Ramin Djawadi’s score to the first film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, 2008’s Iron Man, proved to the world that Marvel was attempting to accomplish something…well…different. Just as they have separated themselves from the traditional superhero movie, they have separated themselves from the typical superhero film score. Where John Williams’ score to the original Superman film, starring Christopher Reeve, is filled with a literally soaring main theme, loud and triumphant, Ramin Djawadi’s score to Iron Man is decidedly more modern, rock-based and very fitting of the rock star personality of the titular character.
Heavy guitar is featured throughout, being used in nearly every track, from “Driving With the Top Down” to “Merchant of Death” to “Gulmira”. The use of such an unorthodox instrument (as far as film scores go) emphasizes the nature of the character: wild, impulsive, and expressive. It drives the score in the more action-oriented scenes, showing that the Iron Man character is not someone to be taken lightly like Superman might be with his soaring hero theme; Iron Man is real, he is in-your-face, and he’s not messing around.
All of that being said, the score is not without its quiet moments. “Vacation’s Over” does not feature any heavy guitar at all, focusing instead on the traditional movie orchestra, which provides a sort of return to the civilized world in comparison to the more primitive, or less controlled, sound of the guitar. Very appropriate, considering the fact that it’s heard at the scene in the film when Stark is rescued and returns to the United States. Other more reserved tracks include “Extra Dry, Extra Olives”, a tentative piece that lightly builds on the budding relationship between Tony and Pepper, and “Are Those Bullet Holes?”, perfectly representing a moment that shows how much Pepper really cares for Tony and how she is concerned for his well-being.
Overall, Ramin Djawadi has created something truly different and unique in his score for Iron Man: music that perfectly embodies the character that it was written for while remaining entertaining enough for both rock and film score fans to enjoy it. I regret that it doesn’t have much of a theme associated with the character (Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” doesn’t count), but that doesn’t stop this score from being quite enjoyable and special.
Rating: 3 (out of 5)
- “Driving With the Top Down” 3:10
- “Iron Man (2008 Version)” – John O’Brien & Rick Boston 1:05
- “Merchant of Death” 2:15
- “Trinkets to Kill a Prince” 3:08
- “Mark I” 3:54
- “Fireman” 2:09
- “Vacation’s Over” 3:35
- “Golden Egg” 4:13
- “DamnKid” – DJ Boborobo 1:13
- “Mark II” 2:47
- “Extra Dry, Extra Olives” 1:44
- “Iron Man” 3:30
- “Gulmira” 4:06
- “Are Those Bullet Holes?” 2:00
- “Section 16” 2:34
- “Iron Monger” 4:45
- “Arc Reaktor” 3:56
- “Institutionalized” – Suicidal Tendencies 3:49
- “Iron Man” – Jack Urbont 0:20
Total Length: app. 55 min.