The Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for a lot of things: creating a vast and interconnected universe, turning low-end heroes into star performers for moviegoers, and smashing the box office four times a year. Likewise, the mega-franchise is also adept enough to create a captivating soundtrack.
The MCU is often at its best when it includes classic rock songs as the backdrop for some of its most iconic scenes. While a good song from the 70s or 80s is always welcome in a fun movie, sometimes the inclusion of a song fits its scene so well that it elevates the whole movie accordingly.
ten “Smells like a teenage spirit”, Black Widow
Many fans remember Black WidowThe opening credits of the dark and brooding cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” performed by singer Malia J, which plays over a series of shots illustrating the presence of Black Widow agents through various integral moments of the history of the world.
This song, coupled with the visuals of the Black Widow program’s involvement in world politics during and after the Cold War, helped put the looming threat posed by General Dreykov and his army into perspective, also reminding audiences of the plot of tragic background of Natasha Romanov. up to his own solo film.
9 “It Takes Two”, Ant-Man and the Wasp
“It Takes Two” by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock was an integral part of the marketing campaign of Ant-Man and the Wasp in 2018, starring on several of the trailers. The title and lyrics of the song in this instance were used in allusion to the new partnership between the titular Ant-Man and the Wasp.
Needless to say, “It Takes Two” was a perfect choice from Marvel’s marketing department, which had an insurmountable task ahead of them in marketing the first MCU movie after Infinity War. This song not only referenced the film’s two superhero leads, but also let potential audiences know that this would be a lighter installment of the MCU than the previous film.
8 “Mr. Blue Sky”, Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2
ELO’s ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ Has a Starring Role in James Gunn Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2playing over the opening credits as Baby Groot dances happily, dodging the mayhem caused by his teammates battling a giant space monster nearby.
Given the importance of classic rock in this franchise, the perfect song was absolutely necessary to open this second installment. Coupled with Baby Groot’s adorable dance moves, this track set the tone for the film’s progress and shed light on a violent real-life action scene. Guardians style.
7 “Back in Black”, Iron Man
Few opening bars are more iconic than AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” which is memorable for a host of reasons, including as its 2008 opener. Iron Man. AC/DC is in truth kicking off the entire MCU, as Tony Stark’s original film would go on to spark the mega-franchise that dominates the box office today.
Using this song to open Tony Stark’s live debut was a perfect way to showcase the character’s style: brash, catchy and sleek. It also serves as a meta-reference to the career of Robert Downey Jr., in turn in Iron Man would truly serve as an announcement to the world that the disgraced former star was truly “back in black.”
6 “Dear Mr. Fantasy”, Avengers: Endgame
Many MCU fans would be hard-pressed to forget the franchise’s use of “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” the 1967 song by Chris Wood and Steve Winwood, with lyrics by Jim Capaldi. The track plays on the Marvel Studios banner in Avengers: Endgame right after Clint Barton suddenly lost his family in Thanos’ snap of his fingers.
“Dear Mr. Fantasy” is a dark and rather desperate replacement for the normally triumphant fanfare that usually accompanies the Marvel Studios banner before every MCU movie. The dreary tune and lyrics only serve to point out the many mistakes the Avengers made in the fight against Thanos, which led to the dire state of the world at the start of the film.
5 “The Magic Number”, Spider-Man: No Way Home
After a whirlwind of wish-fulfillment, Spider-Man: No Coming Home ended with a hymn singing the praises of number three. As Tom Holland’s third Spider Man trilogy and the film reuniting all three Spider-Men live on screen for the first time, De La Soul’s “The Magic Number” was the perfect way to close out the cinematic event of the year.
Although the end credits of this trilogy have always been flashy, there is a special quality to “The Magic Number” in this particular film, as it revels in its own achievement by making the one of the most unlikely wishes of Spider-Man fans, thus making No coming home one of the greatest superhero movies of all time.
4 “The Immigrant Song”, Thor: Ragnarok
Stay in touch with Nordic traditions, Thor: Ragnarok features a classic song filled with allusions to the same mythology that Thor hails from in its opening sequence with Led Zepplin’s “The Immigrant Song.” The track returns to the film’s climax, just as Thor reaches his full potential in the midst of battling his evil sister Hela.
Besides the very appropriate allusions to Norse mythology in the song, the way it is used in Ragnarok highlights Thor’s growth over the course of the film, as he “fights the hordes”, only to relent and take his people “to new lands” after the fall of Asgard.
3 “Come and Get Your Love”, Guardians of the Galaxy
Few songs have become more synonymous with the films in which they are featured than Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” featuring Guardians of the Galaxy. The song plays as the audience is introduced to Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill on Morag, where he steals the movie’s MacGuffin, the Power Stone.
Opening with this track was a perfect choice on the part of James Gunn, who, with just one scene, solidified the exact tone the franchise would have. It told viewers, who were somewhat skeptical of the movie at the time, that they were ready for a different kind of movie than they were used to in all the best ways.
2 “Back in Black”, Spider-Man: Far From Home
After making MCU history in the first Iron Man movie, AC/DC’s “Back in Black” once again appeared in Spider-Man: Far From Home. This time the track plays as Peter Parker builds himself a new costume before entering the final battle with Mysterio. The rookie superhero also hilariously credits the song to Led Zepplin, who he claims to “love.”
Eleven years after the release of Iron Man“Back in Black” Serves a More Meaningful Purpose in Tom Holland’s Second Spider Man movies. Far from home dealt largely with the fallout of Tony Stark’s death and Peter’s reluctance to fill his late mentor’s shoes. However, after a pep talk from Happy Hogan, Peter learns that he can honor Tony’s memory while still being his own hero. Just when he achieves this realization is when Tony’s signature song plays, a new type of Iron Man is born, and Spider-Man is finally established as the future leader of the MCU.
1 “Brandy (You’re a Beautiful Girl)”, Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2
Looking Glass’ biggest hit “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)” is integral to the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2. First played in the film’s opening flashback scene, Ego later explains to his son, Peter Quill, that this song represents the love affair between him and Meredith, Peter’s mother.
The lyrics of “Brandy” perfectly capture the events of Ego and Meredith Quill’s whirlwind romance. Ego and the sailor in the song were deeply in love with their respective lovers, but felt called to a higher purpose and therefore could not be with them: “my life, my lover, my lady is the sea”. Ego identified with the sailor, but ultimately misses the point of the song. Like the sailor who left Brandy behind, he gave up his only path to true happiness, a woman who would always love him, in favor of pursuing a calling he would never fulfill.
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