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Marvel's The Avengers by Alan Silvestri

Marvel's The Avengers

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Marvel's The Avengers (Soundtrack) by Alan Silvestri
Marvel's The Avengers (Soundtrack) by Alan Silvestri
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Marvel's The Avengers (Soundtrack) by Alan Silvestri

Marvel's The Avengers
Composed by Alan Silvestri
Hollywood Records (Digital Release) (2012)

Rating: 6/10

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Its bombast and thinness perfectly parallel the film, but one can't help imagining what tremendous music would have resulted from a less faithful adherence to the generic aesthetic of today's blockbusters.

The Averagers
Review by The Tracksounds Gang

It was a hulk-sized gamble that Marvel took. Producing five feature films which would eventually tie together into one massive, climatic show starring each of the heros of the five preceding films. It was unprecedented and certainly had some wondering if they, or anyone, could pull it off. Additionally, they put writer/director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Doll House) on the finale?  Fans of Whedon certainly salivated at the idea of having their champion put in charge, but for those unfamiliar with his previous works, the final success of this great film experiment was dubious at best.

By now, most of us have seen the final results...and seen them more than once to boot. It seems that the seemingly unthinkable was pulled off as most found Joss Whedon’s blend of superhero-action, comedy, and comic-geek-considerations pleasing enough to give up some $888 million dollars worldwide. The film has been an undeniable success, but how much did the original score play in that success?

Prior the release, the question on every soundtrack-genius’ mind was just what lucky composer would be doing the original score. The speculation ran rampant for months and at last it was announced that ALAN SILVESTRI would be moving right from his work on CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, to THE AVENGERS. So did Silvestri deliver the superhero-like effort needed to help elevate THE AVENGERS into the realms of unreached musical heights? The Tracksounds team gang-tackles this question.

 

Helen says...

If there ever was a movie for a mind-blowing, adrenaline-rushing, heart-pounding, and ovation-standing music, it would be THE AVENGERS. Featuring not one, but four iconic superheroes, the highest grossing superhero film to date needs the kind of hummable, rousing score we have come to expect from masters like ALAN SILVESTRI. Having written an impressive Captain America March for one of the Avenger characters just last year, Silvestri comes into this film stirring hopes of sheer greatness.

My rating in part suffers from extraordinarily high expectations. Silvestri’s THE AVENGERS is competent, at times propulsive or dramatic as needed. But sorely absent is any truly memorable thematic material. The main theme featured in the closing credits, THE AVENGERS (18), feels adequate, but uninspired--underwhelming. A lot of it (such as Don’t Take My Stuff in track 7) is like listening to Van Helsing, without the main themes in Transylvania 1887 or Burn it Down. It’s all right, but where’s my woohoo, Alan? (/End whinging tantrum.)

Having said that, there are a number of keeper tracks. Helicarrier (5) probably exceeds the main Avengers theme in majesty and heroic awe and stands as my favorite on the album. The Assault (9) has a pretty kick-ass finale, and Assemble (13) keeps me on the edge of my seat. Beginning with a tender dramatic acoustic guitar phrase, A Promise (17) also delivers some of the best action in the film. All in all, it certainly isn’t a bad score, or even an average one. Sometimes, alas, when it comes to hyped films like this one, good simply isn’t good enough anymore for a demanding and spoiled audience. We want our woohoos.

Helen's Rating: 6/10

 

Marius says...

It used to be that an upcoming ALAN SILVESTRI score would engender feelings of excitement as I longed for his next score. But something happened after, oh, somewhere in the vicinity of Polar Express that made that anticipation fade, shrink, and eventually disappear entirely.

Sure, one can forgive The Wild with Beowulf, and G.I. Joe with A Christmas Carol, but I'm unable to shake the impression that the spark responsible for The Mummy Returns, Cast Away, Mouse Hunt, and so on has taken its leave of the veteran composer. That being said, Captain America brought glimpses of potential, but it was only really THE AVENGERS that I envisioned as an opportunity for him to truly let loose and remind us of the glory days.

The release is generous, and begins with a brooding track for the film's opening. What seems to be preparation for a rousing thematic march never rises above bland string rhythms though, but luckily later tracks including the call-to-arms "Assemble" lay out the film's main theme fantastically. A secondary theme for the saucy Black Widow presents far more nuance, but it is largely underplayed save for one redemptive blast in "I Got a Ride".

The Promise stands out as a dynamic track with sweet thematic exploration and some almost Newman-esque guitar romance at the start and a ballsy expression of the main theme at the end. Sadly, it is among the only moments of relative calm. In between, one finds serviceable action tracks, some tension cues, but very little regard for previous thematic endeavours in the universe. It's a pity, because if anyone could have woven multiple thematic threads together successfully for an action score, ALAN SILVESTRI would be the man.

Sadly, for those who remember Silvestri's older, superior work, THE AVENGERS will only be enjoyable to the point that you allow yourself a guilty pleasure. Its bombast and thinness perfectly parallel the film, but one can't help imagining what tremendous music would have resulted from a less faithful adherence to the generic aesthetic of today's blockbusters.

Marius' Rating: 6/10

 

 

Richard says...

The prospect of THE AVENGERS in fully-fledged film form is an exciting one to say the very least, and it’s especially enticing for those of us intent on savoring each and every note of a film’s score. The assembling of so many iconic, legendary characters presented the chosen one, ALAN SILVESTRI in this case, with an unprecedented opportunity - the opportunity to unleash a wild barrage of thematic action that cinema has rarely experienced. Speculation as to how SILVESTRI would approach the score and the many themes of the characters was rife pre-release, and perhaps it should have come as no surprise when the score failed to meet such high expectations.

The decision to largely bypass the themes composed for each individual character in the films building up to this release is clearly the greatest disappointment, but not far behind is the aggravating inconsistency of the music that is here. THE AVENGERS feels like a score that has the best intentions at heart, but never quite follows through on its promises. The main theme is hardly groundbreaking, but is a great amount of fun while it lasts. The theme is hinted at multiple times throughout the soundtrack, before receiving fuller treatment in the final two tracks. The problem here is that, while this culmination results in great catharsis, the majority of the music almost feels spiteful in its tortuous meandering. Much of the score is generic tension-building and action music that is punctuated by fleeting teases of what the score really should have been. Rarely is there ever a true feeling of release across the hour-plus worth of music. When the release finally comes, it’s unlikely to result in any dramatic shifts in opinion.

THE AVENGERS is the definition of missed opportunity, and perhaps even sadder is the fact that had this been a release independent from such franchise history and expectation, it would still be nothing more than average.

Richard's Rating: 6/10

 

 

Christopher says...

Here’s the problem. I have high expectations when it comes to any ALAN SILVESTRI project and he only has himself to blame. With iconic efforts like BACK TO THE FUTURE, FORREST GUMP, PREDATOR and my personal favorite, CONTACT, I expect something musically substantial to take home with me after viewing one of his movies. Silvestri’s work for CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER was solid enough, but the memory of that score barely made it home with me. I had high hopes that, in addition to his theme for Cap, Silvestri would find a way to weave the established motifs for Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor into a wonderful tapestry of musical-superheroism THE AVENGERS, but this was not to be.

LOnce again, Silvestri provides a satisfactory score, as heard in the film, but the music hardly transcends the medium. Of course, some will argue that “transcendence” is not his job, but in the case of a film like THE AVENGERS, I have to argue to the contrary. I believe, when the occasion calls, it is the composer’s job to deliver a score that makes a good film great and a great film a classic. In this case, Silvestri keeps this great film level and simply from sliding into the “very good.” It’s more like the score keeps pace with Whedon’s dialogue and action, rather than helping to accelerate it or catapult it even higher than Whedon and the cast could manage.

It is classic Silvestri to be sure. Determined rhythms and moderately bold brass fanfares clearly mark the main characteristics of our forming-band of super-buddies in the vast majority of tracks, but somehow it does so with only a modicum of flare or personality. It’s all about Silvestri’s main theme for The Avengers as a group and not the components of that team. Aside from that, from the hero-side, the only recognizable motif we hear is that of Captain America. And we simply don’t get a strong enough musical-idea for the villainous Loki to last beyond the duration of his scenes.

In the end, there just isn’t much thematic progression or enough variety in intensity from the start of this score to its finish. Granted there are some exceptional moments which trend towards the end of the score (see tracks 13-16). And there are subtler moments sprinkled into tracks like “Stark Goes Green” (4), “Red Ledger” (8), “They Called It” (10) and “A Promise” (17), but somehow those moments get lost in the deluge of the somewhat non-descript, action cues. Frustratingly, besides Silvestri’s newly-born anthem for THE AVENGERS, there just isn’t much to latch onto. So Silvestri’s latest effort earns a 7/10 from me, which is certainly not bad, but my rating is more about what’s missing from the score than what’s there.
 

Christopher's Rating: 7/10
 

 

Summary

The Tracksounds Gang has spoken.  It's clear that THE AVENGERS original score, while having its moments, has been deemed a bit of an average, Silvestri effort and moreover, a missed opportunity to deliver that all-too-rare score which becomes as well-known within the popular culture as its film.  As you'll see below, the track-by-track ratings are fairly consistent with the score garnering 5 total 5-star ratings. Perhaps surprisingly it also received 3 1-star ratings and 7 2-star ratings.   Well, as this is considered only "phase one" of Marvel's risky-turned-windfall idea, fans can remain hopeful that a historically impacting score lay in wait for one of the future Avenger films...whether from Silvestri or someone else.
 


Rating: 6/10

 


Track

Track Title Track Time Helen Marius Richard Chris  Ave Rating
1 Arrival 2:59  **  ***  ****  ***  ***
2 Doors Open from Both Sides 2:48  *  **  ****  ***  ***
3 Tunnel Chase 2:36  ***  ****  ***  ***  ***
4 Stark Goes Green 2:41  ***  *****  ***  ***  ****
5 Helicarrier 2:09  *****  ****  ****  ****  ****
6 Subjugation 3:00  **  **  ***  ***  ***
7 Don't Take My Stuff 4:42  ***  ***  ***  ***  ***
8 Red Ledger 5:11  *  ****  ****  ***  ***
9 Assault 4:28  ***  ***  ***  ***  ***
10 They Called It 2:41  *  **  ****  ***  ***
11 Performance Issues 3:35  ***  ****  ***  ***  ***
12 Seeing, Not Believing 4:25  *  ***  ****  ****  ***
13 Assemble 4:31  ****  *****  ****  ****  ****
14 I Got a Ride 4:00  **  ****  ***  ****  ***
15 A Little Help 3:14  ***  **  ***  ***  ***
16 One Way Trip 5:50  ***  ***  ****  ****  ***
17 A Promise 3:34  ****  *****  ****  ****  ****
18 The Avengers 2:03  ***  ****  *****  ****  ****
    Final Rating 6/10 6/10 6/10 7/10  
  Total Running Time (approx) 64 minutes          

 

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