“The Avengers. It's what we call ourselves. Sorta like a team. Earth's Mightiest Heroes type thing.” To quote Tony Stark, The Avengers – and the stars of the wider MCU – remain the Earth’s mightiest to this day, at least when it comes to movie franchises.
The culmination of over a decade’s work that began with 2008’s Iron Man, this meticulously-crafted, complex universe of iconic characters and exciting new worlds has captured the imagination of fans young and old. Over the course of the 22 movies that followed, the MCU became an unstoppable force – much like our beloved heroes – with Avengers: Endgame the latest, and final, instalment of this phase becoming the fastest film to break the billion dollar mark at the box office, taking just five days.
There’s no denying that as much as the MCU has been celebrated for its jaw-dropping action sequences, laugh-out-loud comedy moments and colourful villains – in both appearance and attitude – the Marvel movies are also revered for their canny use of music. From Alan Silvestre’s commanding Avengers theme, to the goofy nostalgia of Guardians of the Galaxy’s ‘Awesome Mixes’ – their collection of scores, soundtracks and audio motifs are often as impactful as a blow from Mjolnir.
“It's very Pavlovian for many of us in terms of the emotional reaction we get from it,” Anthony Russo, director of Endgame as well as many more MCU big-hitters, postulates – all too aware of this phenomenon. The Endgame soundtrack may seem sparse featuring only six songs – as well as Silvestre’s instrumental score – but each is used to great effect to illicit a certain kind of mood. They also act as sonic signposts as the team travels through time, while we witness key moments in their histories from a completely new perspective. Steppenwolf’s ‘Hey Lawdy Mama’ can be heard as Tony Stark and Steve Rogers arrive in the 1970s, we get a comic call-back to our first encounter with Star Lord by way of Redbone’s ‘Come and Get Your Love’, and the whole epic saga comes to an emotional close with a heart-warming slow dance to ‘It’s Been a Long, Long Time’ by Harry James and His Orchestra. Released in November 1945, it features Kitty Kalen singing of the mesmerizing feeling of kissing her spouse after they’ve returned from war, and the track continues right through the (mid and post-credit scene-free) titles, acting as a final farewell to this era of the MCU as we know it. Or does it?
Fans have already began speculating what a particular post-credit audio teaser could mean, with a faint metal clanging sound echoing against a backdrop of the Marvel logo. It could be metal on metal, blacksmithing, or as one Reddit user suggested, the sound of Iron Man building his suit for the very first time. The idea of the latter as an audio motif, would neatly bookend not only this part of the franchise, but also the character arc of Iron Man himself.
This is music to our ears, and to legions of fans across the globe that have followed this incredible journey since day one. Whatever is planned for the future of the MCU, one thing is certain – the next time you watch a Marvel movie, remember; every note counts.