It’s June 30th; we’re knocking on July’s door, and with it a cadre of summer blockbuster film releases. Leading the pack is Marvel’s latest cinematic universe entry, the long-awaited reboot of Spiderman on the silver screen.
Following the first official trailer released this past December and the second in late March, the third pulls out all the stops with equals parts action and comedy, likely giving the audioviewer a good idea of what to expect in terms of a shift in tone compared to previous instalments in the Spider-Man film franchise.
At 0:26 we hear the first clear musical number alongside the studio title cards and the sound of a school bell. Hoodie Allen’s “Act My Age” is a recent song (2014) that perfectly encapsulates the tone and direction of Peter Parker’s character. The song represents a step away from the more mature character portrayed by Tobey Maguire in the early 2000s or of Andrew Garfield earlier this decade, and towards the high school-aged, teenage persona we see in Homecoming, with slightly obnoxious “na na na” vocals and cheerleader-style stomps and claps. Similarly, none of the dramatic string music of earlier Spider-Man films is to be found here. It’s a fresh start, bolstered by the charm of Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, who takes on a mentorship role and has received ample screen time throughout the trailer campaign.
This tune weaves in and out as various scenes and dialogue are presented to show how increasingly difficult it is for Parker to lead a double life as a web slinger and high school student. Of course, Spider-Man’s trademark wry banter remains intact; as is in keeping with the comedy trailer as a genre, the music often abruptly stops to make way for whatever punchline occurs in the dialogue.
However, it’s not all laughs. At 1:15 the audioviewer is treated to a taste of the action one can expect from the film, as long-time villain Vulture lifts Spider-Man far up into the sky. By 1:20 some epic percussion comes in to amplify the tension of the scene, cutting at its climax to the title card for the date – July 7th. Demi Lovato’s 2015 song “Confident” underpins the action sequences that follow in this second half of the trailer, interspersed with the suggestion that Parker’s classmates may be homing in on his secret identity. With pulverizing percussion, blaring brass triplets, and an epic descending bass line in a natural minor key, it’s almost surprising that it isn’t the work of a trailer music studio.
An endearing comedic exchange between Parker a high school friend reminds the audioviewer of the essential focus of this film on lighthearted antics, only to be quickly juxtaposed one last time with an epic scene involving Spider-Man keeping a jet plane in the air after suffering a blow to its wing. A large, brassy minor chord plays the trailer out with the final title card.
After a, er, string of lesser-received films produced by Sony in Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, it looks like Marvel’s putting a spin on the series that will put it on better footing – and the choices in music for its trailer suit this goal admirably.
– Curtis Perry