Ranking 10 memorable Villain/anti-hero themes in Comic Book Movies12 min read
I don’t know about you but I love villains , sometimes even more than a hero. They are like the combustive and chaotic element in a otherwise quite peaceful room. Anti-heroes are sometimes the more interesting characters who have a part of bad attached with them. Themes intrigue the depths of the complexity of a villain. It does the same for an anti-hero. Today we look onto a list of 10 such villainous themes which stands out of the rest.
The list considers all the movies released till date ( May 2018).It is to be noted , though , that the list is purely made keeping only the quality of the theme in mind and not any other attributes of the character. With that out of the way , lets rank down the top 10 villain scores in comic book movies of all time :
10. X24 by Marco Beltrami
The worst part of the otherwise brilliantly crafted Logan may not be much of a character , but he is followed by a disturbing music. Marco Beltrami dips into his musical sense to pick something out which is reminiscent of a something alien entering in a peaceful room filled with people trying to be happy. X-24 , meant to be portrayed as Wolverine’s former soul-less self.
And that is what makes the music so : ferocious , unstoppable and scary. Depending upon your choice , this might or not make into your list. But one can sincerely not avoid the complex depth and menacing ability of the tone. Also it is to be noted the note is a perfect reciprocal of the fast and heroic music that plays during Loco Logan and Forest Fight.
9. Black Spider-man by Christopher Young
Apart from a few dazzling posters and wallpapers Spider-man 3 turned out to be a disappointment. But there are always something good in everything. Take this Black Spider-man theme for example. Christopher Young improvised a cynical twist to the brilliant heroic theme made by Danny Elfman which was Marvel logo’s companion for a long time.
Black Spider-man is not completely a villain , thanks to Peter Parker still in the symbiote. If you are confused between a villain and an anti-hero you should try out our article explaining the difference. This particular music demonstrates a hero who is under a sinister influence very beautifully. The trumpets play but in a more evil and subdued way and finally paves way to a beautifully orchestrated piece.
8. Winter Soldier by Henry Jackman
Russo Brother’s directorial debut still is my favorite MCU movie but today we will talk about a different thing. The Winter Soldier’s theme is seriously under-rated in my opinion. Just by listening to the music , a music lover can easily pick out the elements of the character it is being played for , even if he doesn’t know Bucky and his story.
The music starts like a thousand souls yelling in the fire of hell. But soon it picks up the intimidating and unstoppable force of the Winter Solider. Mindless and dependent on a robotic part , there are some external tempos present in the score which represent the mechanical attribute of Bucky Barnes. Unfortunately , this theme is a one-movie thing.
7. Electro theme by Hans Zimmer
The Amazing Spider-man was a huge disappointment for me since I loved the potential the first movie provided. However one just can not avoid the beauty of a score Zimmer considered making out of Electro. Probably this might be the one thing that makes the antagonist bearable. The weirdly admirable fast and in-coherency of the track gives us an insight of what Zimmer perceives as Electronic music and it’s definitely not your regular EDM.
The music sees the peaceful starting music getting totally disturbed by the under-lying noise prevelant throughout , and that might be the way Zimmer perceived Electro and his powers. I am glad he did because had the creative team paid that much attention to the movie , the franchise might still be alive. Wait , would that be a good thing , though ?
6. Killmonger theme by Ludwig Göransson
Black Panther is a cinematic marvel in terms of representative story-telling in comic book movies. It is now almost at the edge of a 700 million domestic gross and will be influencing Marvel Cinematic Universe forever. But what is the most appealing thing you found in Black Panther ? I am willing to bet that most of you people will say Michael B. Jordan’s Eric Killmonger who was more relatable to most of us than the hero himself.
With every attribute on point with the extraordinary acting skills of Jordan and brilliant direction by Coogler , how could the music go wrong ? Ludwig Göransson’s music is one of the most appealing things in Black Panther and its essence carry forward in this villainous track as well. Burrowing a musical range as wide as Killmonger’s emotional one , the score escalates from a helpless boy to a man hell bent on revenge. Just take a moment to admire the music.
Since he is composing Venom next , we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
5. Lex theme by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL
Even if you didn’t like Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor , you can not resist yourself from admiring his score in Batman v Superman. Luthor has had a plethora of runs in the lore and he can be demonstrated from a total megalomaniac to a complete humanitarian depending on the story. As you can hear , the music is based on mathematical madness , crazy but genius level calculative. Just as Lex Luthor is….or at least should be.
What’s admirable about the music is the blend of piano and violin Zimmer uses to display the threatening presence of Lex who works more on his brain than his body. and then he goes on to emphasize that with operatic elements throughout the score which demonstrates the classical attributes of the character.
4. Magneto theme by Henry Jackman
Magneto has one of the most powerful presence in the Marvel anti-hero history and has a rich legacy with him. Michael Fassbender’s version of the younger Magneto fleshes out the character more from Ian Mckellen’s version which was seriously unexplored. But one of the most appealing thing of Fassbender’s Erik Lehnsherr is his music theme. Henry Jackman’s contribution doesn’t end with Captain America and Big Hero 6 but also extends to the X-Men universe.
The music has a menacing and unstoppable feel to it just as the Omega powered Erik is on the screen. Together they make one of the most unavoidable presence on screen. The music is fortunately not a one movie thing and still powers Magneto on the big screen. We will be able to witness the music once again in Dark Phoenix next year.
3. Zod theme by Hans Zimmer
Zod is still regarded the best villain in the DC Films even after 5 years of expansion. And it will be a seriously bad thing not to consider the extremely powerful music behind such a powerful and dutiful villain. Michael Shannon’s Dru-Zod is one of the most powerful villain of the Superman who hails from the same planet as him. But he has a different approach to life than Superman who believes in living in harmony with all beings.
Zimmer’s powerful music breathes a new life into the character as he stomps havoc on screen. While the music is as integrated between the hero and villain as much as they are related in the lore , there is a significant contrast between the two. Superman’s music consists of 2 nodes – a sweet motherly hum which escalates to a heroic crescendo clearly
visible audible in ‘The First Flight’. Zod’s music consists of low menacing beats which escalates to a high-end destructive drum orchestra.
2. Joker Theme by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard
Even after 10 years and plenty of great comic book movies comprising the likes of Logan , Winter Soldier and Avengers : Infinity War ; this still remains my favorite. It is widely even argued to be a cinematic classic and the best superhero motion picture of all time. But the music gets under-rated because of the other classical attributes of the movie ; which shouldn’t be the case. The movie is a celebration of many things – and good music is a needful ingredient in the composition.
The most admirable thing about the music is that it starts up as a slow ignition which gradually grows on you like an approaching storm. In real life , it compares to a sound of an approaching sound of a train. And then it suddenly picks up a maniacally destructive tone that is reminiscent of the on-screen anarchy. The movie does not care to dive into the clown prince of crime’s origin and neither does the music. The music has many nodes – but it all leads into one character – The Joker.
Before we go on to the first rank , here are some honorable mentions. I want to remind you again that the honorable mentions are too based on just the judgement of how the theme is. It is irrespective of how good or bad a villain/anti-hero is :
See you….in Hell by Christopher Drake from The Dark Knight Returns Pt II :
The God of War by Rupert Gregson-Williams from Wonder Woman :
Thanos’s Victory by Alan Silvestri from Avengers : Infinity War :
One Man Army Deadshot Track by Steven Price from Suicide Squad :
So , now let’s jump to the number one in the list :
1. Bane’s theme by Hans Zimmer
One honest confession before proceeding : This would never have made it to #1 if the list was not based solely on the theme. Not that I dislike Bane or TDKR but the music is just way ahead. Zimmer and Nolan’s last collaboration on Batman went full on with The Dark Knight rises. I have NEVER felt both motivated and intimidated by a track than this one. My immune system seriously goes haywire when the Deshi Bashara starts playing.
There is an array of emotions in the score from low-beat drums to high beat orchestrated chaos to a blend of both.The track maintains its surmountable amount of rage throughout and there is not a moment where you feel you had too much of it. Several well known tracks has sought inspiration from this track including Brothers in Arms from Mad Max Fury Road , The God of War in Wonder Woman and several more. It never gets old.
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