“Marvel’s The Avengers” might very well be the most-important superhero movie of all time. Never before have so many high-profile heroes come together for one cinematic climax — a feat that could be either a smashing success or an epic failure. The jury’s still out on whether or not Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will live up to their nickname, but the combination of high-caliber actors like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans as well as geek-friendly director Joss Whedon has at least this fan feeling very optimistic.
Another reason to feel good about the Marvel Studios blockbuster: the recruitment of Oscar-winning composer Alan Silvestri to write “The Avengers” score. A major motion picture is worth nothing without a memorable theme, and based on Silvestri’s past work, we’d say the music man is more than up to the task.
In our inaugural edition of “Avengers” Disassembled, a new weekly column for all your continuing “Avengers” needs, we’re looking back at how Silvestri’s scores of yesteryear might inform his upcoming Marvel music.
“Back to the Future”
The mere mention of the words “Back to the Future” is all but guaranteed to insert that fantastically memorable theme into your brain for the remainder of the day. The time-travel adventure’s score makes for some of the most-iconic music in cinema history, an accomplishment that bodes well for “The Avengers.” There are many small but significant differences in that core theme from film to film, reflecting each sequel’s unique time period of choice; the elasticity of a single tune would be a fantastic quality for Silvestri to bring to a movie that has no fewer than six central characters.
Silvestri’s rollicking “Predator” theme perfectly captured the macho man’s-man feel of this classic testosterone-driven action movie. Not that the Avengers don’t have time to bleed, but the superhero roster is about as masculine as it gets, Black Widow notwithstanding (and make no mistake, guys, she can still kick your ass). No one composes lock-and-load, let’s-go-get-’em, men-on-a-mission music quite like Silvestri, whose “Predator” score is an excellent example of what might lie ahead with “The Avengers.”
There’s a reason why Robert Zemeckis and Silvestri have worked together for so long: These men bring out the best in each other, a notion exemplified by the “Forrest Gump” score. Not that the soft-hearted main theme is a natural fit with a massive action movie (though if Hawkeye dies, Silvestri’s sonic skills are bound to draw some tears), but Gump is perhaps the best example of Silvestri the composer getting in sync with the spirit of the film he’s working on. If he’s half as in tune with “Avengers,” he’s in fine shape.
“Cast Away” is an interesting case because so much of the film relies on silence, or at least the pure sounds of nature. But when Silvestri’s score kicks in, it packs a hell of an emotional sucker punch. The lesson here is restraint: Sometimes a little goes a long, long way, as Silvestri surely knows as he approaches his latest assignment.
“Captain America: The First Avenger”
Of course, the biggest indicator of what Silvestri has planned for “The Avengers” is the music from his first Marvel effort, “Captain America.” He perfectly captured the powerful patriotism Cap’s best known for, bringing a score that might not be instantly recognizable, but one that’s fully in service of the character. One has to wonder if any of his “First Avenger” score will bleed into “The Avengers,” or if Silvestri is planning to scrap all that’s come before and start from scratch. We’re cool with that — just as long as he finds a way to play with the Hulk-centric “Lonely Man” theme. It’s gotta be in there somewhere!
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