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Soundtrack review: Guardians of the galaxy vol. 2 (Tyler Bates – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Guardians of the galaxy vol. 2 (Tyler Bates – 2017)

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“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” is a 2017 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team Guardians of the Galaxy, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the fifteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is written and directed by James Gunn and stars an ensemble cast featuring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, with Sylvester Stallone, and Kurt Russell. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Guardians travel throughout the cosmos as they help Peter Quill learn more about his true parentage. Since the whole GOTG concept relies heavily on 80s nostalgia I’m sure I’m not the only one who is excited a lot about the Tango and Cash reunion. I do hope Sly and Kurt will have a scene together, maybe just a high five or a nod. Tyler Bates returned to write the score.

The operative words for this franchise are adventure and fun so that’s what I am expecting from the score. I know the 80s angle is handled in the soundtrack mix so I am not looking for a lot of synths in this score. I just want to be entertained. “Showtime A-holes” is a nice start as it channels a bit of Star Trek Giacchino goodness. I am pleasantly surprised by the choral work in the beginning of the score because it ups the epic quality of the music. Not even 5 minutes in and I feel the need to pump up the volume; that’s always a good sign. The composer wastes no time in also introducing small playful and emotional anchors to broaden the musical range of this album.

A cue like “Space chase” gives me all I need from a score like “Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2”; I’m not looking for sophistication I am looking for action and fun and I am just delighted by the richness of this track. I am right there in the middle of the mayhem and I am enjoying myself as Tyler Bates pulls no stops with percussion and horns and general loudness. He follows that up with “Family history” which for me is a beautiful and intense love theme suitable for a space opera. I’ve often regarded Bates as more of a one-dimensional composer who is great at bringing industrial rock into film music but this score expands my view of him and makes me realize he could score a different kind of movies as well.

But action is still his favorite playing ground and he rules it with mighty power. Every time he puts pedal to the metal I just forget any other thoughts and enjoy the adrenaline rush. The middle part of the album is just spectacular and I’m sure you guys will enjoy it too. But what I liked the most about this score though is that it made me feel; I’m not just talking about the heart pumping moments but also about the emotional rays that brought warmth inside me and an impatience to go home and hug my parents. Somehow in cues like “Dad”, “A total Hasselhoff” (yes…this is an actual cue title which alongside “Mary Poppins and the rat” takes the listening experience even a bit beyond music”) and “Sisters” I found something honest to connect to. I can’t wait to see the stories these cues were written for.

A well rounded, varied and (did I mention?) fun score, “Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2” managed to raise even more my expectations of the movie. Tyler Bates knocked it out of the park. Or planet. You get the idea.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 29 / 43

Album excellence: 67%

Highlights:

vs the Abilisk

Space chase

Family History

Mammalian Bodies

Two-Time-Galaxy Savers

Ego

Kraglin and Drax

The Expansion

Gods

Dad

A Total Hasselhoff

Sisters

Guardians of the Frickin Galaxy

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Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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