The Hollywood Reporter has just posted an interesting piece on the evolution of a blockbuster movie score. The framing is the upcoming release of “Iron Man 2,” and composer John Debney talks candidly about what he’s added to the film series, particularly in trying to keep the spirit of what we heard from composer Ramin Djwadi and guitarist Tom Morello in the original film. We were fans of the first “Iron Man,” but the score was fairly unremarkable, though Marvel Studios is waiting for their one big superhero theme which hasn’t surfaced in any of their films thus far (count us fans of the very different individual compositions from each “X-Men” film, however).
In another attempt at cross-pollination, Marvel is even using Debney’s score in “Iron Man 2” to lay the groundwork for “The First Avenger: Captain America.” Dick Sherman, a Disney songwriter who created the music for several theme park attractions, as well as “Mary Poppins,” was brought aboard to create a specific theme for Tony Stark’s father during a sequence at the Stark Expo, the Marvel version of the World’s Fair. This theme would likely be revisited in “Captain America,” as Howard Stark (John Slattery) is rumored to be a key component to the origin of the star-spangled Avenger played by Chris Evans.
“We’re laying a lot of seeds for other films to explore musically as well as in other ways,” says Dave Jordan, the music supervisor for Marvel Studios. We hope that’s the case, as we don’t want to see our favorite composers get shoehorned into adding bits and pieces to their scores they didn’t originally author. The Marvel Studios grand plan hasn’t taken complete shape yet, but we’d hate to see it dependent on the same consistent sound, especially considering Marvel’s new relationship with Disney. There are a lot of great composers who could author a pretty great superhero score, so “Iron Man” utilizing journeymen like Dwajdi and Debney does give us pause, since the scores are usually the most interesting things about most mass-market blockbusters anyway, and we are further suspicious with Debney hinting at Marvel’s penny-pinching in the article.
The piece focuses on the scoring for a few other films including “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and “The Expendables” (especially interesting is the idea that the latter is being tested with a contemporary rock score that’s being rejected by audiences) so we’d recommend you click over and give it a read.