figures from the DC Universe. Actor Ezra Miller has recently portrayed him and has appeared in several superhero movies, like Justice League and Batman v Superman. It took quite a while for his own film, The Flash, to be made because of all kinds of developments, including Miller’s struggles with the justice system. The film finally came out in June 2023, and it was up to Benjamin Wallfisch to write the music for it. After seeing the trailers from the movie, I was quite ecstatic for reasons I will discuss in this review. 

The soundtrack has a strong start with the track “Are You Actively Eating That Candy Bar?” This track alone already contains some interesting ideas. It starts with the main theme, primarily representing The Flash, giving off some vibe of something amazing that is about to happen. The theme also has a great part in it with electronics and all kinds of bursts from the orchestra’s brass section, reminding me of the music from The Matrix. The second track, “Sounds About Right, Bruce,” is also very interesting, but this only became apparent after watching the whole film. You can hear it during an action sequence in which Batman, with Ben Affleck reprising the role, is making his heroic moves. This sequence is musically supported by fast patterns and lots of percussion, giving the track a modern feel of a typical score for recent action movies.

There are some emotional scenes in the movie as well, with most of those involving the loss of a person or representing loneliness in general. This feeling gets its own lost theme and can be heard in “Nora” for the first time, reflecting the loss of The Flash’s mother.

A highlight of the score is the track “Run,” which is relatively short. It is a gorgeous build-up track starting with a piano pattern, which expands with all kinds of rapid orchestral elements, later transitioning into a grand finale supported by the choir. This track is played during a scene in which The Flash finds out that he can change reality with his speed. When he finally makes that happen after thinking it through, something subtly occurs in the music. Before the transition, the music was pretty much what can be expected from a movie that shares the same universe with Man of Steel, Batman v Superman and Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which all had Hans Zimmer-style music with fast, repeating patterns and lots of percussion, but this is going to change after this point. 

When The Flash enters the new world, we first get some emotional cues, “Please Work” and “Today’s the Day,” and ominous electronic sounds representing the villain Zod. After these tracks, we enter the new musical realm with the first hint in “What Is This Place?” but in “I am Batman,” you can hear Danny Elfman’s brilliant Batman theme after an impressive orchestral build-up before it transitions beautifully into The Flash theme. To hear Elfman’s magnificent theme was what I was excited about when I saw the trailers because Michael Keaton’s version of Batman lives in this alternate world. Not only could Wallfisch use the theme, but he could also expand on it with “Batdoneon” as a great example, in which you can hear Wallfisch integrating the Batman theme in a fighting scene.

The movie introduces another hero who requires a theme. Her music is presented in the end part of “Now We Try Not to Die,” after heavy electronics and fast rhythms, and her theme ends on a chord similar to John Williams’s Superman theme, which is extremely fitting for Supergirl. Her theme is more established in a gorgeous, emotional track bearing the same name: “Supergirl.” From now on, all the themes are blended together into a wonderful score, working towards the finale of the movie.

There are quite some superheroes from other movies in The Flash. As mentioned, many of them have been given their own themes, or an existing one has been reused, including the iconic Wonder Woman theme as well that is unfortunately not on the album. “Worlds Collide” is a brilliant grand-sounding orchestral cue focusing on a fantastic melody, and the album contains two versions: “Worlds Collide” and “Worlds Collide – Superman Version,” which is two seconds longer. The reason for that is that the latter includes a handful of notes from John Williams’s Superman theme, which fit well in the movie, and for me, it was interesting to see these two slightly different versions here on the album.

There are two major components that I love about the score for The Flash. The first is that music is different in each world. While The Flash was in his universe, you could hear the more standard fast-paced patterns with percussion. In the alternate world, those sounds are replaced with more melodic lines, with a stronger focus on the brass, telling the audience that we are now in Michael Keaton’s Batman world. It also showcases how well the new The Flash theme fits in both universes.

The other component is the fact that Danny Elfman’s score for Batman (1989) is very special to me. It was one of the first movies I had seen in the movie theater, and I started to notice the music playing in the background. In a way, it is partly responsible for my love of film music. I was rather curious about how Benjamin Wallfisch would approach this legacy, and he did it brilliantly. The score works marvelously in the movie. It does exactly what it is supposed to do, by enhancing the story on screen with music, and many tracks on this album are a pleasure to listen to on their own.

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The highlights are in bold.

  1. Are You Actively Eating That Candy Bar? (0:57)
  2. Sounds About Right, Bruce (4:16)
  3. Collapsing East Wing (2:49)
  4. Baby Shower (2:07)
  5. Nora (3:21)
  6. Run (1:44)
  7. Not This Time, Kid (1:11)
  8. Can of Tomatoes (1:53)
  9. See You Soon (1:13)
  10. Please Work (1:27)
  11. Today’s the Day (1:44)
  12. Phasing (1:30)
  13. Escape from the Lab (2:00)
  14. Zod (1:15)
  15. What Is This Place? (1:20)
  16. Spaghetti (1:23)
  17. Into the Batcave (2:14)
  18. I Loved You First (1:34)
  19. Fate (1:02)
  20. I Am Batman (2:06)
  21. Batdoneon (0:56)
  22. Kal‐El? (1:24)
  23. Escape from Siberia (2:17)
  24. Now We Try Not to Die (1:17)
  25. Supergirl (2:44)
  26. Want Some Help? (1:55)
  27. I Gave You a Warning (1:25)
  28. What Could Go Wrong? (1:24)
  29. Let’s Get Electrocuted (1:30)
  30. I’ve Got You (2:14)
  31. You Wanna Get Nuts? (1:56)
  32. Let’s Get Nuts (3:29)
  33. Cyclonic Diversion (2:29)
  34. I’m Not Going Alone (2:32)
  35. We Can Fix This (1:55)
  36. Inevitable Intersection (1:07)
  37. We Can Save Her (2:16)
  38. The Dark Flash (2:08)
  39. Worlds Collide – Superman Version (2:31)
  40. You’re My Hero (1:42)
  41. Into the Singularity (0:59)
  42. Call Me (3:21)
  43. Worlds Collide (2:29)

Total length: 1 hour and 23 minutes
WaterTower Music (2023)

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