And now for my honest, professional opinion on Christophe Beck’s score for Ant-Man And The Wasp. Brace yourselves:
It’s OK, I guess.
The first Ant-Man had a very interesting score, simply because it was very different to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Where most had focused on being wholly superhero music, Christophe Beck had gone for a more heist-style with a bit of superhero mixed in, which does a good job of reflecting the movie itself. The theme for Ant-Man is a great mixture of hero and thief (like the character) and is certainly one of the more recognisable and interesting main themes of the MCU movies. However, for me that was all that the score to Ant-Man really had. A good main theme sure, but not much else that really stood out.
That then brings us on to the score to Ant-Man And The Wasp. It was nice to see Marvel keeping musical continuity (which is a rarity for them) by hiring Beck again, and having now listened to the score a few times I can safely say that it’s pretty similar to Ant-Man; a good main theme, but not much else.
The main theme in question is the one for The Wasp, and it kicks off the album in It Ain’t Over Til The Wasp Lady Stings. The piece is bold, dramatic and much heavier on the instrument use than Ant-Man’s. While certainly being a lot more exciting and heroic, The Wasp’s theme does lack that memorable and hummable nature that Beck really nailed for Ant-Man, which is a shame. Still, it makes for a kickass score opener and made me very excited for the album when I first heard it.
Prologue is next, and it sets a much slower and darker tone than the previous track. Beck uses light strings to start before building up into loud, dramatic brass to illustrate the magnitude of the terrible event that seems to have occurred, judging by the saddening nature of the melody Beck has crafted here. The music then settles back into a quieter area with some sinister-sounding strings before the track ends.
This leads quite nicely into Ghost In The Machine, the villain theme for the score. As per standard with a lot of villain work these days, ominous-sounding vocals are used with some very creepy strings to back them up. If I’m honest, there isn’t much of a theme here. Ghost In The Machine is more of a mood-setting track than an actual theme that should play when the villain enters the room. It does a great job of setting a villainous tone, but lacks substance as a villain theme.
World’s Greatest Grandma brings back that catchy Ant-Man theme that we all know and love, and in full form. Beck uses synth to make it sound a little different, but it is still very much that fantastic theme from the first film. The only downside to this track is that it is very short, lasting a minute. It is even more of a shame when you consider that this is one of a select few times that the Ant-Man theme shows up in this score.
Feds through to Misdirection are the main action pieces of the album, and if there is one thing Beck can do it’s action tracks. Wings & Blasters is the most enjoyable of this grouping as it makes excellent use of that signature action style from the first Ant-Man, though curiously omitting the theme and using The Wasp’s instead. One thing this score doesn’t do at all is mix the two, which is a real shame. A missed opportunity there, Mr. Beck.
The ominous and creepy other side to the album returns in Quantum Leap, which I’m now sure is meant to entirely represent the Ghost (the villain). Beck’s choice of having a musical style represent a character rather than a recognisable theme is an interesting one, as it does work quite well. Certainly you know when Ghost is in the room, as the score shifts dramatically from fun to downright scary.
Beck then switches back to action in A Flock of Seagulls, which also marks the second appearance of the Ant-Man theme on the album. Once again Beck shines with some highly enjoyable fast-paced action cues, which continue through A Flock Of Seagulls all the way to Quit Screwing Around. The Wasp’s theme takes prominence for a lot of it with Ant-Man showing up occassionally, but again the two pieces hardly if at all interact which is probably the biggest shame of this score.
Anthropodie is an interesting track. It is the last on the album, and for the most part is just a continual repetition of eight notes from the Ant-Man theme. The track starts off with them quietly on a piano before building the notes up into loud brass and drums, and then dropping back down into piano just before the end. It is a curious piece, as it sounds like a theme of some kind but what it is meant to represent, I am not sure. It’s a bit too simple to be a new take on the Ant-Man theme, but a bit too patternous to be score for a scene rather than a theme. Still, it makes for an enjoyable four minute listen.
Overall then, the score to Ant-Man And The Wasp is a little disappointing. The new Wasp theme is great but just not on the same level that the original Ant-Man theme was. Speaking of which, considering this is an Ant-Man film that theme barely appears, making only brief cameos save for World’s Greatest Grandma. The two character themes also almost never interact, which is a golden opportunity seemingly missed by Beck. Making a team-up theme from mixing individual hero pieces can be done, and it can work really well if done right (see Crisis On Earth-X) so it is disappointing not to hear this here.
Like the first film, the score to the second Ant-Man has some good themes but not enough interesting material inbetween to make it an enjoyable score throughout.
Standout Cue: 1. It Ain’t Over Til The Wasp Lady Stings