Film Score Friday: ‘The Avengers’ by Alan Silvestri

The films put out by Marvel Studios have been excellent in most ways possible. Really nailing the tones of a wide variety of Marvel superheroes. One thing these movies have been lacking, however, is a strong musical presence.

Going back to the original Iron Man, these films have not really had the same level of film score heights that we have come to expect from comic book movies in the last decade plus. The tide began to turn with the last released film, Captain America, which brought in the fantastic Alan Silvestri, but even that didn’t really live up to its potential.

Well Mr. Silvestri is back with the biggest and most epic Marvel film yet, so can he deliver on the promise his name and this property offers? In one word, yes. In seven words and three exclamation points, hell freaking yeah! he totally nailed it!!

The Avengers is the first great score to a Marvel Studios film, and they couldn’t have hoped for a better film to finally crack the film music code. The movie delivers in nearly every imaginable way, and to have that backed up by a suitably epic score just skyrocketed the whole package into the stratosphere.

The main theme for The Avengers manages to match the tone of the team extremely well. Having a militaristic tone to the start of it that almost explodes away into a sweeping and soaring theme that evokes all of the nobility of The Avengers.

Alan Silvestri has managed to do an incredible thing with the music in this movie. He was able to work in a strong. emotional and stirring score into a film that has very little set-up. The movie just begins with action and rarely lets up between more action and scenes of fantastic character interaction. He has very little room to set stuff up for musical pay-off in the end, and with the weak sauce previous scores he can’t really playoff them very much either.

Which actually brings me to my one problem with the score. Silvestri did the music for Captain America, and as I said previously it is the best non Avengers score of the bunch. Because of that connection you will hear tidbits of Caps theme weave in and out of the score. He is a driving force of the team so it makes sense on that level.

But there are other huge forces at play on the team, and Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk don’t seem to have the same weight in the score as they do on the screen. I almost wished Silvestri ditched his Cap theme all together and just crafted new cues for the whole bunch of them.

At the end of the day that is the most minor type of complaint one can have, it is based on wanting more, not based on the merits of what we got. So if that is the only qualm worth reporting you know there is some great stuff in this score.

Also of note, the movie inspired soundtrack features the first brand new Soundgarden song in quite a long time. The song is very good and it fits with the movie very well. It is not on the score so i wont go to deep into it, but I enjoyed it enough to want to bring it to your attention.

Three Favorite Tracks:

Helicarrier by Alan Silvestri – This track is one of the more fun on the whole album. It builds nicely into a very nice theme that I guess would be the Helicarrier theme, but if someone down the line wanted to use it as the basis for the SHIELD theme I would not be bothered. It has the same militaristic DNA as the start of the main Avengers theme, but it maintains that all the way through to some really great conclusions. I even hear some minor hints of some Superman-esque music, which is fitting considering this plays when the Helicarrier takes flight for the very first time.

A Promise by Alan Silvestri – No doubt about it, my favorite track on the album. It starts with a really wonderful guitar that slowly transitions into the full Avengers theme in the most majestic way imaginable by human ears. That’s some wicked hyperbole to be sure, but that is what my mind thinks when hearing this music. At the end when it comes crashing into the most strongly stated version of The Avengers theme on the album I get chills, every time. It wasn’t until I heard this that I knew we had something truly special.

The Avengers by Alan Silvestri – This is the main theme for The Avengers. I guess you could take that to mean it is the main theme for the movie or the team itself, either way it works. What I love so much about this track is how perfectly confined it is. From start to finish it gives you everything you want from an Avengers track in just over two minutes. Now normally I complain about short tracks, but perfectly concentrated tracks that thrill for every second of it’s run time can be the exception to that rule. I am very pleased with this theme and the soundtrack as a whole, it’s epic incarnate.

Least Favorite Track:

They Called It by Alan Silvestri – Now I considered calling this another perfect album with no tracks I considered least favorite, but I actually have a legit least favorite. This track seems meaningless. Not a whole lot happens here and it just sort of sits here for nearly three minutes. If the Avengers theme is a short and sweet track that is concentrated awesomeness, this must be where that awesomeness was squeezed out. It is not bad music, and even though I can’t picture where in the movie this music plays it was probably fine in context. It’s just hard to listen to this knowing other, probably more epic stuff, was left off the disc. Some times you try to hard for variety that you miss some good stuff.

At the end of the day, The Avengers is my first favorite score of the year. This is excellent blockbuster music, and will find its way into my normal rotations immediately. Count this as another of the long list of things Joss Whedon nailed in regards to this movie. Minor qualms aside I would recommend this to any and everyone.

Final Score for The Avengers:

5 out of 5

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