Widescreen: Will 'Eternals' at last give Marvel the grand, memorable music it deserves?

  • Salma Hayek stars as Ajak in "Eternals," coming to theaters Nov. 5.

    Salma Hayek stars as Ajak in "Eternals," coming to theaters Nov. 5. Courtesy of Marvel

 
 
Posted10/28/2021 6:00 AM

If there is one consistently disappointing aspect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's the music. But two early tracks from next week's "Eternals" suggest the world's biggest movie franchise is about to get a grand fanfare.

It comes courtesy of Ramin Djawadi, whose importance to the success of "Game of Thrones" cannot be overstated. His main title theme will still be in our heads long after the popular rage over the final season subsides.

 

Djawadi was actually the MCU's first composer, augmenting the AC/DC songs on 2008's "Iron Man" soundtrack with power chords of his own. Thirteen years later, his main theme for Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao's supersized epic -- one that introduces at least 10 new heroes to the fold -- begins with an electronic beat and a pipe organ, the same instrument that accompanied Cersei Lannister's memorable revenge on the religious fanatics who took over the sixth season of "Thrones."

Film composer Ramin Djawadi, here arriving at the Oct. 18 premiere of "Eternals" in Los Angeles, will leave his mark on the music in the new Marvel movie.
Film composer Ramin Djawadi, here arriving at the Oct. 18 premiere of "Eternals" in Los Angeles, will leave his mark on the music in the new Marvel movie. - Associated Press

It's a unique sound for a superhero movie, soon complemented by low strings and horns before exploding in the sort of bombast we've come to expect from Marvel, but not with orchestration and instrumentation this clever.

With the "Nomadland" director at the helm, "Eternals" figures to stand apart stylistically from the rest of the franchise, Djawadi's promising music included.

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Take a listen to "Eternals Theme" and "Across the Oceans of Time" on YouTube, Spotify or iTunes.

No, I didn't forget 'The Avengers'

Certainly, Alan Silvestri's rousing, hummable theme first heard in 2012's "The Avengers," and used to unforgettable effect in "Avengers: Endgame," has been the gold standard for MCU scores. But how many other themes can you remember from the 25 movies that came before "Eternals"?

It took three attempts before Tony Stark got a decent one from Brian Tyler in "Iron Man 3." The "Guardians of the Galaxy" flicks have memorable needle-drops ("Come and get your love!"), but not orchestral melodies. I couldn't hum a bar from "Thor," "Ant-Man" or "Captain Marvel" with a repulsor to my head.

A behemoth like the MCU deserves a musical identity on par with Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter and 007. Djawadi seems like the right person for the job.

• Sean Stangland is an assistant news editor who hopes Djawadi's other big HBO show, "Westworld," is much better when it returns for Season 4.

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