2015 Preview: Avengers - Age of Ultron
While this year is already massively overstuffed with blockbusters, there's probably only two that I'd put down as sure-fire hits. One of these features Mark Hamill, and the other is Avengers: Age of Ultron. Amazingly just a few months away (it hits in April), AOE as the cool kids are calling it is the culmination of Marvel Studios' second phase* of superhero megaflicks and as such is all but guaranteed to be gigantic in stature, length, and noise.
Providing the music this time is Brian Tyler, Marvel's current composer du jour who has already scored Iron Man Three and Thor: The Dark World, as well as supplying the studio its first fanfare. Tyler's work for Marvel has been wonderful so far, with an appropriately muscular and violent score for Iron Man contrasted with a more sonically-pleasing but no less brutal sound for Thor, both of which will be getting a fair amount of play in AOE, at least according to the composer.
Less clear will be music from Captain America. While Tyler has alluded to using music from Cap's movies, there's been no confirmation as to whether it will be sourced from Alan Silvestri's The First Avenger or Henry Jackman's The Winter Soldier. However, Tyler has stated that his inspiration for the score is the work of John Williams, specifically Superman and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and it's hard to see Jackman's more downbeat music working in that vein. Another question is whether Silvestri's Avengers theme will make an appearance or whether Tyler will create his own theme (the latter, I'd imagine). This is Tyler's biggest canvas yet and he'll want to make an impression with his own music.
I think this really is set for Tyler - he's a fantastic composer and has made a real impact with his music thus far. He gets a lot of flack from some quarters - especially some saying his themes sound the same - which always seems a bit unfair. He certainly keeps within his own style, but I always find it effortless to pick out one piece from another. His music also does its job in helping the picture, something I found helped a lot with Iron Man. The music from the previous two films (by Ramin Djawadi and John Debney) had zero impact for me, so it was great to hear an actual decent theme backing Ol' Shellhead this time. And what a theme - especially the great jazzy rendition over the end titles.
I think Tyler's probably the best man for the job. His style fits Marvel's down to a tee, and suits them enough that he doesn't have to make compromises, and as such seems to have a bit more freedom. My only concern is the sheer amount of characters that Age of Ultron has. I can imagine Tyler tying himself in knots in places trying to encompass them all, but I trust him and Whedon to be able to make it serve the film. At least we won't have to wait long to find out. I just hope the Pinocchio song isn't in the actual film...
*Okay, the actual final part of Phase 2 is Ant-Man. But that just seems like a damp squib comparatively.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is released on April 24th
To get you in the mood, listen to our Marvel music mix here