Damien F

Michael Giacchino's Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

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9 hours ago, TheUlyssesian said:


Thank your lucky stars. The dialogue in that movie would make your ears bleed.

Do you bleed?



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I just completed my second (third if you count in the film) listen of this score and I think there's something pretty glaring all the reviews I've been reading are missing...especially given people's love of ranting about lack of thematic continuity in the MCU.


Giacchino's theme for Spidey has been described by most reviews as 'catchy', sometimes 'jazzy', sometimes 'sprightly' - most everyone agrees it fits the character pretty well. But no one seems to be giving credit to just how clever Giacchino was in writing it the way he did...and it all flows from the original Silvestri Avengers theme.


If you had to summarize the film in one sentence, it would probably be: 'Spider-Man spends his days trying to impress Tony Stark so he can become an Avenger'. Spidey's theme, therefore, should reflect this core element - and it does so brilliantly.


[warning, music nerd talk ahead]


Silvestri's Avenger's theme (the part that is quoted in other scores anyway) has two primary phrases - the first phrase, after a couple of repeated notes, consists of a perfect 5th interval jump followed by a quick step down, then a descending perfect 4th back to the root. This makes the theme feel very heroic (a perfect 5th leap is standard hero music - thanks Superman!) and the jump back down to the root makes the theme feel very solid and very strong.


Spidey's theme's first phrase also starts with a perfect 5th jump - and it ends with a descending perfect 4th. But instead of a quick step down in between, it does a skittish little turn up to the minor 6th scale degree and then jumps down a perfect 4th. But because of that little turn, the perfect 4th jump doesn't land Spidey on the firm, confident root...it lands the theme on the minor 3rd.


It's as if the theme started out just like an Avenger and tried really hard, but somewhere along the way things got messed up (hello minor key) and didn't turn out quite as heroic. Sound like any character you know? big grin


The second phrase of the Avenger's theme does the perfect 5th jump again, but this time heroically steps UP to the major 6th, then down a major third to land on the perfect 4th scale degree - an even more heroic feel than the first phrase.


Spidey's theme's second phrase is almost an exact quote of the Avengers theme second phrase. It does the perfect 5th leap up, does the skittish little turn, but this time turns around to the major 6th and them jumps down the major 3rd to the perfect 4th...just like the Avengers.


We know enough about Michael Giacchino and his writing style to know that none of this is an accident. The thematic construction of Spidey's theme is amazingly clever and an awesome way to salvage some thematic continuity in the MCU which, up 'til now, has been pretty abysmal in that department.


Think that's cool? How about the Vulture's theme:


Most reviews I've read have either said the Vulture's theme is 'appropriately menacing' or 'sounds like Giacchino's Star Trek bad guy theme blah blah something-or-other'. Those might be true, but I think there's something more important we're missing:


This time the Avenger's theme gets referenced not by note intervals, but by rhythm. The Vulture's short motif almost perfectly mimics the Avengers theme rhythm while twisting the intervals into a menacing minor theme. It's a great fit for a villain who is taking the heroic acts of the Avengers and twisting them into weapons of crime and destruction.


So there you go. If any of you get a chance to interview Giacchino in the near future, you can check my math here, but I don't think I'm too far off. tongue


I'm continually impressed by Giacchino's ability to construct and utilize thematic writing in cool, clever, and satisfying ways...


...now if we would just stop close-mic-ing the entire freaking orchestra so his scores would sound more epic... 8)


-Brendan, music nerd



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