The Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 1 & 2 installments have benefitted greatly from memorable and very-listenable musical scores, as put together by current in-demand composers such as Brian Tyler (The Expendables) and Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones). Moreover, the first Captain America and Avengers movies were both scored by Alan Silvestri, who penned the iconic theme music for such films as Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Forrest Gump, among many others.
By comparison, Thor director Kenneth Branagh worked alongside his own frequent music collaborator - the award-winning Patrick Doyle - to produce the soundtrack compositions for the God of Thunder's solo vehicle debut. Writer/director James Gunn is following Branagh's example with his own Marvel flick, Guardians of the Galaxy, by teaming up with his own frequent composer of choice: Tyler Bates, who also scored director Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead, 300 and Watchmen.
Gunn has teamed with Bates on his two previous directorial outings: the horror-comedy Slither and the real-world costumed vigilante flick Super. The Guardians of the Galaxy helmer posted the following update about his preferred composer on Facebook (thereby confirming Bates' involvement with Guardians at the same time):
Grateful to be working with my favorite composer, Tyler Bates, on Guardians of the Galaxy. Unlike most films, Tyler writes huge chunks of the score first so that I can actually film to the music. During action scenes and huge dramatic moments we blare the score on set so that the cast, crew, and camera can move in harmony with the music. Music is often an afterthought in film, but never for us. And everything Tyler's done so far has been amazing!
All things considered, the total benefits that come with Bates' approach to scoring Guardians probably outweigh the drawbacks. That is, having segments of the final soundtrack completed ahead of time ought to allow Gunn and his cast to better work together on the same page from the get-go; yet, it still allows enough room and flexibility for improvisation or changes during filming, in the sense that Bates can alter his score accordingly later (if necessary). It probably makes life easier for all concerned; as opposed to, the situation with Brian Tyler providing the score for Thor: The Dark World (having replaced Carter Burwell) - that is, where the composer joins during post-production (allowing them less time to fall in sync with and understand the director's vision).
Gunn and his Guardians cast are waist-deep in principal photography on the project right now, after they debuted the first footage from the Marvel cosmic superhero adventure back at the 2013 International Comic-Con in July. The film's leads include Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation), Zoe Saldana (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Dave Bautista (The Man with the Iron Fists), with the villainous players being portrayed by fan-favorites like Lee Pace (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) and Karen Gillan (Doctor Who).
Meanwhile, we are still waiting for official confirmation that Vin Diesel will help to round out the Guardians team by voicing the CGI alien-tree-humanoid Groot; in addition to, seeing what comes of the newest Guardians rumor, suggesting that Bradley Cooper may wind up voicing the intergalactic raccoon with a machine gun (and final Guardian), who is appropriately known as... Rocket Racoon.
Guardians of the Galaxy opens in U.S. theaters on August 1st, 2014.