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  • The 10 Best MCU Soundtracks, Ranked

    The actors and directors and writers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe get a lot of attention, but one integral part of the makeup of these movies has gone largely unnoticed: the music. The themes and tones that make up the background of every MCU movie help to form what they are and how they feel.

    For example, Alan Silvestri’s Avengers theme makes a huge impact when it’s played over a title card or a trailer for an upcoming sequel because it evokes our support for Earth’s mightiest heroes and gets us ready to rally behind them. Here are The 10 Best MCU Soundtracks, Ranked.

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  • 10 / 10
    Doctor Strange
    Fickle Cloak - Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange

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    Just a few years ago, Doctor Strange was thought to be a more obscure and lesser-known character in the Marvel universe than the likes of Tony Stark and Peter Parker. But now, thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch’s absurd level of popularity and some slick, trippy, surreal visuals in Scott Derrickson’s solo movie, he’s been on a space adventure with both of them.

    Michael Giacchino’s brilliant score for the solo movie carried the mystical character through his whole origin story. Reportedly, during the recording of the score at Abbey Road Studios, Paul McCartney overheard a musical cue and likened it to “I Am the Walrus.” A Beatle compared this music to the Beatles. Derrickson aptly described Giacchino’s score as “magic in the literal sense of the word.”

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  • 9 / 10
    Daredevil: Season 1

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    Daredevil, otherwise known as the Man Without Fear, first appeared on the screen in 2003 when Ben Affleck played him in a movie. Unfortunately, the PG-13 rating didn’t do the typically dark character any favors and the movie was panned by critics and quickly forgotten about.

    Thankfully, 12 years later, Netflix was there to provide both the creative freedom and the funding to properly adapt the Daredevil character for the screen. Everything about the show works in tandem to give it its dark feel, like the lighting, the editing, the writing, the direction, the cinematography – and the music is a very big part of that.

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  • 8 / 10
    Ant-Man
    Ant-Man train scene

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    It’s unclear how the soundtrack for Ant-Man would’ve turned out if the movie had been directed by Edgar Wright, who likes to fill his movies with retro, nostalgic ‘90s hits, but under the direction of Peyton Reed, it turned out pretty awesome. Christophe Beck composed it in the spirit of a fanboy: “For Ant-Man, I wanted to write a score in the grand symphonic tradition of my favorite superhero movies, with a sweeping scope and a big, catchy main theme.  What makes this score stand out among other Marvel movies, though, is a sneaky sense of fun, since it is, after all, not only a superhero movie but also a heist comedy."

    Beck’s score incorporates the comedic element of the movie.

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  • 7 / 10
    Avengers: Infinity War
    Avengers Infinity War Ending

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    As much as Marvel will deny this because they even changed the titles of the movies to avoid it, Avengers: Infinity War was the first part of an epic two-part story that will conclude in a couple of weeks in Avengers: Endgame. Infinity War was all about the build-up and the anticipation, and that’s what Alan Silvestri’s masterful score for the threequel is all about.

    Despite having scored MCU movies before – Avengers and all – Silvestri said that scoring Infinity War was “a really different experience than anything I’d done before, especially in regard to the approach and balancing quick shifts in tone,” because it brought so many different characters (and with them, so many different creative tones) together.

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  • 6 / 10
    Captain America: Civil War

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    The epic scope of the story and the huge cast of characters in Captain America: Civil War led many fans and critics to term it Avengers 2.5. In essence, it was the linking factor between the second and third Avengers movies: the Sokovia accords change the superhero community forever, Spider-Man and Black Panther get their MCU debuts, and the Avengers are torn apart and glued back together again.

    But the Russo brothers still wanted it to feel like a Captain America solo movie, completing the story arc of his trilogy. The soundtrack shows that composer Henry Jackman put a lot of effort into preserving that.

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  • 5 / 10
    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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    The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie became widely known for its soundtrack made up of hits by the greats, like David Bowie and The Jackson 5. So, a lot was riding on the soundtrack for the sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It had to live up to the incredible music featured in the original and also suit the tone they set (and also feel like something new).

    The success of the original meant that James Gunn went into scoring the sequel “knowing I would be making bands that may have been forgotten suddenly be a topic of conversation.” It doesn’t blow you away like the first one did (the movie itself had the same problem), but there are hits by the likes of George Harrison, Fleetwood Mac, and Cheap Trick to ensure it’s still a terrific album.

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  • 4 / 10
    Jessica Jones: Season 1
    David Tennant Krysten Ritter Jessica Jones

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    It was a shame a few weeks ago when Netflix announced, one by one, that they were canceling all of their Marvel shows. Perhaps the best of those Netflix/Marvel shows was Jessica Jones, the darkly-themed tale of an ex-superhero who is now a private investigator was complex, compelling, and brilliant throughout.

    Luckily, we still have the third season of the show on the way, which Netflix has agreed they will still release as planned. Plus, the first couple of seasons will always be available to rewatch – and the soundtrack of the first season is available to put you in the mood.

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  • 3 / 10
    The Avengers

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    The soundtrack for The Avengers – the first team-up of Earth’s mightiest heroes – was composed by the great Alan Silvestri, the man behind the iconic theme music for both Predator and Back to the Future.

    Joss Whedon, the director of The Avengers, has spoken about how Silvestri’s style was a perfect fit for the movie: “The score is very old-fashioned, which is why [Silvestri] was letter-perfect for this movie, because he can give you the heightened emotion, the [Hans Zimmer] school of ‘I’m just feeling a lot right now!’ but he can also be extraordinarily cue and character specific, which I love.”

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  • 2 / 10
    Spider-Man: Homecoming
    Tom Holland in Spider-Man: Homecoming

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    The score for Spider-Man: Homecoming was composed by Michael Giacchino, who is best known for his collaborations with J.J. Abrams on projects like Lost, Star Trek, and even Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

    One of the greatest things about his soundtrack is the new orchestral arrangement of the classic Spider-Man theme song that he recorded for the film. It’s subtle, but you can still make out all the lyrics: “Spider-Man, Spider-Man / Does whatever a spider can / Spins a web any size / Catches thieves, just like flies.” Plus, Giacchino refers back to earlier MCU scores in very delicate ways throughout the soundtrack.

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  • 1 / 10
    Guardians of the Galaxy

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    What makes the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack so special is the fact that Peter Quill’s “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” mixtape literally exists as a plot device in the film. It made marketing the soundtrack album very easy for Marvel.

    The soundtrack is made up almost entirely of popular hits from the ‘60s and ‘70s, including “Hooked on a Feeling” by Blue Swede, “Moonage Daydream” by David Bowie, “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5, and “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum. It’s no wonder this soundtrack made it to the top spot on the Billboard charts because it’s basically a nostalgic mixtape in itself.

    NEXT: 10 Funko Pops That Every MCU Fan Should Own

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