Spotlight On...Marvel Phase Three

This edition of Spotlight On takes a look back at Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  In this wave we get some more repeat composers, an Oscar win, strong thematic continuity and some of the biggest box office juggernauts.   

Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Music by Henry Jackman
Jackman creates a moody atmosphere while focusing on the darker aspects.  Past themes aren't readily noticeable, with new dissonant themes for Zemo and Winter Soldier leading.  Jackman does add some nice emotional underscore to our heroes battle.  Like Winter Soldier, this score doesn't stand strong without the visuals.   (Just listen to: Standoff, Larger than Life, Cap's Promise)  

Doctor Strange (2016)
Music by Michael Giacchino
Giacchino musically represents the folding dimensions and the more mystical elements.  His new theme fits the mystical and action sides nicely.  (Just listen to: Ancient Sorcerer's Secret, Smote and Mirrors, Astral Worlds Worst Killer, Strange Days Ahead, Master of the Mystic End Credits)  

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 (2017)
Music by Tyler Bates
Bates returns with more explosive action and rousing heroic material.  The brass and choir get a big workout and his main theme gets even more large statements.  There's some large dramatic moments but the emotional Dad material works great. (Just listen to: Two-Time Galaxy Savers, Mary Poppins and the Rat, Dad)  

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Music by Michael Giacchino
Much like the iteration of the web-slinger, Giacchino's music is lighter and more playful.  The new Spidey theme is catchy and sprightly while the Vulture's theme is foreboding and dark.  The two themes go through multiple iterations and clash in some great action cues.  (Just listen to: Academic Decommitment, Webbed Surveillance, Fly-By-Night Operation, No Frills ProtoCOOL)  

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Music by Mark Mothersbaugh
Just like the film breaks the mold of the past Thor films, the score does the same.  Mothersbaugh keeps things fresh with some 80s synths mixed with the orchestral elements.  It's a fun score, with some great action highlights and odd enough to work with the film's humor.  (Just listen to: Ragnarok Suite, Thor: Ragnarok, No One Escapes, Sakaar Chase)  

Black Panther (2018)
Music by Ludwig Göransson
One of the most distinct-sounding Marvel scores, Goransson introduced some fantastic themes for T'Challa and Killmonger.  African vocals and percussion are what help this score stand apart.  From emotional beats to brutal action, this Oscar winner is a force in the film.    (Just listen to: Wakanda, Busan Car Chase, Glory to Bast, United Nations/End Titles)  

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Music by Alan Silvestri
Again skipping the separate motifs for each individual character, Silvestri goes for some large action cues and general suspense.  His emotional sections are extremely effective, and a large chunk of score corresponds with Thanos.  (Just listen to: He Won't Come Out, More Power, Forge, I Feel You, Infinity War)  

Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Music by Christophe Beck
Building on what he did previously, Beck adds a Wasp theme and some fresh takes on the Ant-Man theme.  There's some darker material with choir for the villain, but the action cues utilizing the Wasp and Ant-Man themes make this a fun listen.  (Just listen to: It Ain’t Over Till the Wasp Lady Stings, A Little Nudge, Anthropodie)  

Captain Marvel (2019)
Music by Pinar Toprak
A solid theme leads the score with some heroic moments among the large action writing. Fitting the film's setting we get some 90's action movie guitars and synths.  It fits the film just fine, but suffers a bit of generic modern scoring-itis.   (Just listen to: Captain Marvel, Hot Pursuit, More Problems)  

Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Music by Alan Silvestri
Here Silvestri leads the emotional charge through the movie.  He continues his strong action writing, and his new solemn family theme is spectacular.  His prominent use of the Avengers theme adds to the wow factor in several sequences.  His culmination of material after all these years is worth the wait.  (Just listen to: Totally Fine, The Measure of a Hero, Portals, The Real Hero, Main on End)  

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Music by Michael Giacchino
To be continued...

Check out the others in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series!

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