Composer Michael Giacchino is back to score Spider-Man: Far From Home, and a recently released eight-minute musical suite teases an onslaught of character themes both old and new. We break down Giacchino's music to examine their possible influence on the movie.
1. The Spider-Man theme (00:00-2:15 and 7:06-8:27)
The wall-crawler's musical signifier is front and centre at the start of the piece. It conveys the inherent heroism of Tom Holland's wall-crawler, while also carrying a mischievous air via plucked strings that mimic, appropriately enough, a scurrying spider. It's a neat way of establishing Holland's younger-skewing, more naive take on the character following predecessors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.
However, the Far From Home suite bolsters the brass section of the theme, adding further emotional muscle to Spidey's character and suggesting the hero he must become in the wake of Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr) death. Can Peter step up to the plate and embrace his destiny to become a key member of the Avengers collective? One can hear in this piece the way Giacchino is honouring earlier Spider-Man movie composers like Danny Elfman, and it's a joy to listen to.
2. Peter/MJ's love theme (2:16-4:01)
The budding romance between Peter and MJ (Zendaya) took something of a back seat in 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming. However, Far From Home places it front and centre as Peter courts the love of his life in the midst of romantic European settings. At one point, she even appears to indicate her awareness of Peter's superhero alter-ego, although this could be another fake-out as per the previous movie.
The relationship between the two characters must be fairly pivotal to the storyline for Giacchino to fashion a new musical theme around it. The tender string/woodwind arrangements (reminiscent of Giacchino's own work on Disney-Pixar's Ratatouille) strike a genuinely beautiful and tender note, a refreshing salve from the superhero heroics going on around it. Does this music allude to the development of the Peter/MJ romance in the next Spider-Man movie?
3. Nick Fury's theme/Avengers theme (4:02-5:01)
Delightfully, Giacchino incorporates Alan Silvestri's Avengers theme, now considered to be the musical glue that binds the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) together.
However, he also puts it through a series of variations complete with electric guitar, which we assume must be the material for Samuel L. Jackson's no-nonsense Nick Fury. The old and the new collide in this theme, as we prepare to bid farewell to the MCU's phase three stage, and hello to its mysterious phase four development.
4. Mysterio's theme (5:02-7:05)
Completely different textures are introduced for Jake Gyllenhaal's character, who hails from the 'multiverse'. Far From Home is our live-action introduction to the concept of a shared Spider-Man universe, and Mysterio is the one who is crucially poised to open the door.
Giacchino interweaves harsh synthesised textures in the manner of classic arcade games, crafting a somewhat abstract tone that suggests a realm beyond our human understanding. At the same time, the composer's characteristic brass/timpani arrangements, plus electric guitar, give a sense of the character's formidable abilities – while cleverly concealing whether said abilities are in fact a force for good or bad...
Click here to book your tickets for Spider-Man: Far From Home, opening on 2nd July, and let us know @Cineworld if our analysis of Michael Giacchino's music proved correct.