Spider-Man Soundtrack by Danny Elfman (2002)
Get it: If you like the usual sounds of Danny Elfman or like a stirring, mysterious twist on a classic super-hero soundtrack
Don’t get it: If you are hoping for a strong, powerful, and dynamic score such as that of Alan Silvestri’s The Avengers
Danny Elfman is no stranger to the super-hero type films as he has worked on Spy Kids, Men in Black, Hulk, Mission: Impossible, and Batman to name a few. In 2002, a new take on the Spider-Man franchise was born with Tobey Maguire starring as Spider-Man/Peter Parker and directed by Sam Raimi. This new film needed a new feel and got exactly that with Danny Elfman’s score.
This soundtrack is excellent and fits the film perfectly. It is heavy, mysterious, and usually does not have a clear-cut majestic sound such as that of Alan Silvestri’s The Avengers theme. It is very stirring music which occasionally incorporates hints of playfulness with a bit of a more modern twist. Although not frequently, there are also hints of deep, romantic vibes in it as well. This score pulls the listener in with a wonderful combination of intense action and gripping serenity. There are multiple moments throughout where the listener can seem to understand a character’s reflections and emotions. Sometimes that will be followed by an immediate break into a sudden struggle or battle.
The method Elfman uses to interweave the brass, strings, percussion, and occasional choir forms a quite intriguing sound that is none-the-less beautiful. It is not beautiful in a “conventional” way, such as John Williams’ Sabrina score, but rather in a slightly enchanting manner. This soundtrack contains a classic orchestral sound which has some infusions of modern music in it to bring the proper feel to the movie. The main theme is reused throughout the entire soundtrack with little escape, so you must like it in order to fully appreciate the rest of the soundtrack. Having said that, when the theme appears in other parts of the OST (Original Soundtrack) it usually has some variety in the methods used. This is a classic Elfman score which is not a bad thing since it suits the film very well. Overall, a wonderful soundtrack to listen to without the actual movie that will provide varying levels of inspiration to the listener.
Special Note: Happy Birthday to Danny Elfman today, May 29!