Score Review - 'Avengers: Endgame'
Biggest movie of all time heightened by Silvestri's Arthurian opus.
Alan Silvestri's sweeping, unflinchingly epic score to the mega-hit Marvel's Avengers: Endgame, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, brings to mind the mythic legends of old. As the era of superhero films reaches its next highest point, it becomes clear these stories may be looked at in the same lineage as Hercules, Jason and the Argonauts, Orpheus, and Eurydice, and the other tales of old. With hindsight, a world in which Tony Stark, T'Challa, this iteration of Thor, and the rest of Marvel's gallery is viewed as a new branch of mythology isn't far off. The score for the film seems to recognize and play into this with its use of seemingly timeless chord progressions, proud new melodies, and almost spiritual implications.
The overarching quest for the six Infinity Stones through the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and especially in the last two Avengers films, fits into the same paradigm as the story of Arthur and his Knights on the search for the Holy Grail. When listening to Silvestri's new Endgame theme, which is featured prominently in the tracks "Portals" and "Main on End" from the official soundtrack, the word that comes to mind is 'reverence.' In the same way the Knights of the Round Table were weighed by a quest from God, so are the Avengers weighed by the search to reverse the consequences of a previous devastating defeat. That weight is felt throughout the score, underlining the highly emotional and dramatic stakes that are present throughout the story. The first act is a somber meditation on the grief our heroes and the rest of the world are wracked with, and the score is equally as meditative. When the momentum of the plot spirals forward, the score follows in true Silvestrian fashion with pulsating ostinatos, energetic melodies, and tritone changes we've come to expect from the composer of Back to the Future and Ready Player One. In the final moments of the film when "Portals" is introduced, a solo trumpet summons the once thought "dusted" characters into existence, an almost religious resurrection that's felt shoulder-to-shoulder in a packed house.
If the film's music could have only one bump for someone who likes to listen to soundtracks, they may find that a majority of the music seems to work tremendously better to picture. This is common with most modern scores, and isn't necessarily a bad thing. Film music is meant to complement the picture, serving as either an invisible or heightening element married to the visuals. In the case of Endgame, Silvestri has accomplished this, perhaps at the expense of producing a stand-alone soundtrack. The record's standouts are of the aforementioned "Portals" and "Main on End," with accolades also due for "Go Ahead," which borrows tender themes from Silvestri's work from Captain America: The First Avenger.
Overall, the film's box office and critical achievements are joined by an outstanding score that's plugged into what superheroes represent in our modern day. These are tales of morality, sacrifice, and courage, themes that have been present in our hero myths for as long as stories have been shared. Silvestri clearly knows this and has written a powerful opus, which is a welcome addition to his catalog of memorable music.