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The Amazing Spider-Man 2
  • Composed by Hans Zimmer
  • Columbia / 2014 / 115m

Marc Webb was a slightly surprising choice to make The Amazing Spider-Man, an indie director with a solitary “hit” to his name, but he delivered a solid comic book caper that for me at least was the most satisfying film so far featuring that character, fresh and light and remembering its primary purpose was as a piece of entertainment.  An even bigger surprise was the choice of composer, James Horner – finally a move away from the relentless doom and gloom that has blighted most films of its kind over the last decade and a reminder of what a good film score can actually do for a film like that, with genuine emotion and an actual, no-holds-barred brilliant theme for the title character.

Given that, it was a big disappointment to learn that Horner wouldn’t be returning for the sequel; with him not coming back, duties passed – with a certain inevitability – to the ubiquitous Hans Zimmer, adding Spider-Man to Batman and Superman in his collection.  I don’t know the circumstances here – perhaps Horner was asked but didn’t want to do it; perhaps actually Zimmer had been the first choice to score the first film but was unable or unwilling for some reason to do it.  In any case, one thing was certain – this would be a very different Spider-Man score, with Zimmer never likely to go anywhere near the symphonic elegance of Horner’s wonderful work (which in hindsight is easily the most impressive score for any film with the Marvel logo at the start).

Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer

With his extraordinary dominance of blockbuster film music, it’s easy to see why this composer is so controversial.  I’m not talking about his own scores – but all the pale imitators.  Except to the extent that some of those pale imitators work at Zimmer’s own studio, he is of course not the man to blame there – if he is so successful that all those filmmakers want music that sounds like his, and all those composers (though many of them seem hardly worth of the name) want to write music that sounds like his, then what is he to do about it?  It does present him with a bit of a problem though – for example, since Inception‘s HORN OF DOOM was first heard in 2010, it has been heard in twenty five thousand other film scores (trust me, I’ve counted them) and has reached the point where it sounds clichéd and ridiculous.  So now if he uses this device he came up with, it sounds to the world like he’s copying everyone else – and so he periodically needs to reinvent himself.  While at times there seems to be a big disconnect between things he says in interviews and the aural proof that ends up on the soundtrack – Man of Steel was going to sound like no music that had ever been heard before, as I recall; as I also recall, it sounded like a pretty dull retreat of an awful lot of other things – there is no denying that Hans Zimmer has genuinely changed direction on numerous occasions through his career (and that many of these changes in direction have changed everyone else’s direction too – not just the HORN OF DOOM, think back to all the wailing women after Gladiator, all the action music after Batman Begins; his influence is remarkable).

And so that leads us to The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  With a trilogy of Batman scores and then a Superman one behind him – none of which I particularly liked – I approached this with some trepidation.  These things are meant to be fun, meant to be pieces of entertainment; I feared we’d be hearing more relentlessly oppressive sturm und drang, the notion of Spider-Man having an heroic theme would be consigned to history, and so on.  (I expected to ask… why so serious?)  Instead, Zimmer and his collaborators (the album is credited to “Hans Zimmer and the Magnificent Six”, the latter being Pharrell Williams, Johnny Marr, Tom Holkenborg, Mike Einzinger, Andrew Kawczynski and Steve Mazzaro) have gone in a completely different direction – not just to James Horner, which was inevitable, but also to where Zimmer has gone before.  This one has for some reason been blessedly free from pre-release hype, but if the composer had said this time that he was taking film music in a new direction, the music is the proof that he could actually have had a case.  (And it’s an interesting little commentary on how film music has changed that Pharrell Williams and Johnny Marr could be said to be to Hans Zimmer, the film composer currently on top of the tree, what Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma were to John Williams, his predecessor, a few years ago.)  I’ve sometimes loved his music and sometimes hated it, but one thing I do admire about this composer is his willingness to try new things; and this is a completely different score from those he wrote for his other comic book heroes.  Indeed, one of my disappointments (of many, it has to be said) with Man of Steel was the missed opportunity for some real hero/villain contrast – the homogeneity in sound just didn’t work for me at all.  This time round, the contrast is there and truly pronounced.

I wasn’t sure what to expect and to be honest, the first time listening to the album I feared the worst when I heard the very brief (47-second) “I’m Electro” which opens up the album.  Its very harsh, industrial electronic soundscape suggested an obnoxious journey may lie ahead.  But keep an open mind because there is an awful lot still to be revealed.  In “There He Is”, a very clean electric guitar solo accompanies an ingenious crawling noise, evoking of course a spider; and then the theme for the man himself bursts forth in “I’m Spider-Man” (after one of the album’s only mis-steps, some sound effects street noise which really shouldn’t be there).  An heroic, major-key theme for an heroic, major-key character, it’s clearly modelled on Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” but it works a treat.  Interestingly, there’s an almost startling clarity to the recording of the orchestral element which is quite unlike Zimmer – I suspect again it’s all about the contrast, the squeaky-clean hero against the dirty industrial villain.

Speaking of the villain, the extended “My Enemy” is an extraordinary piece of what can only be described as baroque dubstep, a sometimes-bizarre and almost outrageously bold combination of pretty hard-core electronica with Purcell-like elegant classicism.  A whispered vocal is used to represent the inner turmoil of the Electro character; literally the voices in his head.  At times through the track Spider-Man’s theme briefly bursts forth (the contrast again), but it’s all about Electro.  I know that some people will be repulsed, particularly by the dubstep; but I’m impressed first of all by the idea, then even moreso by the execution.  How on earth did Zimmer pull this off and make it work?  Yet work is exactly what it does – and then some.  Its manic and maniacal representation of Electro is a brilliant invention, not one that will be enjoyed by everyone but the creativity should certainly be admired.

“Ground Rules” presents a gentle piano version of Spider-Man’s theme before, in “Look at Me”, the Electro material is explored further, with a frantic driving bassline driving the piece forward and a notable array of woodwinds (not a part of the orchestra one often associates with this composer) before a powerful onslaught of electronica.  The well-produced album takes a bit of a breather for a moment at the start of “Special Project”, which conjures an eerie calm – a calm which is quite clearly before astorm, a storm which gathers pace through a brilliant passage for keyboards.  “You Need Me” introduces the most traditional (and therefore in some ways most surprising!) feature of the score, a romantic piano theme.  James Horner went heavy in that direction in the first score (brilliantly helping create an emotional impact from the film) and I didn’t expect Zimmer to go anywhere near there – but actually it’s a lovely theme, even lovelier when taken up by electric guitar.  It’s contemporary and apart from the piano, musically a long way from what Horner did; but the effect is similar.  There’s a human touch there – a connection from the audience to the characters – it’s just lovely.

Winds are back in “So Much Anger”, oboe and bassoon fluttering about before the Spider-Man theme gets another airing.  The score’s going through a more low-key sequence, with the love theme coming back in “I’m Moving to England” – and that’s no bad thing.  When these things are a constant onslaught of noise, the impact is gone; by contrasting that side with a far gentler side, the impact is so much greater.  “I’m Goblin” centres on a kind of slow wailing siren, unnerving electronics continually piling more tension into the atmosphere until it’s all resolved in a frantic and frenetic piece of action music featuring some dazzling string writing.  “Let Her Go” presents a mutated version of the love theme for manipulated piano, before it is heard in its more traditional form – with a slightly tragic twinge to it – in “You’re My Boy”.  “I Need to Know” introduces itself with a different kind of beauty, keyboards and strings combining brilliantly before Spider-Man’s theme takes over in arresting fashion; it reminds me a little of “Starwaves” from last year’s impressive Oblivion.

“Sum Total” sees the fairly peaceful ambience interrupted first by a more abrasive electronic sound before more action bursts forth, darker action this time; then there’s more exploration of the love theme in “I Chose You”, this time the guitar section rather than the piano.  “We’re Best Friends” mostly riffs around the main theme without ever quite getting to it (an attractive string melody emerging instead over the guitars); then, after an extended absence, the Electro theme returns with a vengeance in “Still Crazy”, a heavy rock vibe replacing the baroque this time.  (Some people say – if it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it – but that evidently didn’t apply here.)  The piece ends with an heroic burst of the main theme but then it’s back to raw emotion in “The Rest of My Life”, another lovely, gentle piece as the score nears its conclusion.  That comes in the grand finale “You’re That Spider Guy”, which rocks out for a couple of minutes before one last rousing play of the main theme, drenched with dashing heroism.

The standard edition of the soundtrack features most (though not all) of the cues mentioned above plus various songs; the deluxe edition features the programme reviewed above and then a whole second disc, featuring all the songs (to be honest, the only one of which does anything for me is “Here” by Pharrell Williams), a couple of Zimmer’s trademark lengthy suites ((“The Electro Suite” and “Harry’s Suite”), a couple more score tracks (hardcore action in “Cold War”, a more epic feel in “No Place Like Home”), what’s labelled as a “First Day Jam” and a remix of the Electro theme.

I’ve said before that while sometimes I love what he does and sometimes I hate it, I always admire Hans Zimmer when he tries something genuinely different.  The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is genuinely different.  As regular readers will know, I am a huge fan of James Horner and so was very disappointed that he was not returning, especially since I hadn’t particularly enjoyed Zimmer’s music for Batman and had thoroughly disliked his Superman.  I am therefore truly surprised by how impressive his Spider-Man music is.  I have no doubt that it will prove as polarising as ever; some people simply won’t like some of the stylistic choices, others will struggle with the contrast with Horner’s blisteringly good score for the previous film.  Some will love it, some will hate it.  I love it – the first disc provides an hour of music that features some of the composer’s most creative writing in a number of years and works brilliantly as a listening experience, that contrast between the (somewhat) traditional approach for Spider-Man and the brutally modern approach for Electro proving truly compelling.  There’s an excellent dramatic architecture, real musical storytelling if you will.  If you’d said to me while I was first listening to The Amazing Spider-Man back in 2012 (and writing about how much I hoped it might mark a return to a more traditional approach in general to these films) that two years later the sequel would come out and be scored by Hans Zimmer with dubstep, I’d probably have punched you in the face (well, if I weren’t the world’s most mild-mannered individual, anyway).  I guess others will feel the same way.  But open your mind to it: it’s dazzling stuff.

Rating: **** | |

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  1. Chris Avis (Reply) on Sunday 13 April, 2014 at 02:35

    “And it’s an interesting little commentary on how film music has changed that Pharrell Williams and Johnny Marr could be said to be to Hans Zimmer, the film composer currently on top of the tree, what Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma were to John Williams, his predecessor, a few years ago.”

    This comment is spot on and I sadly completely agree with you on it. What I totally disagree with is your ranking of this album anywhere near the level of Schindler’s List, Seven Years in Tibet or Memoirs of a Geisha, all phenomenal collaborations between Williams and these artists.

    To be honest with you James, while I very strongly agree with your rankings of older (say pre-2000) score, I have a very hard time figuring out whether I’ll enjoy a contemporary score based on your rating scheme… I would rank even a good effort by Zimmer these days (say, The Lone Ranger) well below even just a mediocre score by Barry, Goldsmith, Bernstein or the like. Do you intend your star ratings reflect your opinion of how an album ranks objectively compared with all eras of film music, or compared to the rest of contemporary scores?

    Anyways, while I totally disagree with your opinion on this score, I do always enjoy your reviews and appreciate the effort you put into them.


  2. Bright Chen (Reply) on Sunday 13 April, 2014 at 03:14

    I admit…The verdict was the surprise of the decade from Southall for this score. A FOUR??!! The Electro stuff I was so sure to be to be hammered to bits here like Man of Steel (Which I LOVED and defended to bits) The electronic elements are simply too harsh for my taste though. In fact, the most amount of electronic and rock guitar I can take is the amount in Man of Steel and James Newton Howard’s Treasure Planet score.

  3. Mikal (Reply) on Sunday 13 April, 2014 at 03:33

    I’d wager Southall’s rankings reflect where he thinks a score stands in comparison to other works written by the same composer, though I’ve certainly been wrong about such things before.

  4. Christian K (Reply) on Sunday 13 April, 2014 at 05:42

    >>if it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it <<

    James, should we ever meet again, I'll buy you food, drink and dessert for that line alone. And flowers for Kerry.

    Brilliant! 😀

  5. Ben (Reply) on Sunday 13 April, 2014 at 06:12

    A Joke? Come on, what’s the difference between “MOS” and this on? Both boring, indifferend, uninspired, lacking any sense of musical structure. A sometimes unlogical review comparison to other of your HZ reviews.

  6. James Southall (Reply) on Sunday 13 April, 2014 at 12:13

    On star ratings… there’s no science, just a gut instinct. It’s bound to be subconsciously informed by various contextual things – the composer’s own output, other people’s output at the same time. It’s the words that matter more.

    I recently reviewed the expansions of Psycho II and The Sum of All Fears and was very surprised by my original ratings for them, 10-15 years ago (3.5 and 3 stars respectively). I guess times change.

  7. James Southall (Reply) on Sunday 13 April, 2014 at 12:14

    Christian – I will take you up on that offer!

  8. Pawel Stroinski (Reply) on Sunday 13 April, 2014 at 12:14

    A great in-depth review, I expect to be one of the best, if not the best, when the reviews will finally crop up for this one.

    I appreciate it that you treat Zimmer scores, even those you don’t like, with a lot of dilligence to explain many points, often valid ones.

  9. orion_mk3 (Reply) on Monday 14 April, 2014 at 16:59

    Your endorsement will certainly lead to me giving this a listen! I think the film looks awful, but then again I thought the first one was awful too and it inspired a wonderful score.

  10. Matt (Reply) on Monday 14 April, 2014 at 17:03

    I’ve listened to this through twice and I think it’s just average. It’s nowhere near as good as Brian Tyler’s contribution to Iron Man 3 or Thor 2. I appreciate Zimmer for trying something out of the box, but anymore I don’t think of him as a composer anymore, but rather a producer and a sound designer. Lone Ranger was probably the closet he’s come to the former sound of his past scores, but that was primarily because of Geoff Zanelli’s contributions. Is this better than Man Of Steel? I think so, but it’s still not great. I have yet to see the film so it will be interesting to see how it compliments the movie. After seeing Captain America 2 over the weekend, I actually think Jackman’s score worked great in the film, it was just poorly represented on the album.

  11. dominique (Reply) on Monday 14 April, 2014 at 19:06

    thank you for your comment, matt, that´s how i exactly fell about zimmer and his recent work!

  12. spielboy (Reply) on Monday 14 April, 2014 at 19:54

    You dont say anything about Harry’s theme? (“Harry’s suite”)… Nothing outstanding but, at first listen, my preferred moment from an overall average, noisy and chip-sounding Zimmer’s score.

  13. Jens (Reply) on Monday 14 April, 2014 at 20:53

    To my ears the dubstep and whispered vocals are unintentionally funny and make this score sound instantly dated. From the very first track, it made me feel like I was listening to a Droid commercial, and I couldn’t help but imagine a slickly photographed smart phone rotating in front of a black backdrop. Dubstep has been overused so much for so long, it has become a punchline to me.

  14. Mikal (Reply) on Tuesday 15 April, 2014 at 16:56

    Jens – “So long” being less than a decade, give or take? It’s really only become a prominent subgenre of EDM over the past several years, not long in terms of development of a style of music. Also, it always strikes me as weird when people say music sounds “dated.” What does that even mean? If you’re characterizing it in a more objective sense, i.e., that music is rooted within the historical context during which it was introduced, that’s naturally going to be the case with ANY style, although I suspect you mean it as a criticism, i.e., it sounds old. BTW, classical music first became prominent in Europe *centuries* ago…

  15. Jens (Reply) on Tuesday 15 April, 2014 at 18:40

    Mikal – It has less to do with how long dubstep as a musical form has been around (since the ‘90s, actually), and more with how utterly overplayed it has been for the last 5 years. It hit critical mass between 2012 and ’13, when one couldn’t watch a tech commercial or video game trailer without hearing sick drops of some kind. Eventually wub wubs were so ubiquitous, folks got sick of them and the fad died down. It became difficult to tell parodies from the real thing.

    To me, dubstep is not comparable to classical (or any sub-genre of the super-broad classical). Some musical styles are timeless while others are of a particular time and place. When I hear disco music or New Wave of British Heavy Metal, for instance, I think of the late ‘70s. When I hear dubstep, I think of crass commercialism a couple of years ago.

    Please note, this is only my personal reaction to an aspect score. That’s why in my previous post, I kept saying “To my ears…” and “To me…”

  16. Christian K (Reply) on Tuesday 15 April, 2014 at 23:27

    I often wonder when/why/how it had become necessary to pre- or postface everything with “To my ears”, “…., IMHO”. Whose effin’ opinion would it be? The Pope’s? 😐

  17. James Southall (Reply) on Tuesday 15 April, 2014 at 23:29

    Henry Kissinger’s?

  18. Michael Dukakis (Reply) on Tuesday 15 April, 2014 at 23:31

    Kissinger can screw himself.

  19. Henry Kissinger (Reply) on Tuesday 15 April, 2014 at 23:32

    Nixon wouldn’t have allowed this crap.

  20. Jens (Reply) on Wednesday 16 April, 2014 at 00:19

    Christian, I was sharing a knee-jerk reaction (namely, that the thing everyone thinks is soooooooo innovative about TASM2 is already played out), and wanted it to be clear it wasn’t any more than that.

    I mean, just because I’d die happy if I never heard another dubstep song ever again for the rest of my life doesn’t mean I think TASM2 is a bad score. It’s just very much not for me, and I’m a bit surprised to be an outlier.

  21. Mikal (Reply) on Wednesday 16 April, 2014 at 01:53

    Jens – I’m aware that it’s been around longer. I said that it’s only really become PROMINENT in recent years. I choose my words very deliberately, so do try to pay attention, Jens. 🙂

    I will agree that it seems to have saturated the market, but that’s unsurprisingly. Such is the case with any newly popular trend. It’s just a part of life, so I suppose its ubiquity, in and of itself, doesn’t bother me. It’ll die down, eventually.

    Regarding the timelessness of genres, I guess it just comes down to the listener. I just meant that there’s no innate quality in a style of music itself that anchors it in a temporal sense, more than any another…if you understand what I’m getting at. We ascribe properties to it.

    Back to dubstep…another reason why the harsh, in-your-face nature of the music may not bother me, is I haven’t really listened to a lot of it, in an independent sort of way. Most of what I’ve heard comes from snippets of songs that are featured mainly in commercials and advertisements and things; it’s probable that, since I’m constantly bombarded with dubstep, albeit in soundbite format, I don’t really have an interest in exploring it away from that, as a distinct genre. Instead, I prefer when it’s mixed into other genres. For example, I love how Muse incorporated dubstep into their most recent album, The 2nd Law. Furthermore, I haven’t yet heard TASM2 (I want to hear it fresh, within the context of the film), but I can see why people think it’s innovative. I mean, have we heard dubstep blended with orchestral music within a film score before?

    And, although it wasn’t necessary for you to explicitly point out that various statements were your opinion, I’m appreciative that you did. It’s not always clear, and sometimes opinions can come across as objective or fact-based statements, so it’s always helpful if there’s clarification (that’s aimed at you, CK :-P).

  22. Christian K (Reply) on Wednesday 16 April, 2014 at 16:05

    Henry Kissinger is from the wrong part of Bavaria and also not Catholic, so what does he know?

  23. Jen (Reply) on Saturday 26 April, 2014 at 20:44

    What do you guys think of The Neighbourhood’s song “Honest” on the soundtrack? That’s the only song I really love.

  24. Matt (Reply) on Monday 5 May, 2014 at 22:46

    I saw this movie over the weekend and have to admit, I was surprised how well the score worked. I still miss Horner’s contributions and would have loved to see that continued in the series, but Zimmer did a much better job on this than Man of Steel. (Granted, Spidey was a much better movie too). I agree with Jen that the dubstep will probably date the film, but I appreciate the different take that Zimmer took with the score and like it or not, it’s definitely memorable.

  25. Kalman (Reply) on Friday 9 May, 2014 at 08:40

    I had no problem with the score as heard in the movie. However, as a standalone listening experience,well…let’s just say that I think it’s Zimmer’s weakest score in years.

    There are some short musical moments that stand out but they stand out because they wear a close resemblance to The Dark Knight or Man of Steel. But all those techno/dubstep/hardrock elements – they are a chore to listen to, they are absolutely annoying.

    I hope that more listens will reveal something more to like (I like to be optimistic) but right now i could only give it a maximum of 3 stars – for tracks like the lengthy Harry’s Suite or You’re that Sider Guy and the rythmic Electro theme.

    Say whatever you want about Man of Steel, for me that was a much better score, one that quickly became a personal favourite of mine from Zimmer.

  26. Chris (Reply) on Sunday 11 May, 2014 at 12:32

    Webb dropped Horner in favor of Zimmer, because he wanted a different, “more modern” approach on Electro. I don’t have the source right now.

  27. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Sunday 11 May, 2014 at 13:18

    I’ve heard that Horner point-blank refused to score the sequel and indeed had to be dragged kicking and screaming to score the first one. Then again, I’ve also heard that Webb wanted Zimmer from the beginning but couldn’t get him because of his commitment to The Dark Knight Rises. So I’m really confused all around. :p

  28. Pawel Stroinski (Reply) on Sunday 11 May, 2014 at 13:25

    Both are probable. Hans refused, so Webb went to his old friend (Horner said he agreed to do the first one on the power of his friendship with the director only). I don’t think Horner was even asked for part 2 after in an interview he stated that generally he hates comic book adaptations.

  29. Elfenthalsmith (Reply) on Sunday 11 May, 2014 at 16:29

    Mikal – I’m sorry I’m late to this discussion, and you may actually never come across this comment, but just in case, I’ve got to say I disagree with your statement that music cannot be objectively dated. Yes of course it can. Quite simply a kind of music is dated when it proliferated at a certain time, then stopped proliferating. Disco is dated because at a certain time it was all the rage, then it stopped being all the rage. It’s like fasion, actually it’s fashion applied to music.
    Classical music, while ‘datable’ doesn’t sound dated because it never ceased proliferating, it changed through gradual evolution.

  30. Elfenthalsmith (Reply) on Sunday 11 May, 2014 at 16:32

    Now I agree the phrase “instantly dated” is a bit of an aporia, but it does help expressing the idea that some kinds of music don’t sound like they’ll last (not applying that to TASM 2, I haven’t heard it yet).

  31. Brendan Cochran (Reply) on Tuesday 13 May, 2014 at 01:19

    UGH I can’t even believe Chris Clemmenson’s review. I’m certainly glad that you acknowledge when Zimmer does good work and give him a fair chance. Clemmenson’s review just kept bashing him over and over and over again. I’m glad you have an open mind, it makes me respect you so much more as a reviewer. Please don’t close it! You write excellent reviews!

  32. Mikal (Reply) on Tuesday 13 May, 2014 at 20:13

    Hugo – I *just* happened to see your comment. 😛 (I told myself that I wouldn’t read Southall’s in-depth review until the semester ended and I had a chance to analytically listen to ASM2 several times; having just finished perusing it, I stumbled upon your response.) Point taken. I suppose I agree that a musical style/genre is likely to be considered more “dated” if its ubiquity and influence are relatively short-lived. Still, disco may be making a comeback – it was an element of the wildly popular “Get Lucky” last year. 😉

  33. Elfenthalsmith (Reply) on Tuesday 13 May, 2014 at 22:46

    Oh I found that little Giorgio Moroder revival quite endearing, as Moroder is one my guilty pleasure ^^. SO what did you think of ASM 2 ? I still haven’t listened to it, waiting for the usual Zimmer dust to settle.

  34. Mikal (Reply) on Wednesday 14 May, 2014 at 22:05

    You’re referring to “Giorgio by Moroder,” I take it? That may be my favorite track from the album. And I love the intro, where’s he talking about how music has the potential to be amorphous.

    Anyway, as for ASM2…let me preface this by saying that while Horner is my favorite composer, and I adored his score for the prior film, Zimmer is my second favorite composer, so I wasn’t all that disappointed when the replacement announcement was initially made. Having said that, the sequel score is a bit of a mixed bag for me. As a whole, I like it just *slightly* more than Man of Steel (if the latter is a 3.5, the former is a 3.75, in my estimation). This is probably the first time that Zimmer’s production of a “crossover” score, with its clashing musical styles, has hampered my enjoyment of the work in its totality; arguably, the disparity has never been so pronounced. For me, the switch between orchestral, soft rock, and electronica elements, is often too jarring. Individually, I love them – from the grand trumpet figures to Johnny Marr’s crystalline guitar tones to the dubstep-influenced beats – but, as a composite work, it falls a bit short. Thus – and I have NEVER done this with a score before, because it feels tantamount to desecration – I have created a couple of playlists from ASM2’s cues, one based on Peter Parker’s intimate moments and the other on the Electro material. So, I’ll opt for one of those, if I don’t feel like listening to the entirety of both albums, which I now find is usually the case. Again, I wouldn’t call it a bad score or anything, and I applaud Hans for his ambitious and unconventional approach, but it’s far from being one of my preferred soundtracks by the man.

  35. Mikal (Reply) on Wednesday 14 May, 2014 at 22:11

    1) BTW, the album I referred to in the first paragraph is Random Access Memories, if it wasn’t clear.

    2) And there’s a typo in the third sentence; it should read “where he’s,” not “where’s he.”

    Sometimes, I neglect to proofread. 😛

  36. tiago (Reply) on Saturday 7 June, 2014 at 04:22

    Terrible. This score is just terrible. One of Zimmer’s worst of recent years. There are some good momentes (You’re that Spider-Guy, Harry’s theme), but this is a horrible score. I don’t like this new electronic path that Zimmer is taking on this years.

    I can’t understand why to criticize Man of Steel and praise this one. Zimmer did a much better work on the Zack Snyder film.

  37. Edmund Meinerts (Reply) on Saturday 7 June, 2014 at 17:25

    Because this score is colorful, has a lot of variety and tries some new things with the whole dubstep/woodwinds contrast (though I can kind of understand not liking it); whereas Man of Steel was monochrome and dull and relied on stock pounding percussion as its sole “distinguishing” feature. And a colorful, genre-bending, slightly insane score is a good match for Spider-Man’s character, but a brooding and pounding one for Superman just seems to completely miss the mark.

  38. orion_mk3 (Reply) on Saturday 21 June, 2014 at 23:48

    Well, I finally got around to listening to this one. I’m afraid I can’t agree with you on the rating, James: it certainly tries a lot of things, and sounds rather different than Zimmer’s usual fare, but I found it to be unfocused and often outright cheesy. And, like a lot of Zimmer’s recent “mega collaborations,” it sounded more like a concept album than a proper film score. My full thoughts are here for the curious:

  39. tiago (Reply) on Saturday 5 July, 2014 at 01:00

    Great review, @orion_mk3. I myself wrote one, but, unfortunately, it’s in portuguese. Well, here’s the original link, in case of you guys want to check it out:

  40. ASFan (Reply) on Saturday 18 October, 2014 at 23:41

    I get that you admire that it’s at least different from Zimmer’s previous scores, but just because it’s different doesn’t make it good in my ears. This was by far the worst sounding score I’ve ever heard from Zimmer. Sounds like it belongs more to a video game than a movie, but I suppose it makes sense considering the movie is kind of a video game in nature based on the look of the CGI.

  41. ANDRÉ - CAPE TOWN. (Reply) on Sunday 19 October, 2014 at 12:39

    James, our Multiplex is adorned with Posters advertising the new Sci Fi ‘INTERSTELLAR’ featuring a score by our ZIMMER. Have you received an advance copy? If an affirmative, we’re all looking forward to your review. Thanx.

    • James Southall (Reply) on Sunday 19 October, 2014 at 12:55

      Not yet but I am very much looking forward to it.

  42. Jane Middie (Reply) on Tuesday 18 November, 2014 at 15:52

    Am I the only person on earth who thinks that the soundtrack for amazing spiderman 2 was terrible? This is not different. Different still sounds good. This stuff sounds like the kind of stuff my 3 year old plays on my keyboard when I am not looking.

  43. Vincent (Reply) on Friday 25 August, 2017 at 17:08

    I hate it. And the woodwinds sound electronic as hell.