While there are now twenty-three movies that form the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios have worked hard to ensure that each film stands out in its own right. The Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor trilogies are all instantly identifiable through narrative themes and visual techniques, while still fitting neatly into the wider cinematic universe. Perhaps most importantly, each movie is given a carefully cultivated soundtrack.
The MCU is so successful because its appeal spans generations. While some viewers may remember classic tracks from their youth, others are hearing Led Zeppelin for the first time. Ragnarok director, Taika Waititi, had his own eye-opening moment during the film’s production, recounting how nobody recognized the soundtrack to his sizzle reel. The iconic song provides the starting point for this look at three of the best uses of songs in the MCU.
Led Zeppelin – ‘Immigrant Song’ – Thor: Ragnarok
— Soundtrack.Net (@SoundtrackNet) October 20, 2017
Waititi was insistent that ‘Immigrant Song’ should make the final cut – with good reason. Given that most authentic Nordic songs have been lost over time, Led Zeppelin is the next best thing. Robert Plant was inspired to write the lyrics after a trip to Iceland, with the rollicking music and Plant’s trademark howl making this song so iconic.
Its lyrics refer to Norse mythology, while also establishing the band’s position as one of the forefathers of Viking metal. From what we do know about the mystery of Viking war music, the warriors would unite in chants to strike both fear and dread into the hearts of their opponents. This fits perfectly into the movie, with the song putting the ‘rok’ in ‘Ragnarok’ (sorry).
Ramones – ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ – Spider-Man: Homecoming
Tom Holland’s first standalone outing as Spider-Man uses music cleverly to establish character while showing that the web-slinger, and Holland, has the potential to carry his own franchise. Rather than receiving the crunching guitars of AC/DC in the same manner as Tony Stark, Spider-Man was backed by the breezier sounds of punk legends, the Ramones.
The iconic track ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ is the perfect song to introduce us to Parker’s pre-Avengers lifestyle, with its ‘Hey! Ho! Let’s go!’ rallying cry a reflection of the teen’s enthusiasm. It seems as if Holland’s Spider-Man will develop with the Ramones at his side, with ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend’ featured in the sequel, Far From Home.
Redbone – ‘Come and Get Your Love’ – Guardians of the Galaxy
Both GotG and its sequel are filled with classic tunes that not only act as a feelgood soundtrack, but deliver moments of surprising poignancy. Star Lord being able to reconnect with his mother through music provides depth atypical of a superhero movie, made powerful by the contrast with the movies’ comedic stylings.
One song that stands out is ‘Come and Get Your Love’ by Redbone. Many first-time viewers of GotG would have been unfamiliar with the niche characters at this point – their first meeting with Chris Pratt’s Star Lord is of a thief boogying his way through a mysterious planet, blaring out ‘Come and Get Your Love’. The scene sets the tone and aesthetic perfectly for the rest of the franchise and is hilariously recreated in Avengers: Endgame.
When you have characters as super as these heroes, it is fitting that Marvel calls on some of rock’s iconic giants to provide the iconic soundtracks.