- Composed by John Debney
- Sony Classical 88697 74654 2 / 2010 / 72:26
A couple of years ago I wrote a rather damning review of Ramin Djawadi’s “music” for Iron Man, one of the most unimaginative and downright poor scores I’d ever heard for a major film. It was reported at the time that director Jon Favreau had wanted his usual composer John Debney to handle the film, but the studio wouldn’t let him; for the sequel, Favreau had enough clout to get his own way and so there was much rejoicing that it would be Debney and not Djawadi handling the scoring duties. It is rather surprising to report that the composer seems to have taken as the basis for his score the very model used for the first film – electric guitars and drum kits abound. There’s a lot more orchestra to go with them, but that does end up making this sound like a slightly more orchestral (and more melodic) version of the first score rather than a really fresh route for the series’ music.
After a promising, Danny Elfman-like opening (Spiderman without the theme), Debney goes back to Hans Zimmer territory for the second cue, using the guitar riff from the second Pirates of the Caribbean score. And the score develops into something rather entertaining, really – the same ideas as the first score, but written by a composer far more capable of turning that into an interesting sound. Debney himself has done something similar before (for The Scorpion King). What the score lacks is something which I would have thought should be an automatic inclusion in any of these superhero films – a strong theme. It’s hard to discern any kind of theme at all for Robert Downey Jr’s character, which is a shame (Debney is more than capable of providing one). Given the film’s extremely strong showing at the box office, one assumes that a third installment will be around the corner before long – let’s hope that whoever gets to write the music finally gets to give this character a distinctive musical identity of his own. ***