Review Summary: Bizarrely inapt.
What kind of music do you think of when you imagine an action-adventure movie centering on a billionaire-turned-superhero explosively battling against his enemies in a robotic bodysuit? I would think that rock or possibly even light metal music would spring to mind for most, and the soundtrack for the first Iron Man film hit the nail on the head in that regard by featuring an assortment of AC/DC tracks that not only provided the perfect balance of sharp edge and playful energy for the big screen adaptation of the comic book character, but whose confident tone complimented the witty personality of protagonist Tony Stark.
Now, Heroes Fall
claims that the collection of songs we have before us are all “music inspired by the motion picture,” however, I sure as hell can’t comprehend how a movie that looks to be absolutely action-packed could inspire a package entirely comprised of atmospheric indie pop songs as underwhelming and delicate as these. While the visceral atmosphere that artists such as Passion Pit and Awolnation offer in their songs could potentially be likened to scenes of aerial soaring in the film, whatever influence the movie had on these fragile tracks is sparse and difficult to grasp. Perhaps the inspiration lies in the themes of the songs and not the music style itself, as song titles such as 3OH!3’s “Bad Guy” at least acknowledge that there is indeed an antagonist in the film…no? Well, disregarding the slight potential significance of what the song titles may have in common with the movie, the name of the Awolnation track “Some Kind of Joke” at least does its job of accurately pinpointing what this soundtrack album is in and out.
As for the music itself, if the idea was to have a bundle of tracks from indie artists that make atmospheric music, then very poor choices were made in this case. The songs here aren’t necessarily of astoundingly poor quality, but they really just make absolutely no sense in the context of the Iron Man franchise; at least stylistically. Though even standalone and outside of the Iron Man tag, the majority of these songs are only decent at best. While that 3OH!3 song is a complete and utter joke that unquestionably shares nothing in relation to Iron Man on any level, artists like Neon Trees and Capital Cities inject their contributions with so much sugary production that it’s almost cringe-worthy to listen to them here.
One could argue that the intentions behind this move were to make a soundtrack album full of music choices that the common person wouldn't expect to be connected to an action film like Iron Man 3, but it really just comes off as painfully inappropriate for the movie it’s based on rather than unpredictable, and seems more like an attempt to cash in on the indie pop/rock genre's current resurgence in popularity on mainstream radio waves. The ebullient and uproarious pulse the Iron Man movies are known for is completely gone against with music that provides the exact opposite: tame and vapid indie pop that’s far too unsuitably reserved to convey any apparent “inspiration” from the upcoming third installment in the Iron Man film series.