Soundtrack Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

The Amazing Spider-Man by James Horner (Main Title - Young Peter) (2012)

The Amazing Spider-Man Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score The Amazing Spider-Man by James Horner.

“This is one of the better superhero scores I have heard, and it comes as no surprise that it is James Horner who is responsible.”

The Amazing-Spider Man is a reboot of the whole Spider-Man franchise and while some would ask the question ‘why?’ I would ask ‘why not?’. Despite me liking Spider-Man 3, there was a lot of criticism towards it. It did well at the box office though and Spidey is such a cool character that deserves another chance. Marc Webb is directing and it stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans.

Track List

1. Main Title – Young Peter 100
2. Becoming Spider-Man 100
3. Playing Basketball 60
4. Hunting for Information 80
5. The Briefcase 80
6. The Spider Room – Rumble in the Subway 60
7. Secrets 80
8. The Equation 80
9. The Ganali Device 80
10. Ben’s Death 100
11. Metamorphosis 100
12. Rooftop Kiss 100
13. The Bridge 100
14. Peter’s Suspicions 80
15. Making a Silk Trap 100
16. Lizard at School! 100
17. Saving New York 100
18. Oscorp Tower 100
19. I Can’t See You Anymore 100
20. Promises – Spider-Man End Titles 100

So who was surprised to see James Horner doing Spider-Man? I certainly was, but what an exciting prospect! Horner, despite his critics, is a legend in the film music business and has earned the right to be called one of the greats. What is also great about Horner is that he is of the old school, so we are in for something special.

The new main title ‘Main Title – Young Peter’ is yet another great main theme in the Spider-Man series of films. It’s a mix betwen Young and Elfman’s main theme with some Hornerism thrown in there, like “A Beautiful Mind”. In fact, I can hear lot of similarities to “A Beautiful Mind” as I listen to the score, but don’t let that put you off. Oh, I love the little boy singing in the main title and other cues, it’s really a great touch.

After the first couple of cues, you can be forgiven for skipping through a few tracks as this is a bit of a slow starter. The meat of this score starts with track 10 ‘Ben’s Death’ and continues all the way to the end. What a fantastic range of cues, all very dramatic and beautiful. ‘The Bridge’ is perhaps my favorite track of the whole score. A great beginning before Horner starts off his horns and there’s a brilliant use of guitar as underscore in there. By the way, the horns are well underused in action/fantasy scores and Horner brings it back in a glorious manner. ‘Lizard at School’ is another fast-paced menacing action track that has your pulse going with some exciting and heavy percussion sequences.

‘I Can’t See You Anymore’ is a tear jerker for sure with that beautiful string opening, a very strong emotional track to end it all with the added ‘Promises – Spider-Man End Titles’ to follow on that note but end it with some pulsating Spidey action.

This score feels fresh and new and perfectly suited for the Spider-Man series. I liked both Spider-Man 1 and 2 from Danny Elfman and also Spider-Man 3 from Christopher Young, but this is easily the best for me with such a number of impressive cues. Oh, and for Horner-haters, there’s no sign of the dreaded “four note” motif that everyone seems to fear.

Got Spotify? Listen to the score:

Conclusion

This is one of the better superhero scores I have heard, and it comes as no surprise that it is James Horner who is responsible. He uses what is known to him and because of Spider-Man’s legacy he creates something fresh and interesting, even to those who has long given up on Horner. Well done! I hope that for the sequels he is ready to do us soundtrack fans a favor once more.

GEEK SCORE: 90

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Listen to The Amazing Spider-Man by James Horner:

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Soundtrack Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), 8.6 out of 10 based on 39 ratings
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  • http://www.facebook.com/AV1020 Andres Vargas

    I just got this score last night and have been listening to it since then. Very pleased with it. The theme really fits spiderman in my opinion.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      I agree. Great theme.

  • Rory Williams

    This is great. I love it.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Glad you enjoyed it. Another great score by Horner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Issidro-Rodriguez-Avila/1138983423 Issidro Rodriguez Avila

    i prefer ASM score than the avengers, i fell that have more soul. I miss a 4 note motif .)

    • http://flavors.me/dnwilliams dnwilliams

      I really wish Marvel would recruit Giacchino or Elfman or Williams or JNH. The Avengers score was serviceable and Cap and Thor had their highlights, but all their films have had relatively lackluster scores all things considered. Not as iconic as I would have hoped at least, considering the subjects, Captain America’s theme comes closest.

      • Matt Soundtrack

        I agree. Alan Silvestri is good, but the last memorable (and fairly inspired) works that he has done, in my humble opinion, were “The Polar Express” and “The Mummy Returns”.

      • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

        Loved Thor and Cap, but very disappointed with Avengers. Would love to hear what Giacchino would do. Still, I have to admit I love this score.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Hah! Even Horner managed to miss it in ASM.

  • calahoon

    i did a double take when I saw who was doing the soundtrack: JAMES FREAKING HORNER! I love his music and I am not disappointed by his latest works! fantastic! oscar nomination?

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Probably not an Oscar nomination for James, but this music deserves it.

      • calahoon

        to be fair he’ll be up against it with possibly the dark knight rises and the hobbit when it comes out as well as many others

        • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

          Yeah it’s a tough crowd.

  • http://flavors.me/dnwilliams dnwilliams

    I’m yet to see the movie (or listen fully to the score, just the track presented here) but Horner’s approach doesn’t seem to fit the character to me, decent as it may sound in isolation. Some of the vocals especially seem out of place, recalling Gladiator, or just suggesting a World Music vibe that doesn’t really fit with the incredibly urban superhero we’re dealing with here. Even the horns seem like they’d be better on Thor or something. Not sold.

    It doesn’t help that Elfman’s main theme was (in my opinion) incredibly distinct and particularly good, I’m also REALLY fond of the ‘Alone’ cue from the first Spidey movie. This would have to be incredible to supplant it in my mind.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      I love Elfman’s theme and I am constantly debating with myself whether Horner’s theme is better or worst. I love them both.

  • Matt Soundtrack

    I am so excited to see this movie in IMAX and listen to the entire score album on CD. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait for my Amazon order to come in the mail… and for the movie to come out. :-)
    I am so happy to hear your great response to Horner’s new music! As you may already know, James Horner is my favorite composer, so I simply cannot wait! I love Horner’s action music and I’m anticipating listening to “The Bridge” and “Lizard in School” , upon your high recommendations.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      You won’t be disappointed I’m sure. Have you heard the full score now and seen the film?

  • Harmony

    Nice review. I listened and found this to be pretty good. I like it a tad better than Elfman’s work in the original Spidey films to be honest. I didn’t think his score was bad, but I personally felt it could’ve been a little better. With Horner’s score, I like that it sounds a bit more old school when music for these kinds of films were a bit more simplistic. Overall, I found this to be a decent outing. Thumbs up.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      In total agreement :)

  • MasterScoreMan

    I feel the music doesn’t fit a spiderman type suite for some of it, but I do agree the music is exceptional. And that is ultimately what I care about, the music. This is a review I can’t argue with!

  • Sanglant

    W….T….F? a 90? were you listening to the right soundtrack? I have no problem with James Horner, but certain artists’ style just doesn’t suit certain genres. While Elfman had a good & recognizable Spidey theme, there just weren’t enough moments were the music rose to the occasion of the scenes that did. Hans Zimmer certainly did this with Batman Begins & The Dark Knight. Klaus Badelt did this with Pirates of the Caribbean, Henry Jackman did it with X-men: First Class, Ottman’s Superman Returns score was better than the movie, and I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that movies benefit from scores that don’t hold back and that match the intensity and emotion of a scene; heck, you could even go so far as to say that scores enrich scenes and subtlety intensify the viewer’s experience. There are countless studies that have shown music has both a conscious and subconscious effect on listeners. I have been disappointed by some of the scores for superhero movies lately, as The Avengers had a recognizable title, but didn’t have that emotional hero music feel – obviously, The Avengers was such a one of a kind colossus of a movie with so much action & SFX i didn’t matter. But Avengers is an exception. The Green Lantern soundtrack was atrocious, Captain America was brutal, and Iron Man 1 had some moments but really has no identity. Not to sound like a Zimmer fanboy, but they guy gets it done consistenly like nobody else. Like I said, I loved Horner’s work but to give this a 90? Come on, don’t be silly, what doesn’t get a 90 then. The main theme may deserve credit for incorporating Elfman & Young’s themes, but a character as iconic as Spiderman should have a theme that resonates even with the casual moviegoer like Elfman’s did – Horner’s has no chance of that. The best cut I instantly recognized during the premiere was the wonderful piece included in Track 17 “Saving New York” so I’m not saying the score is garbage or anything like that. But I was shocked by the comments raving about this soundtrack.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      I guess you didn’t like the July edition of Top Scores 2012: Critic’s Choice then ;)

  • KK
    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Great minds think alike ;)

  • Chiaraaa

    Just came back from the film and I was honestly disappointed with the score… especially since it was by James Horner. Nothing stood out to me except a couple of negatives.
    While Spiderman was fighting the lizard in school, the main fight sequence had hardly any tension at one point. The music was heroic and positive, basically TELLING us he was going to succeed and I wasn’t sitting on the edge of my seat like I should have. Maybe that was the intention and I was overanalysing and misunderstood…Also the jarring mickey-moused piano chords when Gwen was hiding from the lizard in the tower. They were over the top and really put me off the whole scene…even my non soundtrack loving friend looked at me like ‘what the hell was that?’

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      I haven’t seen the film yet, but I find it weird that he the music in the film feels wrong. Horner has always (for me anyway) been THE master of matching film with score and vice versa. Looking forward to see the film.

      • Chiaraaa

        Like I said, I hope it just wasn’t me misunderstanding or picking out personal dislikes because I really was confused about those two small, small parts I mentioned.
        Enjoy the film though. I did…although I’m still trying to differentiate whether I genuinely liked the film or if I fell just a little in love with Andrew Garfield.

  • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

    I liked it too, but it was very weak in certain parts compared to Horner’s score.

  • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

    Why did you dislike it? Do you still feel like that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/szale.ferenc Szále Ferenc

    Playing Basketball 60? I hate to correct or over-judge people, but Horner does something wonderful there. I tell you why I think it is great, and if you still don’t like it, it is ok, we are different. First of all, it becomes part of the score very well, though not through its similar sound but its playfulness. But the point is: he is covering or rethinking Elmer Bernstein’s West Side Story. Listen to that musical and you’ll see how he tributes Elmer’s music. Amazing. Furthermore, another part of the soundtrack which I have not heard on the CD is when Spider-Man’s leg is hurt, and he is trying to get to Oscorp at the end. The music that comes in is Titanic’s departure choir! Horner plays with the two film: both Spider-Man both the Titanic are ahead of a great jump/journey. Amazing joke. By the way: same here, amazing superhero score, amazing score – love it the way it is!

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Not a big fan of Bernsteins West Side Story. Maybe that’s part of why I gave it a 60. Mostly it was because it threw me off. I thought I was listening to a goofy comedy score there instead of The Amazing Spider-Man :)

  • Ivan

    Totally disagree with Playing Basketball… It so playful and mischievous. Love the review!

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      Thanks! It just doesn’t fit the score as presented on album at all in my opinion. It threw me off thinking this was a goofy comedy score instead of an Spider-Man action score.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jordan.oleary.37 Jordan O’Leary

    I watched the movie yesterday and I have to say, the score is one of the worst I’ve heard in a major summer movie. Its flat and boring consistently through the whole picture and not once is there anything that makes your hairs stand on end. Its too formulaic and doesnt mesh well with the picture. Many times I was watching and noticed the music which really distracted me. James Horner is a really good composer, his best work is probably on Aliens, which shown his true strength. Listen to some of those tracks, especially during the exterior shots of the Sulaco and then compare its power to this soundtrack and theres a chasm of quality. The score to The Amazing Spiderman is nowhere near his best I’m afraid.

    • http://soundtrackgeek.com soundtrackgeek

      James Horner has been a lot better, that’s true. It’s weird though, I have never liked Aliens despite countless listens (Except Bishop’s Countdown). Oh well, maybe one day I’ll understand it :)

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  • http://twitter.com/RazorCedge Chris E

    I’m sorry, I’m not getting this soundtrack either. Perhaps after seeing the film I will feel differently, but then I do love the Danny Elfman theme.