Top 10

April 9, 2013

10 of the Best: Superhero Themes

Everybody knows that a superhero just doesn’t feel right if he doesn’t have a great theme tune to back him up. As Superman sores through the skies THAT tune soars even higher. You may be scouring this list thinking “Why is the Avengers score not on here?” My answer? Because it wasn’t very good. I was expecting it to be a classic superhero score but instead it was limp and forgettable. It was decent enough but with Alan Silvestri composing I expected something better. Frankly his Captain America score was better. Anyway, enough talk, more lists!


10. Green Lantern: James Newton Howard. Sure the film may have its flaws but I do like the music, especially the track We’re Going to Fly Now which is very modern sounding but still heroic and uses a full orchestra to capture the excitement of the new world that Hal Jordan has discovered.

9. The Crow: Graeme Revell. This is a score that few people still talk about but it is one of the most haunting and moving scores I ever heard. The tragedy behind the movie only adds to the sadness of the music, but it is a beautiful gothic nightmare. Ghostly choirs echo over heartbreaking strings and every time I hear it I think about what Brandon Lee would be doing if he were still alive today.

8. The Shadow: Jerry Goldsmith. You may not remember much about this movie because let’s face it it was pretty forgettable, however one thing really stood out to me and that was the theme tune done by the one and only Jerry Goldsmith. Listen to it and I guarantee it will stick in your head for the rest of the day and you will curse my name. You’re welcome.

7. X-Men First Class: Henry Jackman. I’m not a huge X-Men guy but one thing I love about this movie is the music. Magneto’s theme is a work of genius; it works as a great villain theme but also there’s a funky version during the end credits which sound like they are from a 60’s movie. It works perfectly in capturing the time the film was set and is the best of the series thus far.

6. Batman Begins: Hans Zimmer. You might wonder why The Dark Knight isn’t on here instead but that’s because this movie and score are still better. This actually has a theme tune which plays during several scenes, usually involving the Batmobile. For some reason the theme never showed up in TDK and TDKR which always disappointed me. Despite not being all that tuneful, the music actually sounds like flapping bat wings, which goes perfectly with Nolan’s more “realistic” Batman universe. It’s an interesting score but not a patch on Elfman’s kingly work.

5. Thor: Patrick Doyle. A more subtle theme but Thor’s main theme especially in the track Earth to Asgard is fantastic. It’s otherworldly, noble and really conjures up images of magical realms and Gods. It also has plenty of action and most importantly the composer is from Glasgow. Yes!

4. Captain America: The First Avenger: Alan Silvestri. This is one of my personal favourite Alan Silvestri scores; he’s no stranger to action movie music but the Cap theme is everything it should be. It’s jingoistic, action-packed and exciting. Despite the film not being quite as enjoyable as it was in the theatre, it’s still great fun but the music will always be the strong point.

3. Iron Man 1: Ramin Djawadi & Iron Man 2: John Debney. I know I’m kinda cheating here but I love both scores equally and can’t decide which one I love more. They have different themes but are both awesome and remain easily the best of the Marvel scores. John Debney’s Iron Man 2 theme I think just squeezes by because it just sounds so epic. I especially love the piece of music when Iron Man rescues Pepper Potts at the end which is some of the most heroic music of all time. Both scores use electric guitars mixed with orchestra giving Iron Man a modern and badass sound.

2. Batman: Danny Elfman. This is Danny Elfman’s masterpiece, he will never top it. Darkly heroic with stunning choir, the now trademark Elfman strings create mystery and excitement. Sorry Hans, but you’re nowhere close.

1. Superman: John Williams. I know this is predictable but no other tune comes close apart from Danny Elfman’s Batman theme. Even after all these years the Superman theme gives me a shiver down the spine. It’s exhilarating, exciting and the tune stays with you for days after hearing it. It’s not just the main theme though; the Krypton theme and Lois’s theme encapsulate the characters perfectly. It is everything a superhero theme should be and it’s a shame that few other scores since have been anywhere near as majestic.

About the Author

Eoin Friel
Eoin Friel

I grew up watching JCVD, Sly and Arnold destroy bad guys, blow things up and spew one-liners like it’s a fashion statement. Action is everything I go to the movies for and the reason I came up with this site is to share my love for the genre with everyone.



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