Let me first start off by saying that Spider-Man Homecoming is a must see movie. Not to insult Sony, but Marvel blew the other Spider-Man movies out of the water with this incredible blockbuster. Out of all the movies, this Spider-Man felt like the Spider-Man that Stan Lee created in his comics; an awkward and geeky kid just learning how to use his powers While I could go on and on about how incredible the movie is, I will digress and go into detail about the soundtrack.
Marvel, when compared to DC, is not as focused on music as they are focused on the plot. That is not to say that there is no music, because there definitely is, however it is much more subtle in its presentation. Their music is played very softly, loud enough for the audience to know it is there, but soft enough so that it does not become the main focus. This subtlety is evident in tracks three, four, five, and seven; “Academic Decommitment”, “High Tech Heist”, “On a Ned-To-Know Basis”, and “Webbed Surveillance” (all composed by Michael Giacchino).
Each of the aforementioned songs possesses a swift and lively tempo that reflects an energetic and eager Peter Parker as he struggles to prove himself, yet they each possess a unique subtle inflection in their melody that reflects what is going on in the scene. For example: in “High Tech Heist”, as one can infer from the title, a heist is being performed and the dark undertones demonstrate the gravity of the situation while “On a Ned-To-Know Basis” has a mysterious quality to it that reflect Spider-Man’s attempt at stealth.
Now, while many of Giacchino’s compositions in this film are very subtle, there are a few that are more conspicuous than others. Music like track six’s “Drag Racing / An Old Van Rundown still possesses that same energetic, active, and almost child-like tune that has come to reflect this film’s Spider-Man and his mounting excitement as he closes in on his prey, yet it has a few darker and more serious undertones as that come to life during the chase and the introduction of the main villain. As a mirror to the scene, during the last minute or so, when the villain gains the upper hand, the music and tempo all become faster with heavier with fuller blasts of brass sound, showcasing the dire straights that Spider-Man finds himself in.
Another moment where music seems louder and more noticeable would be track eleven and twelve; “A Boatload of Trouble” parts one and two. The first part starts slow, building up as Spider-Man moves towards his enemies, leading up to the explosive final seconds that leads up to the much more fast paced second part. Part two sounds much like its predecessor in melody, but much faster and harder in terms of the sense of urgency it gives off. It slows down for several seconds part way through, mirroring a scene in the movies where everything just goes wrong, before exploding again with renewed vigor and a dash of mortal terror.
This mortal terror is once again demonstrated with “Pop Vulture”, track fifteen. It is a relatively slow piece, borderline peaceful if not for the ominous etchings. With its slow meaningful drone and menacing drum beat, this music fully represents the fear and terror that this villain inspires along with the fear that Peter feels when he encounters this foe in such a manner. It then shifts to a much softer, lamenting tune that gives off a mysterious and dangerous atmosphere that reflects the threat the villain possess before returning to its previous state, leaving a lasting impression of surprise and terror.
As the movie progresses to the critical confrontation between Spider-Man and the main villain, the sound no longer holds the same energetic and excited tune that the previous tracks held. In fact, track seventeen, “Lift Off”, is the exact opposite. It is heavy, serious, and so explosively dark that it leaves the audience reeling in shock. What was once a bright, exciting, and somewhat chipper movie has turned dark and grim from the sheer presence of this music. However, that changes about a minute in when the classic music that signifies the realization of a heroes’ role kicks in. With its bright slow melody that screams inspirational and, in a scene that almost perfectly mirrors the original comic books, Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man and pushes past the hopelessness and weakness that had once threatened to consume him in order to become the hero he always wanted to be. The track then shifts to a broad and gloomy section, filled with enthralling loud blasts of instruments that display the chase between Spider-Man and the villain, leading up to the bright and elated segment where Spider-Man temporarily averts disaster.
Finally, the climactic clash between hero and villain occurs with track nineteen’s “Vulture Clash” setting the scene perfectly. It starts out slow and haunting, reflecting the confusion surrounding Spider-Man as he tries to find his enemy before it suddenly picks up and becomes a dark, steady march that is a throwback of the villain’s introduction in “Pop Vulture”. The tempo then slows to a crawl as things begin to look grim for our hero. With each passing second and each bang from the soundtrack, the listener can hear the struggle and the desperation that the wall-crawler feels as he fights. And then, it is suddenly gone. The sound turns to light, almost angelic as the fight comes to a conclusion before it shifts again to the inspirational music from “Lift Off”, celebrating Spider-Man’s win.
Now, taking a large step back to the beginning of the soundtrack, and the start of the movies, my personal favorite track, “Theme (from “Spider-Man”) [Original Television Series]”. Hearing this song the very start of this movie brought back so many memories of me as a kid, watching Spider-Man with my sister, and I could tell that others in the audience were feeling just as nostalgic. While the song is almost exactly the same as the original song, with a few octave shifts and electric guitar riffs, this track becomes more than that. It brings back so many memories of the classic Spider-Man, when he was just a low-quality animation on a small TV screen, and, at the same time, gives this purely modern sound that says, “Guess what? I’m back and better than ever!”
This album is an amazing one, to say the least, possibly the best soundtrack from the Marvel universe. While many of the tracks pieces are subtle in their presentation, that does not make them any less impactful than those of any other album. That being said, I cannot help but wish that this music was more assertive in its presentation as a whole. There were only a handful of pieces in the entire soundtrack that really got my blood pumping with excitement. Not to mention that, with all the other sound effects and dialogue, I could barely hear half of the music that was playing. However, despite my personal feelings, I cannot fault the album because it does its job; it makes Spider-Man Homecoming that much better.