• Jacob Ng

Brian Tyler Has Reinvented Movie Themes for the Final Instalment of the MCU's Iron Man Trilogy



In 2013, a legendary piece of movie music entered the world. It was Brian Tyler's Iron Man 3, from Iron Man 3 (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). The score was composed for the movie titled Iron Man 3 and is played in the opening credits of the film. The theme is also used again in Battle Finale, another piece in Iron Man 3, which is played in the climax of the film.


This is Brian Tyler's 49th film score, with other notable scores including Now You See Me, Crazy Rich Asians and Avengers: Age of Ultron. He is also responsible for the re-arrangement of the Universal Fanfare and the new Marvel Fanfare.


Brian Tyler

The score was written for Marvel's 2013 film "Iron Man 3", featuring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts and Don Cheadle as James Rhodes. This is the third and final iteration of the Iron Man theme, transitioning from more care-free themes by Black Sabbath and AC/DC to a more intense melodic-based theme with a full orchestra. Brian Tyler acknowledged that the theme needed to be darker than that of the first two films because the film followed Tony Stark's situation following the 2012 film "The Avengers".

Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3

The score was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra accompanied by a choir.


Iron Man 3's soundtrack won the BMI Film Music Award and was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Music and the IFMCA Award for Best Original Score for a Action/Adventure Film.


The piece in played in 4/4 time with a speed of ♩= 134, with a total duration of 2:24 minutes. The piece is in a minor key, E minor. Most superhero/action themes are composed in minor keys due to their larger capability to portray emotion. In this piece, a triumphant feeling is conceivable through the moving melody. The theme follows the chord progression Em C A Em C A Em G D C D Bm or i VI IV i VI IV i III VII v, a total of 6 chords. This progression is quite interesting due to its use of a minor root, but the subdominant is major. Also, the dominant is minor, which is very uncommon in any musical composition as the dominant should always be major.


The basic melody and chord progression of Iron Man 3


The main melody and chord progression repeat multiple times, giving a sense of unity. The piece changes key near the end of the piece to G minor, the mediant of E minor. The key going up further increases the tension of this piece. After the key change, the same chord progression is followed, just transposed up 3 semitones.


With all this in mind, Brian Tyler's Iron Man 3 has solidified itself as one of the decades most recognisable movie themes, among the ranks of Alan Silvestri's "The Avengers" and John William's "Main Title". The melodic theme has implemented into many of the future films and will forever be remembered as a staple of movie music.

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©2019 Jacob Ng