25. The Dark Knight (2008)

Composers: Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard
Standout track: “Why So Serious?”

By trading in bombast for intensity, and heroism for pure atmosphere, James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer redefined the way we listen to superhero movies with their work on The Dark Knight. This score begins with an ominous metallic screech that builds into a deafening crescendo in The Joker's track, “Why So Serious?”. From there, the intensity of the music never lets up for a moment; you'll likely be physically exhausted after one listen.

Zimmer has always been a composer built for volume, and here he builds and builds the music to near-deafening levels that establish the anarchistic mood of director Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman’s world. The pounding percussion, blaring horns, and select use of guitar distortion keeps the listener off balance. You don't know what's around the next corner.