Composed by Michael Giacchino
Spider-Man: No Way Home is the only Hollywood blockbuster this year to have actually made a solid profit. There are many factors, ranging from a Christmas-time release to the noticeable lack of unnecessary and sanctimonious political and social statements in cast and crew interviews. The largest factor, however, is the premise in which a tear in the multiverse allows Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men, as well as many of their villains, to come in for a crossover extravaganza. This all comes about when Peter Parker (the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Tom Holland one), having been outed as Spider-Man by Mysterio, tries to convince Dr. Strange to cast a spell that will re-conceal his identity. This will help his friends and family, who are also struggling with the fallout of his identity reveal. Of course something goes wrong and various villains enter the universe. Now Spidey and pals need to gather the villains so they can be sent back to their proper universes. Things get even more complicated as events unfold. In the midst of a creatively floundering Marvel Cinematic Universe, this movie was a shining star. The film is full of logical head scratchers and some inconsistencies in how certain villains from the Garfield and Maguire movies are portrayed. But the end result corrects some of the issues with the latest Spider-Man iteration. No Way Home remembers that Spider-Man works best when Peter Parker’s non-superhero life suffers from his heroics.
The crossover nature of the film sparked much interest in Giacchino’s score. Many were hoping for references to Danny Elfman, James Horner, and perhaps Hans Zimmer’s contributions to the Spider-Man films. There are references to all three composers, but they are surprisingly sparse and several don’t make it onto album. Fortunately Giacchino is a master in his own right and brings several retuning and new themes to the table. This is perhaps the most consistent of the MCU scores in terms of linking to other films. First onto the old themes, which people were more excited to hear. “Shield of Pain” is the one that will generate the most nostalgia buzz. James Horner’s Spider-Man theme appears at the 1:12 mark while Danny Elfman’s Responsibility theme comes in right afterwards. Giacchino does not reference Elfman’s actual main Spider-Man theme, opting to use his Responsibility theme in the aforementioned moment and in one unreleased cue. It should be noted that many of Elfman’s mannerisms are carried over to Giacchino’s own Spider-Man theme. These include urban percussion and more gloriously the ascending choir that graced the final swinging scenes of the first two Sam Raimi films. Continue reading