Spotlight On: Marvel Cinematic Universe

The newest Spotlight On takes a look back at the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The connected films have finished Phase One with The Avengers, and many more films will be included into Phase Two (to be added later).  Full reviews appear on this site for starred films.

With a wide variety of directors and composers, the music for the following superhero films have a wide range.  

Iron Man (2008)
Music by Ramin Djawadi
Starting off the Marvel films with a bang, Djawadi brought a loud hard metal sound.  No really, clanging percussion and electric guitars run amok throughout the score.  (Just listen to: Driving With the Top Down, Vacation's Over, Arc Reaktor)  

The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Music by Craig Armstrong
Armstrong gives both Bruce Banner and Hulk themes, with plenty of underlaying thematic work.  We get bittersweet moments and plentiful action material.  And the original soundtrack is complete, pretty rare for scores.  (Just listen to: The Arctic, Hulk Theme, Bruce Goes Home, Harlem Brawl)

Iron Man 2 (2010)
Music by John Debney
Combining the rock sound from the original, with a more symphonic texture and an AC/DC influence took over the score.  Even guitarist Tom Morello added his riffs and loops into the score.  Debney provides clear motifs for Iron Man, Russian theme for villain Ivan Vanko, among others.  (Just listen to: Ivan's Metamorphosis, Monaco Drive, New Element/Particle Accelerator, I Am Iron Man)

Thor (2011)*
Music by Patrick Doyle
Doyle was an obvious choice given director Kenneth Branagh.  Doyle's string writing combines with the modern action scoring style.  A heroic theme appears for our heroes in Asgard and for Thor himself.  A big departure from the past Marvel scores, which fit the film well.  (Just listen to: Chasing the Storm, Sons of Odin, The Compound, Earth to Asgard)

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)*
Music by Alan Silvestri
Silvestri stepped in to score the action, which takes place during WWII.  We get tons of action material, and a heroic theme for the Captain himself.  A rousing score.  (Just listen to: Training the Supersoldier, Hydra Train, Captain America March) 

The Avengers (2012)*
Music by Alan Silvestri
Silvestri returned for the ensemble superhero film, with no real connections to past scores - besides his own previous installment.  Instead we get a rousing anthem, with a retro 80s action sensibility.  Also included is a new Eastern-sounding theme for Black Widow.  (Just listen to: Tunnel Chase, Helicarier, Assemble, I Got a Ride, The Avengers)

Iron Man 3 (2013)
Music by Brian Tyler
Action master Brian Tyler took the reigns of Iron Man with an action packed score.  A nice mix of strong driving percussion, traditional orchestral techniques and electronics.  Most prominently is a melodic theme for Iron Man, a real first in Iron Man films.  The hummable theme adds a lot to the score, making it the most enjoyable Iron Man score to hear.  (Just listen to: Iron Man 3, Stark, Heart and Iron, Can You Dig It)

Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Music by Brian Tyler
Providing strong themes for the main characters, and solid action material makes this score another great superhero score.  Bonus points for the Silvestri theme cameo.  (Just listen to: Thor: The Dark World, Lokasenna, Sword and Council, Legacy)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Music by Henry Jackman
Jackman provides an electronic thriller soundscape for this otherwise lackluster score.  Besides the direct quoting of Silvestri's theme, the Captain gets a new patriotic-sounding theme.  The Winter Soldier gets a brash electronic theme.  (Just listen to: The Smithsonian, Taking a Stand, Captain America)

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Music by Tyler Bates
Utilizing a larger orchestra and some themes fitting the Marvel style, Bates treads familiar blockbuster territory, but adds in his own synth twist in the score in addition to strong themes.
(Just listen to: To The Stars, The Kyln Escape, Guardians United, A Nova Upgrade)

The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Music by Brian Tyler & Danny Elfman
To be continued...

Ant-Man (2015)
Music by Christophe Beck
To be continued...

Check out the others!
Spotlight On Series: Harry Potter, Batman, James Bond, Star Trek

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