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A bombastic summer soundtrack by Brian Tyler - Iron Man 3 is epic
on 4 May 2013
Brian Tyler is the third composer in the Iron Man film franchise. I wasn't a huge fan of Ramin Djawadi's effort for the first IM film, although I did like John Debney's score for IM2 despite the fact that a lot of the music got lost in the overall mix. For me, this is easily the best IM score to date and is a sensational orchestral/choral album from start to finish. I should also note that previous themes by Djawadi and Debney don't feature, although I wouldn't consider this a terrible loss if truth be told. However, the more rock/electronic aspects of the previous scores have been largely ignored, so those of you who liked this, particularly Djawadi's material from IM1 may be disappointed. I should also mention that this review is regarding the actual orchestral score as heard in the film - for those of you who want a compilation of rock songs inspired by the film (the thought of which makes me shudder) should look here instead - Iron Man 3: Heroes Fall.
You know from the opening track "Iron Man 3" this is going to be a blast. People with pacemakers and those on medication for high blood pressure beware - if this doesn't get the blood pumping I don't know what will. This theme is used regularly on the album in various guises, but is not overused to the point of annoyance. There are 20 tracks on the album and I won't mention them all in detail. Besides the epic opening track, other highlights for me were the slower tracks "Isolation" (Track 4) and "Extremis" (Track 7), and some of the more action based material of "Attack On 10880 Malibu Point" (Track 3), "Dive Bombers" (Track 5) and "Battle Finale" (Track 19) was just epic. Regardless of what I think, the important point is that the quality of the music across the entire album is consistently high.
Running in at just over 75 minutes, this is an above average length for a soundtrack release (and Tyler is known for being generous regarding the running time of his album releases). The sound quality and mixing is great as you would hope. The album flows well because whilst the majority of the album is more action based, it is interspersed with slower tracks. The track lengths themselves are decent (ranging from just short of 2 minutes to just over 7 minutes). This allows the music to develop over the course of the track rather than ending before it ever got going. A minor point perhaps but I think part of what makes a good album is how it is presented. A final point on this, Tyler is known for choosing to order the tracks for the best listening experience rather than the chronological order of when they appear in the film and this approach works perfectly on this release.
As always there may be music that appears in the film that is not present on the album. I haven't seen the film yet so cannot comment on this directly, although my experience with Tyler's previous albums suggests that all the best material from the film will feature on the album.
Overall, this is my favourite Iron Man soundtrack to date, and this is certainly helped by the fact that Iron Man has been given a bold and memorable theme. If you haven't got it by the end of the album, you really haven't been trying! For me, this is album ticks every box for what a summer blockbuster soundtrack should be. It oozes quality without ever taking itself too seriously and despite the fairly long running time, maintains your attention throughout. If you liked the music within the film and have any appreciation for orchestral soundtracks this is one to get. Anything less than 5*s would be a travesty and I really hope he continues with franchise in the future.