Video Essay: The Marvel Symphonic Universe

Creative Commons image Marvel DPS by Marvel at Flickr

The Marvel Cinematic universe is one of the highest grossing film industries in history, but there seems to be something missing that makes us unable to ever hum a tune from a Marvel movie, unlike Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc. What exactly is missing from Marvel’s music?

It doesn’t evoke an emotional response.

  • If you were to take it out, no one would notice
  • Doesn’t connect with the audience
  • Sacrifices emotional richness for “safety” in music
    • You can’t go wrong with any of their music, but without any risk there’s nothing interesting

The music is used too predictably.

  • Ex.: If it’s a sad scene, you’ll commonly hear a high note on the strings; if there’s a suspenseful scene, you’ll hear a short burst of 2-3 loud notes
  • Doesn’t challenge your expectations

Sometimes there is good music, but it’s covered up with other sound (like dialogue).

  • There are times when Marvel has good music but it’s covered up
    • If you were to take the dialogue out, the scene would ultimately be way more emotional and powerful
    • Less dialogue gives the audience more to think about, instead of being spoon-fed every bit of information

The use of too much temp music.

  • Temp Music: Music from other movies put temporarily into new movies as an example
    • Meant to be replaced by an original score
    • Sometimes directors will tell composers to “imitate” the temp music
  • This could make Marvel movies sound too much like other movies
    • Makes story seem more unoriginal

Overall, if Marvel were to redo some of their movies the best thing for them to do would be to take more risks with their music, as it would create more emotional responses and add depth to the film.

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