Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb…
James Garcia, for We Got This Covered, writes with reference to Brian Tyler, the recently announced composer for Avengers: Age of Ultron:
“Tyler’s resume also includes The Expendables films, Now You See Me, and a handful of the Fast and Furious movies. He did an alright job with the music in his previous Marvel efforts, but as I said before, none of them were exactly memorable. The studio must like him though if they want to bring him back for Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Let’s just hope that he does as good a job with the superhero team-up as Silvestri did the first time around.“
Read the full article here.
I think Garcia is well aware of flawed ‘alright’ critique of Tyler’s previous efforts. Considering the success of Marvel’s Universe of films, this is a core element that is consistently below par. From Iron Man through to the latest Captain America: The Winter Soldier the soundtracks have always felt unclear, confused and inconsistent.
Taken on their own, they are indeed “alright” but it’s a huge dent in the credibility of the scores considering the success of the series. As a comparison, John Williams has led the way on some of the most iconic scores of all-time. Even the blockbusters in the decade pre-Marvel, Harry Potter and the Star Wars prequels, all enlisted Williams to create memorable themes that remain in the public consciousness to this day. Howard Shore and Lord of the Rings (and now The Hobbit) equally hold stature and longevity. Though not composing the bold, defiant themes that Williams and Horner is celebrated for, Hans Zimmer has created scores that have captured the mood so remarkably that the sales have consistently exceeded expectations – which film score enthusiast doesn’t own a copy of The Dark Knight, Gladiator and The Lion King? Clearly Peter Jackson and Christopher Nolan know how important music is to utilise these composers time and time again – while Marvel don’t see it in the same light.
Not only have the Marvel producers mixed-and-matched composers throughout the series but the opportunity to use the themes and music to carve out a consistent harmonic atmosphere is lost. Have a look at the composers of each film so far:
Iron Man – Ramin Djawadi
The Incredible Hulk – Craig Armstrong
Iron Man 2 – John Debney
Thor – Patrick Doyle
Captain America: The First Avenger – Alan Silvestri
The Avengers – Alan Silvestri
Iron Man 3 – Brian Tyler
Thor: The Dark World – Brian Tyler
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Henry Jackman
Guardians of the Galaxy – Tyler Bates
The Avengers: Age of Ultron – Brian Tyler
On the release of The Avengers, for the /Filmcast, Devindra Hardawar noted a lost opportunity. What if the themes from each film were used for the character-introduction, with a separate theme for the Avengers team too? Perhaps, a single composer is assigned each hero – Alan Silvestri, with his heroic Back to the Future patriotic-edge can continue to score the Captain America films? Or the Scottish-born Patrick Doyle, with his grand, historic musical knowledge that led to an unforgettable soundtrack to Brave, continues to score the grand and historic Thor films? These composers, over time, will develop and build on their previous efforts. John Barry composed (almost, but not every) score for the James Bond series from the 1963 From Russia with Love through to The Living Daylights in 1987. The soundtracks remain incredibly strong and stand up even today.
The list of composers for the series has some incredibly talented people and it truly is a shame that when I think of the ‘theme’ to Iron Man or Captain America, I struggle. Those that argue how the Marvel films are the modern day Star Wars forget how important the score, by John Williams is – even now, many are still within the top selling scores (opposed to pop soundtracks like Saturday Night Fever and Purple Rain) of all-time. I know that I downloaded each score after re-watching the six films after their Blu-ray release. Longevity requires more than a good film – it requires the full package. So far, the Marvel films don’t have the scores that will last.