06 January 2012

Ranking Superhero Movie Theme Songs

The time has come to rank the top superhero movie themes of all time... well at least of the last 40 years. In order to make the cut, there were a few basic rules. 

1) The theme had to come from a movie. Sorry Wonder Woman, Justice League Unlimited, and Greatest American Hero, you will have to duke it out another day.

2) The original song couldn't just be in a superhero movie, but needed to be the actual theme music. Sorry Star Spangled Man.

3) The theme needed to be memorable, recognizable, and enjoyable. You may say "D'uh" but 2003's Hulk theme for example fit the character and can be easily recalled, but I don't ever desire to listen to it.   

And off we go...

10) X-Men (X2)

I don't think the X-Men movie theme fully materialized until their second outing, but when it finally came together it offered a majestic theme that hinted at the theme from the 1990's animated series without being quite so noisy.

9) Spider-Man

Of all the themes on the countdown, this one may have taken the longest to grow on me, but now I can't hear it without thinking of the Web-Slinger.  I also feel there is a weight to the song that makes reminds me of the "with great power comes great responsibility" theme of the character.

8) X-Men First Class

This may be the most underrated theme on the list. I don't remember it getting a lot of praise when it came out, but I really think its a solid theme and a lot more subtle than the previous X-Men theme.

7) Iron Man

Although the first song you think of when you think Iron Man is probably the Black Sabbath song, the theme is pretty solid. I enjoy this theme's high tech feel which compliments the character so nicely. Its not quite as memorable as some of the higher ranked themes, but its definitely got a cool factor.   

6) Captain America: The First Avenger

They should play this song on a constant loop at Army recruiting stations because listening to it makes me want to do my country proud. There is something rousing and inspirational and also nostolgic in this short theme.

5) Rocketeer

Along the same lines as the Captain America theme, this song instantly pulls you into a time when things were simpler and superheros didn't need powers, just jetpacks.

4) Batman Begins / The Dark Knight

Before the reboot, I couldn't imagine a Batman movie without the 1989 movie theme. Batman Begins was able to somehow give Batman a new sound that was energetic and catchy. Not quite the classic as the previous Batman theme, but still a mighty success.

3) Thor

Like so many aspects of Thor, the theme dodged cheesy and delivered something epic instead. How could you hear this song and not instantly cheer for the hero?

2) Batman

The amazing Batman theme manages to capture Batman's Gothic elements while retaining an adventurous feel. This masterpiece would be adapted for the animated series and would be emulated by the Flash TV series the following year would remain influential even  to 2011's Cape series. Other movies including The Shadow and even Spider-Man (which I realize was also composed by Danny Elfman) seem to draw influence from Batman, but none are as iconic. Lets not even talk about the bombastic themes from Batman Forever and Batman and Robin which pale in comparison to the original.

1) Superman

If you have ever heard it, then I am sure it is no surprise that Superman tops the list of superhero themes. The notes of the orchestra practically sing "Superman" with a theme that captures the heart of the hero. I do not envy the composer for Man of Steel. Another amazing thing about the Superman movie score is that in addition to the main theme Can you Read My Mind, and The Planet Krytpon are also brilliant with Leaving Home nearly attaining classic status.

So, did I miss your favorite? or are my rankings right on?


  1. I have seen all the Superhero Movie Theme Songs. After hearing I download it. Out of all X-Men First Class, Iron Man, Thor, Superman that I really like very much.

  2. First Iron Man Main Theme is great. But it wasn't in 2nd movie and will be not in 3rd. Different composers not save the main title there...

    Old Burton's Batman Theme is the best of the best superhero music ever!