@William said: that is not true in the case of Dark Knight, and Dark Knight Rises which are powerful, maybe truly great films. And this is what disturbs me. The music is so trite and cliched that I am repelled from the film.
Here the problem is not Hans Zimmer - the problem is you. The Dark Knight made $1 billion and was highly acclaimed by audiences and critics alike. If you really break it down, there are only 2 purposes for a film like that: to make money and to satisfy the consumers of popular entertainment so that they'll spend money on associated products and future installments of the franchise. By these two measures alone, it was a total success. Obviously the music did not hold it back.
Now, I'm not saying that you should like the music, or that the music is particularly great. What I'm saying is this: why should anyone expect Zimmer's music (or the modern soundtrack in general) to sound any different? Time and time again, Hans Zimmer has come in and done his thing, and the movies have made billions of dollars. If you're in the business of film, and you share the two goals outlined above (making money, satisfying consumers) you look at that and you say "Get me Hans Zimmer..." or more likely "Get me someone who sounds like Hans Zimmer." That's where we are now, with regard to mainstream commercial cinema.
There are filmmakers who actually want to have good/interesting music in their films, and there are composers who can give it to them, but that music doesn't necessarily appeal to you. That's because FILM has changed, and so has MUSIC. The creative and market forces that would dictate using a Korngoldian score do not exist right now. That style was most prominent at a time when that type of music was a popular type of music. Since then, film composers have learned that recorded music, as a medium, is not just for capturing musicians in a room, but in fact allows you to put a magnifying glass over particular sounds. When music was only transmitted via musical notation, composers had little control over timbre other than by choosing the instrumentation and hoping for the best. But once composers wrapped their heads around the ability to set a single specific sound in stone, timbre began to take over from tune as the dominant paradigm. Synthetic instruments have increased the timbral palette exponentially. A film soundtrack today could be created by banging on empty paint cans with microphones inside them. Is it music? I'm not sure. Is it great Sunday afternoon listening? Definitely not. Could it be the best approach to scoring a particular film? Absolutely. The music you like is of a time, and that time is past. The default approach to scoring is no longer "get 50 musicians and write 20 great tunes." There are infinite ways of exploring the merger of sound and image. I do think that it's a shame composers don't try out a few more of those ways, but don't forget who's calling the shots most of the time: businessmen.
And I'll say this to anyone who loves great music: why the hell would you go looking for great music in film scores? Sure, there are a few good ones, but there are literally centuries worth of great pieces that have nothing to do with movies - why look for musical satisfaction in some hokey studio picture starring some hokey thespian?
PS, I work in the film industry in a creative (non-musical) capacity
PPS, the Dark Knight Rises is irredeemably bad and no score could change that.