Even completely deaf people can probably hum Danny Elfman’s now iconic “Batman” theme. The same goes for John Williams’ heroic theme for “Superman”. They are sullen, fast-paced soundscapes that instantly summon a mood. Elfman’s eerie gothic tones pair perfectly with Tim Burton’s dark visuals, and Williams’ triumphant melody makes us believe a man can fly. But at one point, as superhero and comic book movies became more and more prevalent, to the point of oversaturation, their sheet music lost some quality.
I think Maybe I could hum the Alan Silvestri theme “Avengers”, but I’m not positive. Beyond that, I can’t even begin to remember the music from the plethora of other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. They all blend together, sounding pretty much the same as they recycle patterns and rhythms that don’t add much to the scene other than background noise. The music for Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy fared a bit better – especially the thrilling score of Hans Zimmer’s “The Dark Knight Rises”. And even though I didn’t like “Man of Steel”, I liked Zimmer’s music for this movie. But these examples seem to be the exception, not the rule.
But why? These are great movies filled with shows – shouldn’t they have memorable music to match? Shouldn’t they be giving us a musical theme that burns into our brains, so much so that if we hear it years later, we immediately recognize it? I think so, but Hollywood apparently disagrees with me. But maybe, just maybe, we’re about to change. Or maybe it’s wishful thinking.