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Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Composed by Henry Jackman
  • Hollywood Records / 2014 / 75m

Captain America is back in The Winter Soldier, three years after his first film.  It seems likely that the extraordinary success of the Marvel films will continue, with an outing very different from his “origin story” that was the focus of the earlier film; this time round the Captain is in the modern world and has to do battle with the nasty winter soldier.  The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, who have worked extensively in television comedy (and also made the amusing Welcome to Collinwood a few years back) and they’ve already signed up to make the next film in the series, to be released in 2016.

Captain America: The First Avenger was a bit of a musical turning point for the Marvel series; there had been some good music in the series before but rarely sustained across a whole score, but Alan Silvestri finally did the obvious thing and wrote the first truly memorable character theme in the series – and what a great theme it was.  It made cameo appearances in Silvestri’s own score for The Avengers and also in Brian Tyler’s Thor 2 – finally, a bit of musical continuity.  The filmmakers had seen sense.  But it doesn’t appear anywhere in Henry Jackman’s sequel score – and indeed sense is something notable by its absence throughout.

Henry Jackman

Henry Jackman

The album starts badly and proceeds to get much worse.  The utterly generic opening piece “Lemurian Star” blends the same tired old Bourne action ostinatos and the now-ludicrous, laughable Inception HORN OF DOOM with some obnoxious electronics; “Project Insight” introduces what is presumably Jackman’s own theme for the main character, an instantly forgettable piece of fluff; at least “The Smithsonian” features some pleasant Americana, though it only lasts a few seconds.  But if you listen to that and think – oh well, it’s not that bad – then you get to “Fury”.  And you realise that yes, it’s that bad and then some.  Suddenly there’s an assault of electronics.  It may work just fine in the film but it’s utterly repulsive away from it.  And yet… it’s like a nice rendition of “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” compared with what follows in “The Winter Soldier”, which sounds like Ross’s keyboard music in Friends, apparently randomly-placed bleeps and squirts appearing every few seconds, exceptionally silly synth parts that are like vintage 1980s Casio, sudden jumps between incredibly loud and incredibly quiet, occasional transitions from awful parts to somehow even worse parts.  Imagine for a moment falling down a deep well, breaking both legs, the well gradually filling up with water thanks to heavy rainfall – you can see the water level rising, you can’t move, your phone has no reception – that constant drip-drip-drip – death is imminent – it’s only a matter of time.  Believe me, that experience would be like manna from heaven to anyone unfortunate enough to listen to “The Winter Soldier”.

To make matters worse – there are still 48 minutes to go.  48 minutes of slow, painful torture.  Yes, there are plenty of rubbish Remote Control generic action scores, just as there are some enjoyable ones.  At its best, the style can yield a generic-but-entertaining album.  Some moments here are like that.  The bar is very low and occasionally the music reaches it.  There’s even an attempt at times to inject some emotion – what a foolhardy, old-fashioned concept of what a film score might be used to do – with a vaguely elegiac theme that crops up now and then on strings and piano.  If it appeared on one of those three-star generic Remote Control action scores, you’d think it was the worst thing about them.  It’s by a million miles the best thing about Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

I’ve read some interesting discussions on the internet recently between film composers, opening up in a way that is rare but refreshing about the challenges of modern film music.  Who is to blame for dreck like this – is it really the composers, or is it the filmmakers?  The most unequivocal answer came from the most influential film composer of the day, Hans Zimmer – it’s up to the composer to write music he is passionate about and convince the filmmakers that his way is the way to go.  Who knows what happened on this score – I find it very hard to believe that Henry Jackman gets up in the morning and becomes passionate about writing music that sounds like offshoots from literally a hundred other modern action scores.  So, why did he do it?  Did he assume this is what the filmmakers wanted, because this is what they all seem to want, and so he deliberately wrote below himself?  Or did he truly believe this is the best score the film could receive?  Obviously I don’t know the answer to that.  Henry Jackman is a talented composer – surely this isn’t truly what he wants to be writing?  I may be being unfair – this may be exactly the sort of thing he’s passionate about writing and he really does believe that this is how to score a film – in which case I’d probably be even more upset than in the scenario where he feels forced into it (while acknowledging as I must that perhaps I am hopelessly out of touch and there are loads of youngsters who will become as inspired by music like this just as much as previous generations were inspired by Ben-Hur and Star Wars).  There may be far more to it than I could comprehend – that isn’t difficult, because I comprehend very little, being just a computer keyboard warrior of such limited brain.

I do know that this is the polar opposite of film music – indeed, of music – that I would ever consider to be any good.  There is seemingly no attempt at all to give the film a unique identity – it’s all a generic wash of the same tired old sound that Remote Control (and more recently, a lot of others) have been churning out for the last decade.  There is no sense of fun, anywhere – maybe the film’s darker, maybe there isn’t a single light moment in it anywhere – that’s what the music’s telling us.  It’s telling us that everything is miserable, everything is bleak, we may as well give up because there’s no hope of anything good happening – it is utterly without pleasure.  Not everything has to be bright and happy; but if you’re as miserable as this and as simple as this, it’s really hard to see the point, harder still to see what would possibly make someone ever want to hear it. There’s no expression of feeling, no dramatic undercurrent.

When will filmmakers grow a pair of balls and reject this sort of approach to their films – when will they say that no thanks, we don’t want you to sound like a fourth-rate Hans Zimmer impersonator, we want you to sound like you.  When will composers grow a pair of balls and say – if you just want it to sound like everything else then just licence some library tracks, save yourself a million bucks by not commissioning an “original” score that sounds exactly like everything else – my job is to give you a score that doesn’t just sit in your film and act as musical wallpaper, it actually makes your film better than it otherwise could do – and it sounds like me because I’m a passionate creative person and my music is me.  Who knows.  One day maybe.  In the mean time, we’ll keep on getting this sort of garbage; I have to say, even in the stupefyingly bad context of this sort of thing (Ender’s Game, GI Joe 2, you know what I mean) this is the absolute pits.  The ironic thing is that the composer most often tarred by the brush of this rubbish produced by his associates, Hans Zimmer, actually dares to do different things in his own scores – he has crazy ideas, sometimes it’s brilliant and sometimes it’s appalling, but at least he dares.  His disciples seem completely the opposite, obsessively removing all distinguishing compositional features and churning the tasteless gloop that seeps out into an endless stream of mass-produced film score McNuggets, indistinguishable from one another and a world away from what film music can actually do.  It’s desperately sad.

Rating: No stars | |

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  1. Franklin Yan (Reply) on Thursday 20 March, 2014 at 00:43

    I’m just very curious that since this movie has not yet been released, how can you judge the music without view the movie?

  2. melshoe (Reply) on Thursday 20 March, 2014 at 00:45

    Thank you for your review and thank you for exactly putting my thoughts into words. I’m not a Zimmer/Remote Control hater, I quite like some of their scores, but this is a colossal disappointment, for all the reasons you have so eloquently stated. I just hope the movie isn’t as utterly forgettable as this music. Also, I’ve just heard that Brian Tyler will score the next Avengers movie. I rather liked his music for Iron Man Three and Thor: The Dark World, so there’s hope.

  3. orion_mk3 (Reply) on Thursday 20 March, 2014 at 01:42

    Well said. Based on the samples, this was exactly what I feared: a total 180 from the promising musical direction of the latest Marvel films. Jackman has some great composing chops–you just need to listen to “Wreck-It Ralph” to hear that. It’s just a shame that side of him doesn’t appear on album very often.

  4. Martin (Reply) on Thursday 20 March, 2014 at 03:01

    What a terrible review.

  5. Brendan Cochran (Reply) on Thursday 20 March, 2014 at 05:23

    When I saw this review I got mad because I, personally, love Zimmer. THEN I actually listened to the album and, like the other 9 times out of 10, you are absolutely right. This score is legit trash and impossible to enjoy on any level whatsoever. What a disgrace, especially considering how excited I was for this movie. Where is John Williams or Jerry Goldsmith when you need them?! Ugh this score makes me furious!

  6. Ethan (Reply) on Thursday 20 March, 2014 at 07:09

    This review made me laugh out loud. Thank you for the colorful analogies.

    The thing that bothers me most about this score is that this is CAPTAIN AMERICA. This isn’t some techno-drabble high-tech super-genius Superhero. He is OLD FASHIONED. Literally from another time.

    On the list of every character that deserves grating beats and screeching dubstep, CAPTAIN AMERICA IS AT THE BOTTOM. Out of everyone. Seriously. Absolutely appalling.

    The median quality of Marvel scores just dropped down a star and a half for this work.

  7. Tobias Robert Priebe [ZheParadox] (Reply) on Thursday 20 March, 2014 at 07:40

    by judging the available album which is like james so lovingly put mass-produced film score McNuggets 😀

    because John Williams time for projects is now limited as sad as it sounds but i do hope that we still get a dozen of scores out of him…
    and Jerry unfortunately well you know :/

    i kind of expected this to be bad or at least mediocre but what Henry Jackman delivers here is plain awful!
    i’d like to know why Alan Silvestri didn’t reprise his role…
    James summarized it nicely by analyzing the interference by filmmakers but we do not know if that was the case here BUT i do know that the new Amazing Spider-Man score is going to be garbage from what i have heard so far…

    before some people start raving about my comment regarding my fellow german landsman Hans you should know that roughly 14 years ago i became score addicted because of him and i still am eager to hear his work but after several dissatisfying encounters it gets harder and harder to be excited about new zimmer-scores.

    and finally…
    thanks for all your great reviews!
    it’s always a delight.

  8. […] migraine’ photo and leave it to speak for itself, but my friend and colleague James Southall’s excellent review of this score made me want to make some points of my […]

  9. dominique (Reply) on Friday 21 March, 2014 at 09:10

    let us just talk about more substantial thing…;-)

  10. Sean Wilson (Reply) on Friday 21 March, 2014 at 22:32

    I’ve seen the film and the music is perfectly workmanlike in context. Not spectacular (and certainly not up to Alan Silvestri’s score for the first film) but serviceable. The film actually begins with a sequence scored to Silvestri’s wonderful March (which apparently doesn’t feature on the album). True, there’s an awful lot of sub-Zimmer-esque muck but there’s at least enough jingoistic, warmhearted material (The Smithsonian; the latter half of the end credits) to make it a 3 star experience. I’m wondering if much of the good stuff didn’t actually make it to the CD? Cos it sounds like an awful listening experience!

    • Rory (Reply) on Wednesday 6 June, 2018 at 13:05

      It is. There are moments where the music actually works solidly in the context for the film, and I’ll even commit the heresy of saying that Jackman brings a potentially interesting bit of sound design to the table (imagine how chilling a Goldsmith-esque woodwind piece featuring that wail at the beginning of “Winter Soldier” would be). But a score like this, for a film with a solidly established thematic base, I could only see this working on album with exceptional heed paid to flow and clever contrast the previous themes. And having seen the film– this is damn sloppy.

  11. Igger6 (Reply) on Wednesday 26 March, 2014 at 23:13

    Thanks for an exceedingly well-written review, James. I can’t believe it took me so long to find your site, but I’m glad I did.

    Hearing that the Captain America March did not appear on this album was, no doubt, my biggest film music letdown since John Williams left the Harry Potter films (or maybe since Silvestri and Tyler ignored Doyle’s THOR themes). But I’m glad to hear from Sean that the films haven’t totally abandoned their best musical idea (in a cinematic universe not generally known for great musical ideas). In a spirit of what passes for hope, I’m obliged to point out that the track “Project Insight” seems to contain, at approximately the 1:06 mark, what sounds like three notes of the March.

    Yes, it has come to this.

  12. Chris (Reply) on Saturday 29 March, 2014 at 04:27

    I just listened to most of the tracks on youtube. Glad I found this review to know that I’m not going insane, and that my ears do just hear poop instead of music during this score 99% of the time. What a disappointment. At least I hear the movie is fantastic, score aside.

    What I can’t fathom is why Marvel kept The Cap’s March through Avengers and Thor 2 just to completely abandon it with the exception of the first few seconds of the film.

  13. scorelover (Reply) on Friday 4 April, 2014 at 13:13

    Brian Tyler

  14. Rui (Reply) on Saturday 5 April, 2014 at 02:08

    The Best review ever!!!!!!!! that was badass but completely true.
    This sums the crisis of film music today, if you want to find good film music you must go to more underground films. I liked very much the soundtrack for Thor 2 The Dark World and even there with all the orchestra and chorus I felt something a little generic, of course Brian Tyler is like Swashbuckling Bach (not even as close good as him), though it could have found some more inspiration on North music for instance….
    NOW what kind of crap music is this made by remote control “”composers””. They actually are “remote control”, in the sense that they write by orders of others: Hans Zimmer writes something and all the others make the same thing controled remotely by him (and I don´t like to call them real composers, they should learn real music, real music theory etc etc).

  15. NM (Reply) on Saturday 5 April, 2014 at 13:24


    Stop being so presumptuous and mean-spirited. Whatever about the disappointing nature of a lot of ‘modern’ action/drama scores, I don’t really see what gives you the right to launch such vitriol at the composers. Attack the work, not the artists.

    Henry Jackman is a classically-trained composer. Not that that’s a prerequisite to being a ‘real’ composer unless you view music through a very narrow lens.

  16. ANDRÉ - CAPE TOWN. (Reply) on Sunday 6 April, 2014 at 13:44

    RUI, being a collector of film music, is justified in expressing an opinion about the current, alarming state of film scores & the generic stylisation being cloned by many composers. AND, NM, it’s impossible to separate music from its creative source > the composer. They cannot be unlinked. The producers, directors & musical supervisors may influence the decisions a composer makes, but his signature musical stamp should always be unique…even if told that his musical references should acknowledge a GOLDSMITH, DELERUE, NORTH, ZIMMER or MORRICONE temp-track. Even Classical composers plagiarised the music of their peers WITHOUT aborting their own creative expression. There was a time when I would order any new score-release by a favourite composer; and, I would be satisfied with the CD’s contents most of the time, regardless of the cinematic genré being explored. Yet, the situation has altered during the past 2 decades > although, as an example, I love some of STEVE JABLONSKY’s scores – about 70% of my JABLONSKY collection, remain ignored because the scores resemble each other- or so many other scores that are saturating the market. The upside is that I’m constantly discovering new composers, thanks to so many new sites on the Internet… sample-tracks on offer and going to the movies or hiring DVDs [that allow me to hear the music while watching the film] …. Marvellous scores, without obvious references to another composer’s compositions, are usually the result.

  17. Rui (Reply) on Sunday 6 April, 2014 at 20:55

    Ok, I will only say bad of the work, indeed there aren´t much film music textbooks and manuals to one guide it self and many decisions come from directors, producers, musical supervisors etc, but he is an experienced composer I think he should know how to do something good. I don´t understand why Henry Jackman did the score that way. Indeed one can ask if he truly likes to do music like that, or am I out of context and fashion? I mean I would not do music like that. He had the chance to do something amazing and he didn´t. Maybe he was completely forced to do that way. Unless he had to score this “score” for money or because it was a jumping point in his career, he could say No to writing it (of course he would be substituted..) or he could say No to the way the supervisors, producers etc wanted the score to be.
    @André were do I find good scores, mainly not americans? (not that I don´t like them, but I already have many americans in my collection) (films,series, games – but please not soap operas ahahaha).

  18. Reuben Horst (Reply) on Monday 7 April, 2014 at 04:06

    I disagree that Silvestri’s score for the first Captain America film was the first spectacular score in the MCU. Doyle’s score for Thor was amazing, and Tyler should have definitely reprised it at least a couple times in his scoring of The Dark World.

    I also disagree that the soundtrack for The Winter Soldier was utter crap. I consider myself a soundtrack enthusiast, and having watched the movie without listenng to the score first, I thought the music fit perfectly. (Seriously, why would you listen to a film score before seeing the actual movie in the first place?) Maybe it’s not a good soundtrack to listen to on it’s own, but I thought it was perfect for what the movie neeeded. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention enough, but I likd the score.

    Also, I personally find Hans Zimmer to be overrated. I’m not denying how great a composer he is; I’m just saying people give him so much attention that they often overlook other composers that are just as good or better. Basically, I don’t think you should call someone a Hans Zimmer wannabe, because no composer wants to be another composer. They’re all good in their own right.

  19. Steve (Reply) on Tuesday 8 April, 2014 at 01:11

    Well, had you actually not made your judgements on the sound without seeing the movie, you’d know that the soundtrack features none of Silvestri’s cues while the Movie does.Then you started throwing names. If it were possible I would award this review with no stars and complain about poor judgement being used all around.

    • James Southall (Reply) on Tuesday 8 April, 2014 at 08:06

      I can only say that knowing that would not have affected my opinion of the soundtrack.

  20. ANDRÉ - CAPE TOWN. (Reply) on Tuesday 8 April, 2014 at 23:33

    There are options available when reviewing a film score >watch the movie and analyse the underscore’s effect on enhancing the actors’ performances… the same time working subliminally & manipulating the viewers’ emotions… also creating a geographical locale through instrumemtation & stylisation… the music is also capable of warning the audience of danger & heightening tension etc…etc. One may also regard the score as a self contained musical entity, and dissect it for potential buyers who have NO intention of seeing the movie. I love JERRY GOLDSMITH’s Americana-styled LILIES OF THE FIELD, but had no intention of watching Sydney Poitier help German nuns build a chapel. I loathe Westerns & John Wayne, but love the music ELMER BERNSTEIN created for that genré. ENNIO MORRICONE’s brilliant scores for Italy’s psycho-soft-porn dramas of the ’70s are among my favourites – yet, I’ve only viewed a couple of them. BEING A COLLECTOR OF FILM MUSIC DOES NOT DEPEND ON HAVING TO VIEW A MOVIE! Steve & Reuben, don’t limit your film music exploration by making film-viewing a prerequisite. However, there are times I have sat through movie-drek just to hear an admired composer’s score > YOUR HIGHNESS was despised by most critics…as was the score. But STEVE JABLONSKY delivered a gorgeous Renaissance flavoured opus that I would have missed out on. A friend took a chance by ordering COPERNICUS STAR by Poland’s ABEL KORZENIOWSKI as I did by buying THE CELESTINE PROPHECY by Portugal’s NUNO MALO > both scores are winners. ÉRIC NEVEUX ‘s ‘HIDEAWAYS’ and OSCAR NAVARRO’s ‘LA MULA’ are well worth buying…also ‘CONQUEST 1453′ by Britain’s BENJAMIN WALLFISCH and ’11 SEPTEMBER 1683’ by Italy’s ROBERTO CACCIAPAGLIA. Google the titles for info about these films that I havn’t seen. RUI – my country’s exchange rate is so horrific at the moment, that financially I’m ordering from the USA for the best deals > there’s or Amazon… there’s a link after each of James’ critiques. Luc Van de Ven [of Prometheus Records] supplied my orders for many years. E-mail him at You can also try Chris’ Corner Soundtracks at If you want to know more about film composers RUI, just GOOGLE their names. Many sites will be provided to supply info.

  21. Rui (Reply) on Wednesday 9 April, 2014 at 01:52

    Second time in my life I’ve heard of a portuguese film score composer (is the same composer)…. excused is to say as a portuguese that I am, that film music (or cinema in general) is an industry very very underground in these places…. the exchange rate here is not very different, though I would maybe search first in Amazon UK since it’s closer than US.

    Follow me in this line of thought: – This film is more of a thriller than the one before; I’ll confess I never saw Psycho, but I can’t dissociate it from the score; Psycho has only strings in the score which probably says that at first it should not had a big budget for the score – though the composer was extremely innovative; Film scores should be the most innovative (classical, and sometimes other genre) works of music, or at least close of that; – I can´t see innovation of any kind in Captain America Winter Soldier in a classical music point of view, I can´t see anything innovative in a electronic music point of view, I can´t see anything that calls for emotion depth though not innovative (I’m not saying that all should be innovation – only different {a score should have at least 35% more or less of differences between one and another}). The review is right “if you just want it to sound like everything else then just licence some library tracks, save yourself a million bucks by not commissioning an original score”. For example Quentin Tarantino and Stanley Kubrick did amazing jobs in films with almost none original music.
    – So if it isn´t innovative and no one likes it (besides those who said that “fits” the film. really? any score fits the film the way this one fited), why it was made? serves no purpose.

    I’m not saying to composers stop writing music, I’m saying that composers and directors should write appropriate music for the occasion and ambiance, because if not, they could find it elsewhere; Most of people who saw the film liked it, I liked it (don´t die of love for it but..) but I hated the score. Please people! don’t say it fits the films, that encourages composers and directors doing that way. A composer should be free to write something that he chooses in the
    way he likes, but should give some of his embodiment, love and personality, give time, charisma, in sum do a proper piece of art, a piece of work at least.

  22. Nick (Reply) on Wednesday 9 April, 2014 at 11:17

    First of all let me make it clear, that this is coming from a devoted Hans Zimmer fan and one that appreciates former proteges of his, like Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell. I particularly enjoyed Zimmer’s recent score for ‘Rush,’ which is currently one of the most frequently loaded music in my MP3 player everywhere I go.

    I watched ‘…The Winter Soldier’ last night and am now listening to the score – technically for the second time. I have to say, the occasions where Remote Control-produced scores have done absolutely nothing to enhance the experience or at least blend into a movie, are really rare, as bad as they might be as standalone albums. Mr. Jackman somehow managed to achieve precisely that – make the “music” for the second Captain America film sound bearable at best in the movie theatre, while utterly repulsive as a separate experience. That’s beyond generic. There isn’t a single original idea… or any idea… for that matter, throughout.

    I can’t say I had who-knows-what expectations, being mostly unfamiliar with the composer’s previous work, but that’s simply unacceptable.

  23. Reuben Horst (Reply) on Saturday 12 April, 2014 at 03:37

    After watching the film for a second time, I can reconfirm that the score is freaking amazing and possibly one of my favorite movie scores to date. The writer of this review made the awful mistake of listening to the soundtrack before seeing the film. (Who. Would. Do. That.) All I can say is that the soundtrack release must be pretty terrible compared to the film’s actual score to get this many people upset about it (without even seeing the movie).

    Seriously. The soundtrack rocks, even if the official release apparently sucked.

    And yes, for clarification, themes from the first movie were heard a lot in The Winter Soldier. And they were awesome. The music is not going down in quality, at all. As I said before, it was a perfect fit for what the movie was.

  24. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Sunday 13 April, 2014 at 00:02

    It’s a review of a soundtrack ALBUM, Reuben. Whether it works in film is pretty much 100% irrelevant.

  25. James Southall (Reply) on Sunday 13 April, 2014 at 01:05

    “Themes from the first movie were hear a lot in The Winter Soldier.”

    I don’t know if you’ve seen the film Reuben but that isn’t true. Some music from the first movie is tracked in to the opening. Otherwise nothing is heard. Are you sure you didn’t watch the first one again by mistake?

  26. Reuben Horst (Reply) on Sunday 13 April, 2014 at 20:02

    Maybe not “a lot,” but I’m sure I recall multiple instances. I’m just shocked that people can hate this score so much. It was incredible in the movie.

  27. James Southall (Reply) on Sunday 13 April, 2014 at 20:10

    No problem with anyone disagreeing with me. If you loved it, that’s great.

  28. Donny Don (Reply) on Thursday 17 April, 2014 at 04:17

    I’m with Reuban Horst on this. This soundtrack is badass at times, just epic and pulse pounding. I love all kinds of soundtracks and thought that made for awesome intensity with a couple great calm tracks also. I find the need for ‘fun’ in the review a bit odd, I’m not sure what the reviewer means I can say I’m glad the days of silly ‘fun/playful’ tracks playing over action scenes and other moments have mostly passed us. Watching films of yesterday often make me cringe at just how weightless action moments are made by the silly music playing in the background. I love much of this soundtrack.

  29. Ken Loach (Reply) on Thursday 17 April, 2014 at 20:18

    I agree with what everyone says. I don’t agree with pretending something is what it isn’t. You just can’t do that – it’s 2014, not 1973. But I agree with saying the facts and the facts are clear.

    • Rory (Reply) on Tuesday 14 May, 2019 at 11:05

      Holy shit, it’s Ken Loach.

  30. Ken Fan (Reply) on Thursday 17 April, 2014 at 20:52

    Mr. Loach,

    I just wanted to say I’m a huge fan of your work, especially Kes and My Name is Joe.

  31. Ken Loach (Reply) on Thursday 17 April, 2014 at 21:15

    Thanks so much, Mr. Fan. It means so much to hear such kind words from a fellow Ken. There are too few of us about – there were many more in 1973.

  32. Daniel Henderson (Reply) on Thursday 24 April, 2014 at 04:50

    James, I am noticing an increase of the No Stars reviews lately, I get it when you’re reviewing something like Goldeneye or Iron Man (total rubbish) or 300 (willful plagiarism). But this? Yes, it’s not original and it doesn’t have much of personality, but it isn’t absolute garbage. Giving a no star rating to someone that scribbled “Goldenthal” off the sheet music and replaced it with “Bates,” is one thing, but a No Stars rating to a “Paint By Numbers” score?

    It seems a little excessive.

  33. Alonso (Reply) on Tuesday 26 August, 2014 at 19:39

    It looks like Jackman is back for the sequel, unfortunately.

  34. Zdoink Bvasco (Reply) on Friday 28 November, 2014 at 18:47

    @Alonso: There’s a sliver of hope that maybe the nex time he won’t sell out to studio execs who think “this picture needs a Hans Zimmer score, but we can’t pay HZ, so YOU, Jackman, will write us a Hans Zimmer score!”

  35. na na NA NA na na BATMAN (Reply) on Saturday 3 January, 2015 at 23:44

    Re-reading this interview, a line from it caught my attention in context to the whole interview: IS Jackman a good composer?

    Jerry Goldsmith was a good composer. James Horner is a good composer. Bernard Herrmann was a good composer. Even in their worst efforts, were still good scores of some quality or another. For Horner’s “Jade”, the rumor is is purposefully wrote a bad score for the film; if that’s a BAD score, then what the hell is The Winter Soldier? Can a GOOD composer write The Winter Soldier? I don’t think so when continuing to look back at other good composers.

  36. Paul (Reply) on Wednesday 29 April, 2015 at 13:46

    I’m quite surprised by your review. I thought this was excellent. It is easily the most recognisable sound of any Marvel Cinematic Universe score (together with the Avengers). The music really fits the style of the movie.

  37. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Thursday 30 April, 2015 at 08:57

    Yeah, you’re right, Paul! So refreshing and unique to hear a score use the HORN OF DOOM in this day and age!

  38. Pepper Skyberry (Reply) on Thursday 30 April, 2015 at 14:52

    Personally, I can’t enjoy a score that doesn’t feature at forty five horns of doom. I was just listening to a few of my favorite scores the other day, stuff like Legends of the Fall and The Prince of Egypt, and I remember thinking to myself, “yeah, these are nice. But they’re no ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier.’ What they really could use is an obnoxious distorted horn synth echoing throughout the mix to really highlight the ambitions and complexities of the major characters.” Maybe they’ll release expanded versions of those soundtracks some day, because I can’t believe that neither composer used at least ONE horn of doom in the process of writing them! *Sigh* Nothing can save Horner at this point. At least Zimmer finally came around to appreciating the intricacies of using the almighty horn of doom!

  39. Pepper Skyberry (Reply) on Thursday 30 April, 2015 at 14:53

    Personally, I can’t enjoy a score that doesn’t feature at least forty five horns of doom. I was just listening to a few of my favorite scores the other day, stuff like Legends of the Fall and The Prince of Egypt, and I remember thinking to myself, “yeah, these are nice. But they’re no ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier.’ What they really could use is an obnoxious distorted horn synth echoing throughout the mix to really highlight the ambitions and complexities of the major characters.” Maybe they’ll release expanded versions of those soundtracks some day, because I can’t believe that neither composer used at least ONE horn of doom in the process of writing them! *Sigh* Nothing can save Horner at this point. At least Zimmer finally came around to appreciating the intricacies of using the almighty horn of doom!

  40. Mikal (Reply) on Sunday 3 May, 2015 at 18:41

    Right on, Paul! Don’t be dissuaded from having a positive, independent opinion regarding Jackman’s score, based on subsequent derisive replies.

  41. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Sunday 3 May, 2015 at 23:26

    I have no issues with him liking the score, but I find his claim that it has a “recognizable sound” given its very heavy reliance on MV tropes to be rather questionable.

    • Mikal (Reply) on Monday 4 May, 2015 at 01:25

      Yeah, I suppose he should’ve stuck an “in my opinion” somewhere in there to shield himself. 😛 Maybe he was referring more to the Winter Soldier theme itself? Say what you want about its quality or appropriateness, but I’d challenge anyone to listen to that eponymous track and not recognize it thereafter.

      However, if not, I’d aver that a score can take a page or three from the Remote Control handbook and still be recognizable as a whole by the general populace, e.g., Transformers. Yet, negating that sort of macro-recognition, it’s nevertheless, ultimately, dependent on the individual; for example, I find the entirety of The Dark Knight to be recognizable, whereas many don’t. So, I guess what I’m saying is, though you may disagree with Paul’s characterization of The Winter Soldier as recognizable, it doesn’t mean his assessment is any less legitimate.

  42. Pepper Skyberry (Reply) on Tuesday 5 May, 2015 at 15:33

    I was more or less just being a butt :p

    I like a whole lot of music that would probably get me permanently expelled from this website for admitting.

  43. Mikal (Reply) on Thursday 7 May, 2015 at 13:48

    Yeah, I knew you were being sardonic, but I just get annoyed when people rehash the same criticisms of a composer, score, and/or style – in truth, I think I’ve seen more instances of people railing against the so-called Horn of Doom than I’ve actually heard it in scores (and that includes multiple repeat listens of works like ‘Inception’ and ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’).

    See, there are obvious flippant overtones to that statement, but there is undeniable truth to it – I long for the day we can move beyond categorizing certain music as being a “guilty” pleasure, and instead confidently proclaim it as just a pleasure.

  44. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Friday 8 May, 2015 at 18:14

    I should probably point out that my dislike of the Winter Soldier score doesn’t really have much to do with the fact that it’s derivative (that was more in response to Paul’s statement) and has everything to do with the fact that, with the exception of maybe 10-15 minutes of decent stuff, I find it very boring at best and containing some truly excruciating passages at worst. I take very little pleasure from it, guilty or otherwise. The horn of doom I simply find to be an obnoxious, unintelligent device in most cases – even in Inception, back when it was still “original”.

  45. tiago (Reply) on Saturday 9 May, 2015 at 06:08

    Marvel had just confirmed the cast for Civil War, which will include Cap (obvious), Iron Man, Black Widow, The Winter Soldier, Falcon, The Vision, Hawkeye, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Agent 13, Crossbones, General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross and Martin Freeman and Daniel Bruhl on non-confirmed roles.

    I’m just saying that because (no, Marvel Studios is not paying me for advertising – although that would be nice) it will be really funny to see how Jackman will try to put all those characters together musically. Will he bring back Silvestri Captain America theme, Tyler’s Iron Man and Vision themes, Christophe Beck’s Ant Man theme (assuming that he is composing a theme for that movie), maybe something from Armstrong’s score for The Incredible Hulk, or Silvestri’s/Elfman’s Avengers theme? I mean, he didn’t even quote Cap’s theme on TWS, but maybe this time he has learnt his lesson.

    The worst part is that Winter Soldier will be returning, so we’ll be listening to his horrific theme once again. My head just starts to hurt just to think about that.

    And I will be saying the same thing until the premiere of the movie, and maybe even further: a movie this big as Civil War (and it’s looking that it will be bigger than even the two Avengers films) certainly needs a better composer.

  46. Mikal (Reply) on Sunday 10 May, 2015 at 11:17

    @Edmund_All of that is fair, but…how is it unintelligent? It can’t be the dynamics, because you can probably already guess what my retort will be – hint: it rhymes with trowel. 😛 Is it the limited number of bass notes that are typically utilized and/or are they sustained too long?

    @tiago_Three things:

    1. What does it matter if he didn’t quote Silvestri’s theme? It ended up being tracked into the film, anyway. Furthermore, the idea he *did* conceive for Cap actually isn’t too far removed from the aforementioned composer’s, in a tonal sense.
    2. If you were familiar with the Winter Soldier’s history and the evolution of the character, you’d understand why his theme might NOT return and Jackman might opt for something more tragic.
    3. Jackman is plenty capable of delivering a great score; to doubt his capabilities as a composer suggests you’re ignorant of his prior and subsequent work.

  47. Pepper Skyberry (Reply) on Sunday 10 May, 2015 at 16:33

    I personally don’t think it’s unintelligent as much as it is uninspired. A lot of it sounds like trailer music, and not even Two Steps From Hell or Thomas Bergersen trailer music (both of which have put out phenomenal albums by the way if you’re into that general sound–check out “Sun” and “Illusions”). My biggest peeve is that I know Jackman can do better. We heard so much originality in Wreck-It Ralph and Big Hero 6. Hell, even Puss in Boots was fun and inventive, and it’s a parody score!

    Then again, it looks like maybe I love animation scores too much to effectively judge this kind of thing :p

  48. tiago (Reply) on Sunday 10 May, 2015 at 18:07

    Let’s go:

    1- Yes, Silvestri’s theme does appear on TWS – more precisely, once, on the very first scene of the movie, when Cap is jogging with Falcon. But that’s not a Jackman composition. Forgive me if I didn’t work on the scoring sessions of the film, so I can’t tell you with 100% precision, but I think this cue was just removed from the first Cap movie’s score. As for Jackman, he didn’t quote anywhere Silvestri’s theme on his own score (and, if he did, I would you like me to show exactly on what point) – and, for people like me, James and probably Edmund, that’s a sad thing, because Marvel movies didn’t had any musical consistency until Silvestri came on board. Imagine for a moment if Ken Thorne didn’t bring back not a single note from Superman score (the 1978 classic, in case you don’t know) for Superman II and III. It would be extremely sad, wouldn’t it? I am one of those old fashioned people who likes strong memorable themes for superhero franchises, ya know?

    And let’s face it: even Brian Tyler quoted Cap’s theme on Thor 2 (on which Chris Evans only appears for less than a minute). Jackman could’ve shown more respect for the growing musical tradition of the MCU.

    2- Oh, thank God! As I said, I’m all for thematic consistency, but, in this case, my ears are very happy with this news, thanks.

    3- My comments on this post might suggest otherwise, but I am not a Henry Jackman hater. Actually, his scores for Puss in Boots, Gulliver’s Travels, Big Hero 6 and The Interview/This is The End are pretty excellent. His masterpiece for me is Wreck-It Ralph, the best score for a recent animated film aside from John Powell’s ones. Heck, I even like his work on X-Men: First Class, whose main theme (track 01, First Class) is much better than everything he did for Captain 2. For me, Jackman is the second best “RC Zimmer padawan”, behind Powell and ahead of people like Jablonsky, the Gregson-Williams brothers, etc.

    That said, my opinion is that he, aside from First Class, is just not very good for those “serious action/drama films”. His works on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, G.I. Joe 2 and now Captain America 2 are mediocre at best. So, that’s why I think he is not the best person to score Civil War (if I were Kevin Feige or the Russos, my personal choice would be Giacchino, Arnold, or even Silvestri himself).And there’s also the fact that Civil War will be a much more complex movie than TWS, with a lot of new characters, most of them with his own personal themes (from the new ones, I’m wondering if he will do any themes for Black Panther and, maybe, Spider-Man).

    So, I guess Civil War will be the final test for Jackman and all the RC-based
    composers. He now have two choices: either he will bring back all the themes for the previous movies and do a strong, thematic score, with a clear individual mark, or he will do again another generic Bourne/Inception/The Dark Knight rip-off.

  49. Mikal (Reply) on Friday 15 May, 2015 at 19:20

    @Pepper_Uninspired? Maybe…in terms of composers feeling obligated to include it – either because of a (possibly subconscious) personal compulsion or due to pressure from filmmakers and/or studio execs. Regardless, it rarely comprises enough of a score’s totality to influence my opinion of the work, as a whole.

    With respect to Jackman and the scores you mentioned, of course, his approach to animated children’s films is going to be a *bit* different – the target audience, tone, etc., of movies belonging to that genre are inherently distinctly categorical. Now, that doesn’t mean Winter Soldier couldn’t have been more traditionally orchestral, with a de-emphasized role for synthetic accompaniment or enhancement, but it does leave room to experiment and alter the soundscape. So, I’m guessing you generally simply prefer “brighter,” more organic film scores – genre notwithstanding. 😛

    And thanks for the recommendations, but I’m more than familiar with both 2SFH/Bergersen – been digging on them since ’09, when I first heard “Freedom Fighters” in a trailer for the Star Trek reboot. 🙂

  50. Mikal (Reply) on Friday 15 May, 2015 at 21:40

    @tiago_Indeed, that cue wasn’t a Jackman composition (to my knowledge), nor did he cite Silvestri’s Cap theme anywhere within his own score (at least, on album). Now, admittedly, I take more of a maverick position when it comes to thematic consistency – despite the property involved, if a new composer is brought onto a franchise, I think they should be given carte blanche to start fresh, if they want/are able; sometimes, I even prefer it. So, yeah, not a stickler for composers adhering to a preestablished musical continuity.

    There is no shortage of Jackman haters in the film score community, so forgive my assumption. It’s funny you singled out ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ as his magnum opus heretofore, as it’s also my favorite score of his, and I actually put it *above* the ‘HtTYD’ scores, though I realize that admission puts me in a previously nonexistent minority. 😛 And I mostly agree with your division of his career as a barometer for which of his works tend to be more enjoyable, though I probably discern more redemptive material in his actioners/thrillers than others. For example, in ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,’ I consider the theme that graces “Childhood Tragedy” and “Mary Todd” to contain one of the most gorgeous melodies Jackman has ever written.

    In sum, I think the majority of people would deem more of his work competent to good than outright bad, so the detractors should cut him some slack, just based on that summation of his oeuvre to date. However he decides to address ‘Civil War’ will be interesting, though I feel like he’s in a bit of a catch-22 – there are those predisposed to devalue anything he writes solely for not using/adapting preexisting themes, and then, even if he does, some will undoubtedly decry it was done unsatisfactorily; case in point, look at the mixed reception to ‘Age of Ultron’: not enough Iron Man, not enough Thor! Whatever he comes up with, though, I’m sure I’ll find something to like.

  51. Music Composer (Reply) on Monday 15 March, 2021 at 10:56

    whoever wrote this review, must first and foremost understand, that a soundtrack isn’t a song. It is a sound that accompanies a visual footage. And it need not be attractive or unpleasant to the ear ( that is not the prime objective). IT SHOULD DO JUSTICE TO THE PICTURE YOU SEE ON SCREEN AND THE EMOTION IT CONVEYS!
    On that note, Henry has done a fabulous job, given his experience and the sounds he has used. Mr. the one who is showering hatred on Henry, you put a 100 piece orchestra for a theme that is futuristic and at the same time dark and urban, you cannot do justice to the picture. And, there is no written rule, that electronics shouldn’t be used for film scores. When it comes to a score, SOUND matters more than what produces the sound. Because people hear the sound, they don’t care about what produces the sound.
    Also for your note on Zimmer. If you really feel the way you feel about Hans Zimmer’s music, then my friend, you do not have an ear that perceives music as it is. Every sound is a resemblance of music, even if it is a noise or a melody. So, with all due respect to Sir John Williams, you cannot compare two people with different approaches towards music, if you say that Sir John Williams has composed only with an orchestra for a futuristic film like Star Wars, then maybe you felt it connected to the film or it felt enjoyable to you, But in my view, I may have felt that it isn’t syncing with the movie at all… you are speaking of putting a huge brass section in a place with people that does not know what a brass section is. Context does matter.

    In simple words, Music is highly perceptive, what you may like may not be liked by others. So, in the name of critique or reviewing, please do not influence hatred to people, We do not need that in this world. All the artists, when they work on something, they aim for harmony. It is because of people like you, that there is so much negativity.

    Hope you realize how low your thought was and Good luck for better reviewing and listening in the first place!

  52. marie (Reply) on Wednesday 10 November, 2021 at 17:13

    Weird – this is one of my favorite Marvel soundtracks, but it’s also by far my favorite Marvel movie. The Winter Soldier theme is the most memorable character motif by far – eerie, haunting, sad, but terrifying. Lemurian Star, Taking a Stand, End of the Line – all work perfectly in the movie and I enjoy them on their own as well. Curious how you feel after having seen the movie, a soundtrack’s purpose is to serve the film, less important to stand on it’s own outside of it.

  53. David (Reply) on Sunday 3 December, 2023 at 15:30

    Yeah, it’s pretty funny. I just found this article after having watched Winter Soldier for easily the 7th or 10th time, and doing an internet search for “Winter Soldier soundtrack is awesome”. Whole lotta bad batch crack being smoked, it looks like.