Picking up where “The Avengers” left off, “Iron Man 3” features a plethora of battle suits plus the appearance of a villain from the hero’s four-color adventures. Like superhero Tony Stark, Brian Tyler, the composer who wrote the score for this film, certainly had his hands full in the studio.
“I think [the producers] took the approach that they wanted it to be a musical experience as well while making it,” Tyler said when reached via telephone. “So the music doesn’t hide in the background; you can find that [happening] in films. In this case, they really featured it and wanted to make it like mixes in the vibe of films like ‘Star Wars.'”
During one key stunt sequence, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) changes armor several times in mid-air. Stark’s running, jumping and leaping take on an almost ballet-like quality thanks–in no small part–to Tyler’s music.
“In that whole sequence, I looked towards the Death Star sequence in ‘Star Wars,’ with the X-wings and the intercutting between all the action and how the music kind of carried it,” Tyler explained. “I felt that it really worked kind of physically in those scenes; to not get too frenetic, but really try and be melodic.”
With explosions dominating that scene, Tyler relied on that approach to help audiences fill in the notes that they may not hear.
“If a song is on the radio and it stops, you tend to continue it in your head if you know it already. In order to have the music really be heard when there are giant explosions and things, it wasn’t so much that you actually heard it, but your brain filled in the gaps,” he explained. “There were moments where the sound would overwhelm the speakers and kind of take over.”
Blending two types of scores for “Now You See Me”
Tyler also is the composer for “Now You See Me,” an adventure featuring four street magicians who appear to pull off incredible robberies. The composer said the story really requires merging two different kinds of film.
“You’re dealing with a heist film at the same time as a film about magicians. There’s a big difference in the types of scores that have been done for films like that; they’ve never really been combined. We weren’t even sure that they could combine,” he said. “We wanted to use something breezy and fun, kind of 60’s vibe for the heist side of it. “Charade” kind of came to mind and certainly others.”
Combining that vibe with magical overtones was, in Tyler’s words, really tricky and really challenging.
“There are the magical aspects, which have that shimmery strings and chimes and all sorts of magical sounds that you would hear tonally in something like Harry Potter. On the other side, you have this sort of Lalo Schifrin groove, James Bond-style score. Combining those was kind of crazy,” Tyler said.