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‘Every Frame a Painting’ Reveals Why the Marvel Universe Lacks Memorable Scores

Why is the sound of superhero films so predictable? Tony Zhou investigates the negative influence of "temp music" in his new video essay "The Marvel Symphonic Universe."

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)


The “Every Frame a Painting” series thrives on analyzing the best in cinema in order to illustrate masterful techniques like the magic of visual comedy, composing movement or the power of editing. Yet the channel’s newest video, released today, goes in a different direction, breaking down “temp music” and how it has taken the magic out of rich film scores, using the generally well-received Marvel Cinematic Universe as an example of what can go wrong.

READ MORE: ‘Ghostbusters’ Trailer Review: Every Frame A Painting’s Tony Zhou Analyzes Comedy Editing

Temp music, as described in the video, is “when you’re editing a film, and you take music from another movie and use it temporarily in your cut.” Unfortunately, in the competitive blockbuster world, composers are often pressured to create music that mimics the feel of the temp music just within legal limits. Because of this, many scores for the industry’s biggest films sound the same.

So how could studios ensure that their scores are powerful and unique? Narrator Tony Zhou theorizes that the key is, “risk: the kind of risk that creates an emotional connection with the audience, so that they carry the music with them. People do not remember safe choices; only bold, original music can do this.”

Watch the full video breakdown below:

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