Liner Note Author: Marc Webb.
Credited to Hans Zimmer & the Magnificent Six, who replaced James Horner's largely orchestral score for the first film with a juiced-up, largely electronic one, the soundtrack for the Amazing Spider-Man 2 echoes the sequel's frenetic, slick, and streamlined action, offering up 14 instrumental pieces and six non-score-related songs that dutifully reflect the measured and meticulous, corporate tie-in sensibilities of the traditional summer blockbuster while still managing to march to the beat of their own very loud drum. Zimmer and his small army of hit makers, who include Johnny Marr (the Smiths), Junkie XL, Michael Einziger (Incubus), Andrew Kawczynski, Pharrell Williams, and Steve Mazzaro, infuse Andrew Garfield's second go-around as the web slinger with equal amounts of pomp and circumstance, introducing a new main theme that pairs a traditional, heroic, horn-driven melody with a serpentine (or spider-like) arpeggiated synth motif that goes a long way in marrying the faded glory of Spidey's comic book origins to the high-octane, over-stimulation of 21st century cinema. Upon first listen, the villain theme, introduced right off the bat with "I'm Electro," seems a little too on the nose, but the mesmerizing eight-minute "My Enemy" eradicates any off flavors by presenting a theme that matches the grace and muscular chrome sheen of Spider Man's cue, albeit via the bold strokes of dubstep. It shouldn't work, but Zimmer and co. have constructed a beast of a piece that frames a whispered laundry list of internal transgressions with an electro-rock center and a sneaky, Baroque-kissed whip of a base melody that spins the whole thing off in a kind of Marvel-approved re-imagining of Coolio's "Gangster's Paradise." The tacked-on songs, which include radio-ready offerings from Pharrell Williams, Phosphorescent, and Alicia Keys feat. Kendrick Lamar, are all well and good in that largely forgettable, ubiquitous movie-credits-sequence kind of way, but Zimmer and company's remarkably forward-thinking score makes this sequel to a film (which arrived a mere five years after the first franchise ended) a surprise gem. ~ James Christopher Monger