Iron Man 2


Movie | Release date: 07/20/2010 | Film release: 2010 | Format: CD, Download
Sony Classical (886977465420)
 

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# Track Artist/Composer Duration
1.Ivan's Metamorphosis5:48
2.House Fight V15:47
3.Making Pepper CEO1:09
4.Senate/Ivan Creates Drones3:38
5.Make Way For Tomorrow/Expo Version0:54
6.Rhodey Dons Suit0:57
7.Dying Hero1:52
8.Natalie Intro1:04
9.Monaco Drive0:42
10.Mayhem in Monaco7:26
11.Jailhouse Talk2:25
12.Ivan Escapes1:43
13.Gun Show2:11
14.Tony Discovers Dad's Secret4:10
15.Sledgehammer V22:40
16.Nick Fury1:31
17.New Element/Particle Accelerator6:15
18.Sledgehammer1:08
19.New RT/To the Expo1:44
20.Black Widow Kicks Ass2:12
21.Iron Man Battles The Drones8:01
22.Ivan's Demise/The Kiss5:06
23.Thor0:40
24.I Am Iron Man1:32
25.Make Way For Tomorrow Today1:51
 72:25
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Iron Man 2 - 08/10 - Review of Edmund Meinerts, submitted at
The only reason why 2008s Iron Man wasnt the best superhero film of the year is because The Dark Knight came out soon afterwards, which is a shame, because it led to the former being slightly overshadowed by the immense hype of the latter. It was the mainstream breakthrough for Robert Downey Jr., an immensely talented actor who had appeared mainly in dramatic roles up until then. His neurotic portrayal of Tony Stark (the eponymous Iron Man ) was enjoyable and popular enough, though, that a sequel was not long in the offing, so here we are, two years later, faced with the imaginatively-titled early-summer romp Iron Man 2.

Hans Zimmer associate Ramin Djawadi scored the first film with nasty attitude, sacrificing any orchestral or thematic depth whatsoever in favor of a hard-nosed rocking sound with plenty of distortion guitars. While popular amongst the movies fans, film score community scorned the score with the usual complaints of Media Ventures repetition and overly simplistic structures. While it wasnt an awful score in my opinion it did provide the film with a very unique voice considering the orchestral Danny Elfman sound that had dominated many superhero scores up until that point it didnt provide Tony Stark with any sort of lasting identity. For the second entry into the franchise, director Jon Favreau called in his longtime collaborator and consummate professional John Debney.

Debney took the predictable, but ultimately appropriate avenue of taking Djawadis grungy sound and bolstering it with significant orchestral and choral depth, leading to a larger scope that still retained the franchise identity. This becomes apparent immediately in the first track, arguably the scores strongest: Ivans Metamorphosis. The atmospheric deep choral buildup in this pieces first forty seconds is an instant indication of the direction this score is trying to take. The first cue really takes off in its second half, with the extremely deep male choir (faintly echoing Hans Zimmers 90s sound from things like Crimson Tide ) giving the films Russian nemesis Ivan Vanko an identity both ethnically fitting and wonderfully ominous.

Unfortunately, Ivans material is the best-developed in the entire score, making reappearances in Senate/Ivan Creates Drones, Monaco, subtly in Jailhouse Talk and with finality in Ivans Demise/The Kiss, though none of these statements are as enjoyable as that in the first cue. The fact that the villain receives the most coherent thematic treatment unmasks this scores greatest, possibly crippling, weakness: it doesnt give Iron Man the thematic attention he, as a comic book hero, unquestionably deserves. Djawadi at least had a pounding rock progression for Tony Starks most badass moments. What Debney does have is a heroic theme taken straight from the pages of Jerry Goldsmith (specifically Total Recall ) that makes two token appearances: at the end of Mayhem in Monaco and in I Am Iron Man. Debneys intent is clear: he wanted to hold back the heroic theme until the end of the film, much in the way David Arnold did for the Bond theme in Casino Royale. The trouble is, the Bond theme is so iconic that it felt like a reward at the end of the origins-focused Casino Royale, a maturing of the character into the James Bond everybody knows. Debneys Iron Man theme, while quite good in its own right, cant have the same impact because nobody knows it yet.

The result of this thematic nebulosity is that Iron Man 2 is quite anonymous and unmemorable for significant portions of its length. Its better moments, therefore, are left to the supporting themes. This can easily be seen in the comparison between the two longest action cues: Mayhem in Monaco in the middle of the album, and Iron Man Battles the Drones towards the end. The former contains lots of thematic bits and pieces, from weighty Ivan material at the beginning to the triumphant first appearance of Iron Mans theme at the end, tied together by aggressive, Brian Tyler-like rock/orchestral hybrid action music. The latter is similarly aggressive and probably equally enjoyable as a standalone listen, but suffers due to a lack of thematic cohesiveness.

Further limiting the scores flow is material for Tony Starks father and the legacy of Stark Industries he left behind. Found in Make Way for Tomorrow/Expo Version, the middle of New Element/Particle Accelerator and the final track, Make Way for Tomorrow Today, its a throwback to the early-Disney days of optimistic wonderment (and is indeed based on a theme written by Dick Sherman, who wrote tunes for Disneyland theme parks). The last of the three even contains English-language lyrics for full chorus. While well-adapted and a testament to Debneys diversity, this material is at total odds with the rest of the score, especially the harsher metal cues like House Fight V1, Gun Show and the two Sledgehammer tracks, all of which will appeal to fans of Djawadis original score and deter those who disliked it.

All in all, there is much to like about Iron Man 2. It is liberally peppered with excellent highlights, from the deep choral menace of the opening via the excellent David Arnold pastiche in Monaco Drive to the triumphant Goldsmithian theme in I Am Iron Man. Had these elements been tied together with a greater thematic loyalty, this could have easily been one of the years best scores. Unless youre an orchestral purist, of course (in which case it would seem this franchise ought to be avoided entirely), you will find yourself tremendously entertained by large portions of Debneys score, more so than in the more atmospheric Predators. Recommended, despite everything.
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