Movies Are Showcasing Soundtracks More
Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 was just released, and the early reception has been positive. Viewed as a more carefree and self-aware branch of the Marvel superhero universe, it’s as much comedy as action, and fans seem to appreciate that. It’s also a film franchise that has celebrated music more than any other movie in recent memory.
When the first movie came out,its “Awesome Mix: Vol. 1” soundtrack became a sensation. Headlined by tunes like Blue Swede’s “Hooked On A Feeling” and The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back,” it injected a fun and timeless spirit into the film. Now, “Awesome Mix: Vol. 2” has been reviewed as “another smash.” Featuring a range of tracks from Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky” to the decidedly more old school “Bring It On Home To Me” by Sam Cooke, it’s an eclectic blend that peppers the new movie with all the right emotions at all the right times.
Really though, the Guardians Of The Galaxy films are just some of the most recent examples of Hollywood placing a greater emphasis on musical composition and soundtracks.
One of the most noteworthy examples actually came earlier in the development of the Marvel universe, with the first few Iron Man movies. Needless to say various versions of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” were used, but it was Iron Man 2 that really got a signature tune, with AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.” This is a pretty iconic song in its own right. It’s not that old for a classic rock hit, for one thing. And for another, it’s managed to stay relevant. A lineup of modern slot games that have thrived on the internet due to connections to pop culture includes a slot reel called “Thunderstruck II,” designed as a tribute to the band and the song. The song is also still frequently played in sports arenas, but it fit perfectly Iron Man 2. It became such a part of the character that the same song was even used in trailers for Iron Man 3.
It’s not just the superhero genre that’s been paying attention to the idea of highlighting music. When you think about it, we’re just a few months removed from an original, modern movie musical being the favorite at the Oscars.
La La Land didn’t win Best Picture like many expected, but it was still arguably the biggest film of the evening. Many film fanatics will be singing its most recognizable tunes to themselves for years to come. The movie did win Best Original Song for “City Of Stars,” and had two different tracks nominated for the award. It’s a little different than promoting existing music, as some of the previous examples have done, but La La Land was a celebration of the power of a good soundtrack in its own way.
There are also plenty of other recent examples. Think of Furious 7. It was an action movie that was defined by Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again,” a moving tribute to the late Paul Walker. The song played such a key role that it virtually turned the closing sequence into a music video that existed outside of the plot. Or, think of Django Unchained, the wildly inventive western action flick into which director Quentin Tarantino infused an incredibly bold soundtrack. Sprinkling in rap, James Brown remixes, and a memorable theme song, he pretty much covered every genre.
The list could go on, but the point is that we’re seeing modern movies treat soundtracks as a more than just background material. Music is playing a bigger role in film, and that’s great news for fans of both modes of artistic expression.