James Horner was one of the best composers of all time. Here I present to you a review of one of his finest scores (in my opinion anyway): the one for Spider-Man.
The Amazing Spider-Man is one of my favourite scores. It’s a very different superhero score to ones that have come before it and indeed ones that have come after. It is quite a dark and mysterious soundtrack with heroic elements pieced throughout it, and it is the way all these elements of music are mixed up and slotted together so perfectly that makes this score one of the finest that I have ever heard.
Normally with a soundtrack review I would go through all the standout cues, but with this all of the tracks stand out so instead I will talk about the score as a whole and only pick out the cues that are absolutely mind-blowing as we go along. So without further ado, I shall begin.
Main Title begins the score, and immediately we are treated to a slow and mysterious version of the main Amazing Spider-Man theme that after a while builds up into quite a heroic piece. The main theme is the standout piece of this score as it is a great composition and sticks firmly in your head. James Horner did not mess around scorinig this movie.
The cue then moves back into mystery territory with a short theme for young Peter Parker before then springing into action with a dramatic flair. To end the track a sad version of the Amazing Spider-Man theme is played as Peter’s parents have to leave him.
One of the mind-blowing cues is next; Becoming Spider-Man. It is very different to the previous, being immediately upbeat and somewhat heroic initially before building up into an epic and fully heroic version of the main theme. The piece then settles down slightly as Peter builds his Spider-Man suit, with elements of the main theme playing more softly in the background. Horner makes excellent use of choirs here as well. Brass then builds up in the background until we get an epic choral reveal of Spider-Man‘s new suit.
The score at this point takes a more light-hearted turn as the film follows Peter at school not really doing anything heroic. There is a fair amount of mystery as well particularly in Hunting for Information as Peter investigates his parents death. The score does dither for a fair amount here until Ben’s Death, a very sad choral piece as Peter loses his uncle. Horner makes excellent use of choirs and piano in this heart-wrenching track. It then builds up into dark action music as he goes on the hunt for his uncle’s killer as Spider-Man.
The love theme for The Amazing Spider-Man is then showcased in Rooftop Kiss, which is a beautifully soft piece that utilises a fair amount of piano and string instruments. This is then somewhat continued in The Bridge before diving off into mystery for a short while and then building up again to an action-based rendition of the main theme. The score then explodes into its first proper action piece as Spider-Man fights the Lizard. If there is one thing James Horner can do well it is action cues, and he absolutely shines in this. The track then moves onto some softer music before blasting out a triumphant version of the main theme.
Action pieces are what we get for the next few tracks, and Lizard At School is an absolute treat. Horner gives us fantastic renditions of the main theme at speed in a very heroic and Spider-Man style fashion, with plenty of brass and choirs to back them up. However the real cherry on top of this score lies in the next track; Saving New York. It begins in a dark and scary style before flying into an epic choral outburst of the Amazing Spider-Man theme. It is only short however as Horner is saving that for a bit later. The score then dives right back into scary with some jumpscare-inducing moments with the Lizard. Strings and brass then take over for the finest action piece of the entire score. Two minutes of pure magic ensue as Horner really lets the score run wild. The best way for me to describe it is to let you listen for yourself. Start at four minutes and sit back.
And if you thought this score couldn’t get any better than that, you were wrong. In the final moments of The Amazing Spider-Man James Horner has one last treat for us; a reprise of the love theme followed by a truly fantastic heroic rendition of the main theme to lead into the closing credits. It is the standout cue of the score and that title is well deserved. Horner just throws absolutely everything into this one to bring this amazing score to a close.
I firmly believe James Horner is one of the best composers of all time, and this score to me really illustrates why. It is an absolute tragedy that we lost him in a plane crash a few years ago, but what a legacy he left behind: Avatar, Aliens, The Rocketeer, Apollo 13, Wrath Of Khan, The Perfect Storm, Titanic, and these are just a few of the fantastic scores he has done over the years. The Amazing Spider-Man is no exception, and that is why I am giving it the first Perfect Score of this site. It is well deserved.
Standout Cue: 20. Promises/ End Titles