- Review by Kaya Savas - April 16, 2019
Pinar Toprak brings Captain Marvel to life in the 21st film from Marvel Studios’ cinematic universe. The film takes us back to introduce Captain Marvel to the timeline, and sets her up as the secret weapon to help take down Thanos in Avengers: End Game. Toprak follows a long list of great composers that have already contributed to Marvel’s cinematic universe, and she gets to add her stamp to the legacy. The score is able to capture that old-school heroism from the past yet also bring a modern feel that helps give Captain Marvel her own identity.
Toprak made sure that Captain Marvel had a theme that was worthy of the character, and the theme of the score is the soul of the music here. But thankfully Toprak’s melodic writing style also infused the body of the score with wonderful scene building to make some of the moments stick a lot better than they would without music. Synths play a big role here as well, and the score is infused with retro synths that give the music a personality of its own. Tori Letzler and Steve Davis provided some additional synth programming and arranging that truly helped the score have unique elements. Pinar was able to utilize these sounds to flesh out the music in unique ways to build a foundation for the world of Captain Marvel. Structurally, we are taken into an exciting final act that gives us some fun action moments, even though if by the time we get there we were hoping for more moments of emotional pull.
The problem of introducing an integral character of this magnitude this late in the game, is that Marvel is essentially forcing audiences to meet and become attached and accept her as this integral puzzle piece to their overarching story. Unfortunately, a composer can only work with what they’re given and can’t always perform miracles. Pinar does her best to make Carol Danvers relatable to the audience, but when you look at the film’s thin script and Brie Larson’s detached performance, not even a wonderfully colorful score can create a necessary emotional pull out of thin air.
Captain Marvel is a great superhero adventure that delivers the action and heroism goods as Marvel tends to do. Pinar Toprak’s score is what brings an amazing energy and an amazing textured sound palette into this film to bring Captain Marvel to life. The film is a fine distraction, and the score has enough of its own personality to make the adventure one worth taking.