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Michael Giacchino's SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME (2021)


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12 minutes ago, His Royal Noelness said:


I miss Horner. I wish he’d gotten to score the second one too.

It was such a surprise that he scored this film given the types of films he generally scored at that stage of his career, but he did a great job.

 

Interesting the thoughts on the various Spider-Man themes. Elfman's great, but as I think was noted in one of the FSM podcasts, the theme itself relatively simple but works superbly with the running strings and percussion. Horner's is one of those melodies that I find humming to myself curiously often, a total earworm. However, oddly, for me, Giacchino's theme feels the most appropriate to the character. I can't quite put my finger on why, guess it feels a bit more light and less grandly heroic than the others. A more everyday hero theme somehow.

 

No Way Home downloaded... first listen, imminent...

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5 hours ago, NL197 said:

When it comes to Zimmer's TASM 2, I'd have swallowed all of it - the rap chanting voices, the dubstep, the relentlessness of the music always playing with a rhythm and rarely calming down....if Zimmer had just used Horner's melody for Spider-Man instead of that sound-alike Copland / Network News trumpet thing. 

Keep everything else, but use the Horner theme, even if it's just the first 5 notes of it as a calling card like the 3 Zimmer did. 

I echo this. Just keep the theme and do what you want after that. 
 

I rewatched TASM2 last night and it isn’t that bad. I mean, it does have a lot of issues but there’s a decent film in there. Garfield and Stone were great. 
 

I hope Garfield gets a TASM3 some day with competent writers and without studio interference.

 

 

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2 hours ago, His Royal Noelness said:

I echo this. Just keep the theme and do what you want after that. 
 

I rewatched TASM2 last night and it isn’t that bad. I mean, it does have a lot of issues but there’s a decent film in there. Garfield and Stone were great. 
 

I hope Garfield gets a TASM3 some day with competent writers and without studio interference.

 

 

 

I prefer ZImmer didn't use Horner's theme. Horner's score is one of my favorite superhero scores ever, but I like the idea of composers creating their own themes. I think it makes for an extremely interesting discussion. I love discussing how Elfman, Horner, Zimmer, and Gia saw the character and the approaches that they took. 

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That's fair, however Zimmer's theme is so close to Horner's it's like he tried to sound like that without actually just using it. Like an imitation. That's what annoys me about Zimmer's theme the most. It's like Webb said "use James' theme, but don't use James' theme you get me?"

 

I think that film nails Spider-Man himself. Garfield is fire as Spider-Man. It's like they did him justice, perfected everything, but took a shit on everything else by either half-assing the rest (Electro), or just...what the hell was Dane DeHaan supposed to do with that turd of a character? 

And then there's Gwen at the end. Her and Peter made a great pair and a great team and then she bumped her head. Time for the dog poop bags. 

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3 hours ago, His Royal Noelness said:

 

I hope Garfield gets a TASM3 some day with competent writers and without studio interference.

 

 

This is the most unlikely event in existence. I think Garfield has moved on and so has everyone else.

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2 hours ago, NL197 said:

That's fair, however Zimmer's theme is so close to Horner's it's like he tried to sound like that without actually just using it. Like an imitation. That's what annoys me about Zimmer's theme the most. It's like Webb said "use James' theme, but don't use James' theme you get me?"

 

I think that film nails Spider-Man himself. Garfield is fire as Spider-Man. It's like they did him justice, perfected everything, but took a shit on everything else by either half-assing the rest (Electro), or just...what the hell was Dane DeHaan supposed to do with that turd of a character? 

And then there's Gwen at the end. Her and Peter made a great pair and a great team and then she bumped her head. Time for the dog poop bags. 

 

That is kind of amusing in that Horner's theme always bothers me because it is basically the same as the Karate Kid theme that he scored earlier. I actually think Horner's theme is the weakest part of the score. The intelligence of that score is what astounds me the most. I wish more superhero scores are that intelligent.

 

Update:

Just listened to the score. Massive disappointment. This is easily the weakest Spider-Man score out of all the movies. The new material is barely interesting, and the way Giacchino incorporates the old themes are even worst than what Elfman did with Justice League. His own Spider-Man theme barely got any spotlight time. The mixing is bad, with an underwater filter not unlike Godzilla vs Kong. Overall, the composition isn't bad, but the music felt laborous, passionless, and just...dead.

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Just saw the film, and bad news for me - the score was nigh on inaudible for most of the action, and even the quieter segments were dialed down, making this score another in the ongoing trend of relegating the score to far background support. I could just about pick out the older themes Gia references, but that was a challenge too when it was buried so far down in the mix. This is such a saddening choice these filmmakers choose to the point that it's like they don't even need a score to convey any meaning or emotion - or action for that matter.

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12 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

I don't think there's any meaning to convey.

For this score, or scores in general - because this has happened to our dear JW too in recent years...

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29 minutes ago, Arpy said:

This is such a saddening choice these filmmakers choose to the point that it's like they don't even need a score to convey any meaning or emotion - or action for that matter.

 

At a certain point, composers need to stand up and (no pun intended) make some noise about this issue.

 

It's getting beyond ridiculous, yet thoroughly unsurprising when the people in charge of the sound mix are effectively the SFX department. The hierarchy is weighted against the music department.

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Could this be a cinema issue? I saw the film in IMAX and the score was blasting through the action scenes. I also had no problem with music standing out in the softer scenes, especially those with musical references near the end. I think MG did fine with the score and so many themes. His Spider Man and Dr Strange themes received some good developments throughout.

The only thing hurting the score for me is - as always with MG - album mixing.

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There's gotta be issues with specific theaters because in my showing I could very clearly hear all the music very well the entire time. I'm sad to read others had the opposite experience in their theaters 

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2 hours ago, leeallen01 said:

To anyone who has seen the film; are there any moments in the film where Elfman's main theme plays? (Not the 8 note responsibility theme heard in 'Shield of Pain')

 

When Tobey first appears they play his Spider-Man theme in the brass and again in the celeste. Unfortunately that's all we get of it, but it's a nice nod anyway. 

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Pity the Horner and Elfman Spiderman themes are featured so briefly. Did Gia miss a trick by not featuring them prominently? I mean imagine full blast orchestral renditions of the 3 Spiderman themes (Hornder, Elfman, Gia) one to the other, one to the other, during the entire final section when the 3 Spiderman team up. 

 

I mean wouldn't that be grand.

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Who knows, maybe something like that was recorded, and Watts asked for a rewrite.  For any film, you can't blame what isn't used solely on the composer, the creation of a film score is a collaborative process

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1 hour ago, TheUlyssesian said:

Pity the Horner and Elfman Spiderman themes are featured so briefly. Did Gia miss a trick by not featuring them prominently? I mean imagine full blast orchestral renditions of the 3 Spiderman themes (Hornder, Elfman, Gia) one to the other, one to the other, during the entire final section when the 3 Spiderman team up. 

 

I mean wouldn't that be grand.

 

It would, but the filmmakers chose to use Giacchino's theme with a purpose.

It's the Tom Holland Spider-Man movie, so his theme should play. The choir version of the theme in the final battle is amazing in context.

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Could be a royalties nightmare as well. I don't think this would have worked any better. In fact the score would have lost focus entirely. Let's remember this is ultimately still a Tom Holland movie and it's what music should be focusing on - the core story. We don't need the music to tell us what we can already see. It's not its purpose. 

 

Karol

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I definitely made some mistakes in my earlier list of all the cues in the film and what themes are used in each; Before I get around to revising that list, I think I have a definitive list of all the non-Giacchino themes that appear throughout the score

 

Spoiler

Elfman's main Spider-man theme

  • Unreleased Cue #20 {Maguire's intro}

Elfman's Peter Parker / Responsibility theme

  • Unreleased Cue #25 {Sandman is cured}
  • OST track 19 Shield of Pain {Maguire talks with Doc Ock}

Elfman's Green Goblin theme

  • Unreleased Cue #9 {he shows up on the bridge}
  • Unreleased Cue #11 {he smashes his helmet in the alley}
  • Unreleased Cue #18 {his monologue in Happy's apartment after Peter webs his hand}
  • OST track 18 Arc Reactor {Electro grabs the arc reactor, GG is not present anywhere in this scene}

Elfman's Doc Ock theme

  • OST track 7 Otto Trouble {bridge attack}
  • OST track 11 Octo Gone {Peter installs the fixed chip in his back}
  • OST track 18 Arc Reator {he rips the arc reactor from Electro and installs the inhibitor instead}

Horner's main theme

  • Unreleased Cue #22 {Garfield talks about string theory and magic being real in this universe}
  • OST track 19 Shield of Pain {Garfield talks with Electro}

Zimmer's Electro theme

  • Unreleased Cue #10 {Electro's introduction in the woods}

 

 

So basically there are 11 cues throughout the score with a non-Giacchino theme, and he only put 4 of them on the OST album, leaving 7 unreleased.

 

Not counting any unused cues or alternates that may have been recorded as well, of course.

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Most of the European Amazon links have this art added to the listing now

 

61pEXerI5YL._AC_SL1000_.jpg

 

Gotta love their ineptitude that in the same image, they show a red/black jewel case and an all-clear jewel case in two different spots....

 

 

Still nothing on Amazon USA except the Limited Edition Vinyl.

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Having given the score two listens now, this is likely one of the hardest for me to properly judge currently. In contrast to the previous two entries, I think the first half or so is pretty strong, with some of the most musically interesting bits that Gia has done for the trilogy. Especially fond of the No Good Deed track, with its use of choir and propulsive rhythms and percussion.

 

However, after that, it basically slows to a crawl, as it gets far more focused on the emotional core of the score. And let me just say that while I probably like the new themes more than some, they just ain't used particularly great in what we have. Specifically, the new responsibility theme is a bit too overly dramatic and tragic sounding for an idea that's more supposed to be simply bittersweet. It's what Elfman managed to do so well with his responsibility theme, and even Zimmer managed to capture the sentiment decently in his No Place Like Home/You're That Spidey Guy tracks (don't know if Horner had his own outside of using the main theme for it). With everything I've heard out of Giacchino so far, the man just can't seem to do emotional moments particularly greatly.

 

The villain theme had potential, but it's only used well in the regular suite, which is a problem when Vulture and Mysterio got far more mileage outside of the suites for their films.

 

As for the callbacks, I remain mixed, as I ultimately do like that Gia chose to mainly stick to his own guns for what's supposed to primarily be his iteration of the character. As much as I would love a more full blown reference haven, I imagine it'd be incredibly difficult to balance when you're aiming for mainly original material. I guess what bothers me is that when we do get to the cue where they become very transparent with the past quotes, something about the mixing really lets down otherwise fine arrangements (don't hate the mix btw, though I certainly hate the audible compression/clipping that's more than I would've expected for a score like this). I like the way Doc Ock's theme is used otherwise, and I'm sure I'd like the remaining quotes once I see the film proper.

 

I definitely believe Jay when he says a lot of the really good bits are missing, since it just lacks much of the fun Homecoming and FFH has. I genuinely wonder if Gia got too preoccupied with his other films to really make a proper album, since it's so half-baked as is. The previous two scores certainly benefitted from having more breathing room in their full forms, so I hope to see NWH get out in bootleg form eventually.

 

I absolutely wouldn't call this my least favorite Spidey score. Compared to Spiderverse and TASM2 (which probably are more interesting admittedly), it at least hangs together fairly well. But at the same time, it really serves to remind me how middle of the road Giacchino's take ultimately is. I like the main theme a lot, which certainly still has plenty of mileage to work with, but generally it's hard for me to get worked up much about the scores in general outside of fairly decent. Even the generally well liked FFH really left me a bit cold when I recently revisited it (though that could change with the barely leaked bootleg from today). All in all, better than most give it credit for, but it's very easily overshadowed at the end of the day.

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37 minutes ago, HunterTech said:

(don't know if Horner had his own outside of using the main theme for it).

 

0:00 - 0:54 is an expanded, complete version of the main Peter Parker melody Horner composed (though Rooftop Kiss seems like a variation on that same idea as well). He often uses it to sound more minimalist, often with piano such as in the end of the bridge scene when the construction worker embraces his son. It basically serves the same purpose as Elfman's Peter Parker theme, signifying responsibility as well as Peter's struggles. 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Jay said:

There's no doubt it's the weakest of Gia's three Spidey scores

 

I'm not sure I'd agree with that. But it took me a lot longer to get into the score of Far From Home than many people. I think this score might have a better idea of the movie than the movie does.

 

Homecoming is so perfect. (Score and movie, but especially the movie.) While I can appreciate the sequels trying to cover new ground they never re-capture the balance that the first one had. I blame some of that on both sequels leaning into some of the absurd humor that Homecoming was only sprinkled with.

 

I admit to bias in that I LOVE Gia's Doctor Strange. And while I'm pissed that he's not scoring the second one at least we have this.

 

10 hours ago, Jay said:

Sony Music ain't gonna do that.

 

Bummer.

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On 11/12/2021 at 3:16 PM, Matt C said:

 

It probably wasn't.

 

If it was, they did a better job mixing it than they did on Desplat's Midnight Sky (where it was blatantly obvious each section was recorded separately).

 

I actually think Midnight Sky is one of the best lockdown mixes I have heard. Not as good as a real studio recording but not bad either.

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For me, this score feels very much like The Battle of the Five Armies situation. A lot of cool ideas and moments but the album somehow doesn't come together. New material overshadowed by pre-existing themes. Starts off strongly enough but the second half doesn't quite hit home (pun intended). And the treatment in the film is quite poor. But I don't necessarily dislike it in spite of all that. 

 

Karol

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On 19/12/2021 at 1:49 AM, Arpy said:

Just saw the film, and bad news for me - the score was nigh on inaudible for most of the action, and even the quieter segments were dialed down, making this score another in the ongoing trend of relegating the score to far background support. I could just about pick out the older themes Gia references, but that was a challenge too when it was buried so far down in the mix. This is such a saddening choice these filmmakers choose to the point that it's like they don't even need a score to convey any meaning or emotion - or action for that matter.

They only have scores nowadays so they can sell soundtrack albums!

 

Because, you know. Those...uh, sell, by the truckload. A very tiny truck.

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24 minutes ago, Kasey Kockroach said:

They only have scores nowadays so they can sell soundtrack albums!

 

Because, you know. Those...uh, sell, by the truckload. A very tiny truck.

A Tonka Toy truckload

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I've listened to it a couple time and it's indeed disappointing compared to the two previous one. The true weakness of the score is that there is no real new themes and some uninspired use of the older themes. The only real new theme is the one from Forget me Knots which like Zimmer's Final Ascent is beautiful but not really inspirering.

Curiously, I found the music very nice while watching the movie so I do blame a bit the album for not being that interresting. I hope the recording sessions leaks at some point to squeeze a more comprehensive and interresting album from them.

 

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Just adding to the consensus that this is the weakest of the trilogy. He has three blockbuster scores being released next year (Batman, Jurassic World Dominion, Thor: Love and Thunder), I hope No Way Home isn't an indication of the quality of those upcoming scores. I would like at least one of them to entertain me as much as his first Spiderman score did.

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Well he wrote and recorded Jurassic World 3 and The Batman before writing this score, for whatever that's worth 

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I just finished watching it the second time. It's interesting the film isn't as heavily scored as one might expect. Quite a few quiet scenes in the middle play without score.

 

Karol

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32 minutes ago, Docteur Qui said:

I got really tired of Giacchino's Spidey theme in this one. It really is such a paint-by-number hero theme, and its limitations are even more glaring heard next to Elfman's in the same film (as brief as that was).

It was grating in the first movie.  Just not a very good theme.  

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1 hour ago, Docteur Qui said:

I got really tired of Giacchino's Spidey theme in this one. It really is such a paint-by-number hero theme, and its limitations are even more glaring heard next to Elfman's in the same film (as brief as that was).

 

For all his strengths I feel like Giacchino still hasn't mastered the art of variation. Almost every statement is exactly the same, every phrase as predictable as the last. Pretty apt for the whole MCU though I guess.

 

The problem with his Spider-Man theme is that it could be any young superhero. It is melodic but not descriptive to the character. Elfman (Responsibility), Horner (growing gift) and Zimmer (web-slinging) all covers a distinct trait of Spider-Man.  

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19 minutes ago, superultramegaa said:

 

I always thought Elfman's theme had already described every major trait of Spider-Man. His over 3 minute Spider-Man suite for the main titles practically tells the entire story right then and there. The Spider-Man theme starts off unassuming and soft, much like Peter was, then gathers strength with the drums and orchestra, almost simulating a Spider crawling across it's web (or Peter crawling a wall), goes through many dark variations in the first third reflecting Uncle Ben's death and the dark events of Spider-Man's life, then we get a full, sweeping, heroic statement of the theme at 1:43, with constant running strings simulating the feeling of web-swinging, and the full melody and counterpoint indicating that Spider-Man has come into his own.

 

Elfman even perfects the suite with Peter Parker's theme coming in right after Spider-Man's theme hits its peak, giving off the feeling that no matter how well Spider-Man does, Peter's life and responsibilities will always be impacted. The responsibility theme itself is perfect already, with the melody slowly collapsing, just like the weight of responsibility does, yet ending with a final rising note to illustrate how Peter overcomes his problems no matter what. We even get innocent sounding variations of Peter's theme at the end of the main titles of the first movie, characterizing at his naïve, immature side. I'm not saying Elfman was consciously thinking all of this when writing his theme, but it certainly characterizes the movie spectacularly anyway. 

 

This isn't a criticism of Horner, Zimmer, or Paesano either. I just don't think any composer can top the level of characterization that Elfman fit into his theme in the very first movie. It's like whenever Williams tried to use other themes, or compose new themes for Luke. He already nailed in the first time so it just feels like an absurd, wasted effort. Or when Zimmer composed new Batman themes. Even his more melodic efforts just pale in comparison to Elfman's or even Nick Arundel's. I do think Elfman should have made his own theme a bit darker and more varied in Justice League though cause that didn't work too well either. 

 

As a huge Zimmer fan, I agree with you. Elfman's theme is quite possibly from start to finish the best superhero theme ever written. It is that good.

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I know this is all a matter of personal preference. But...

 

3 hours ago, Not Mr. Big said:

It was grating in the first movie.  Just not a very good theme.

 

You're insane.

 

11 minutes ago, Mephariel said:

Elfman's theme is quite possibly from start to finish the best superhero theme ever written. It is that good.

 

You're insane.

 

2 hours ago, Mephariel said:

The problem with his Spider-Man theme is that it could be any young superhero.

 

You're insane.

 

:D

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Can anyone line me up with the best and most listenable tracks from each of these three scores?

 

I listened to Homecoming once, and found it too bouncy and too popcorn to really hold my attention. I've only seen the film once. Same for Far From Home.

 

I used to be a massive Giacchino fan once, and many of his scores are still excellent in my eyes, but I've seen through the veil a little bit as I think he has reached his 'ceiling' in terms of complexity and creativity of writing... he keeps scoring things the same way over and again, and his best theme writing is behind him. Of course it's also about attachment to certain films, and his more recent do not grab me like they did a decade ago in my twenties.

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It just occurs to me that it was the second trilogy that Giacchiano has scored after Star Trek and like for the previous one, I find the first movie interresting, really nice and full of great promises, the second is far superior and more accomplished while the third score is far less inspired with no real innovation.

Perhaps Gia has some difficulty to make his score grows for a third entry, I guess we'll see with the third JW which is so far fowling the same pattern to me

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Wow I don't think that's the universal opinion on his Trek scores. I love the third score, and he was clearly inspired enough to come up with the best theme of the trilogy for it! 

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