- The Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics
- List of Contributors
- About the Companion Website
- Classical Music for the Posthuman Condition
- Beyond Music: Mashup, Multimedia Mentality, and Intellectual Property
- The Audio-Logo-Visual and the Sound of Languages in Recent Film
- The End of Diegesis As We Know It?
- Sounding Out Film
- Audio-Visual Space in an Era of Technological Convergence
- Title Sequences for Contemporary Television Serials
- No Country for Old Music
- Cue the Big Theme? The Sound of the Superhero
- Video Speech in Latin America
- Pixar and the Animated Soundtrack
- Notes on Sound Design in Contemporary Animated Films
- ZigZag: Reanimating Len Lye as Improvised Theatrical Performance and Immersive Visual Music
- The Mutating Musical and the Sound of Music
- Chinese Rock ‘n’ Roll Film and Cui Jian on Screen
- The Neosurrealist Musical and Tsai Ming-Liang’s the Wayward Cloud
- Parties in Your Head: From the Acoustic to the Psycho-Acoustic
- Sensory Aspects of Contemporary Cinema
- The Sound of Intensified Continuity
- Extending Film Aesthetics: Audio Beyond Visuals
- The Audiovisual Construction of Transgender Identity in <i>Transamerica</i>
- Soundscapes of Istanbul in Turkish Film Soundtracks
- Audiovisual Objects, Multisensory People, and the Intensified Ordinary in Hong Kong Action Films
- Music Video’s Second Aesthetic?
- Aesthetics and Hyperembodiment in Pop Videos: Rihanna’s “Umbrella”
- The Emancipation of Music Video: Youtube and the Cultural Politics of Supply and Demand
- Music Video Transformed
- “Betwixt and Between” Worlds: Spatial and Temporal Liminality in Video Art-Music
- Sound Events: Innovation in Projection and Installation
- Contextualizing Game Audio Aesthetics
- Implications of Interactivity: What Does it Mean for Sound to be “Interactive”?
- Multichannel Gaming and the Aesthetics of Interactive Surround
- Sound and Vision: The Audio/Visual Economy of Musical Performance
- Foreground Flatland
- Remaking the Urban: The Audiovisual Aesthetics of Ipod Use
- On Soundscape Methods and Audiovisual Sensibility
- Leaving Something to the Imagination: “Seeing” New Places through a Musical Lens
Abstract and Keywords
This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics edited by John Richardson, Claudia Gorbman, and Carol Vernallis. The most successful superheroes of modern cinema are Superman and Batman. This chapter considers the changes wrought by digital technology in their cinematic construction and the impact on their music. The relationship between action, heroic theme, and the iconography of the superhero demonstrates a significant shift in how thematic music is employed in the more recent Batman and Superman films. This chapter contrasts musical and visual construction of the title characters in Superman (Richard Donner, 1978) and Batman (Tim Burton, 1989) with the treatment of the same characters in Batman Begins (Christopher Nolan, 2005) and Superman Returns (Bryan Singer, 2006). The problem of superheroic action and the musical solutions that analog films employed to address the limitations on representing the superheroes’ abilities is then contrasted with the subsequent decoupling of heroic action and musical theme in the later films, in which digital technology allows more convincing presentation of superheroic powers.
Janet K. Halfyard is Director of Undergraduate Studies at Birmingham Conservatoire (U.K.). Her publications focus on music in film and television, particularly in horror and fantasy genres, including Danny Elfman’s Batman: A Film Score Guide, and several essays on music and performance in the work of Joss Whedon. She co-edited Music, Sound and Silence in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Ashagte 2010) and also edited The Music of Fantasy Cinema for Equinox (2012).
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