Spider-Man’s “Hero” is one of the most important songs in the superhero genre

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After some delays and creative changes, next week will finally mark the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Benedict Cumberbatch’s second solo Stephen Strange movie matters to many superhero fans, not who may look to have an eye-catching cameo, but for the man behind the camera. Sam Raimi’s return to the genre he helped propel to mega stardom with his Spider Man the trilogy is a big deal, so much so that the trailers for Multiverse named it, something only Eternals has already done with director Chloé Zhao.

Going back to those films is something that many are now doing with a view to Multiverse, and we ourselves did a retrospective on each film at the very beginning of the pandemic. Rather than repeating what has already been said by other writers, I just want us to be reminded of one simple fact about the original Spider Man Trilogy: They had some great soundtrack songs that absolutely stand the test of time, and the song from the first movie, “Hero,” is the greatest of them all. From Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger and then-Saliva lead singer Josey Scott, the song plays in the credits of the first film and became a cross-genre hit in 2002; it peaked at number one on the Modern Rock and Mainstream Rock charts for Billboard and was nominated in three categories, including Best Rock Song, at the 2003 Grammys. (Unfortunately, it lost in all three of its categories.)

Outside of its chart success, the song likely contributed greatly to the continued existence of Kroeger and Nickelback. While the group has been around since 1995, the internet has allowed them to occupy a strange niche in the internet space. Primarily, they existed as a punching bag despite not having objectively terrible music, and it would stay that way until people decided to admit yes, “Photograph” and “If Everyone Cared are both pretty good, and turned their weird anger on Imagine Dragons. (That’s to say nothing of the opening lyrics to “Photograph” managing to live on as a meme that’s still pretty funny.) For those who grew up with those movies like me, “Hero” was more than likely your first introduction. to Kroeger, and whatever you think of his work since then… come on, you can’t deny that you’d probably be singing along to “Hero” if someone randomly played it.

If Raimi is Spider Man the films are corny, as many have deemed them in the years since Spiderman 3, then “Hero” is the stuffed crust that makes everything even tastier. Brian Larson’s strings give the song a significant extra punch as Kroeger and Scott sing about their refusal to hold out for a hero until the end of the night. As cheesy as it is, it’s ultimately a song about finding the resolve to carry on and not wallow in complacency, the perfect song for a hero like Spider-Man, a walking tragedy pinball. Its music video of Kroeger, Scott, and the rest of the band performing the song on a rooftop feels dated, but also in tune with Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker being a street-level hero in the movies themselves. From his short guitar solo and smooth bridge to his outro that works way better than it should, there’s a commitment to himself that has made the song ever endearing. It’s basically a song for an OP anime that came way too soon, but still managed to make an impact of its own, despite that.

Spiderman 2 and Spiderman 3 have their own lead singles, respectively: Dashboard Confessional’s “Vindicated” and “Traffic lightby Snow Patrol. Although both songs are good on their own, neither of them reaches the greatness of its predecessor. “Vindicated” has a romantic side to it all its own that may make you think it was meant for a CW drama — which is more than fitting, considering most Spiderman 2 is based on the romantic arc of Peter and Mary Jane. (“Ordinaryby Train feels closer to “Hero’s” orbit, but again, it’s more wrapped in love than it is a singular person’s journey. When it became a song in the promo of Hero, that seemed more appropriate.) Meanwhile, “Signal Fire” was even more bittersweet in addition to a bittersweet movie, a far cry from the grand feats we originally started this whole adventure with. However, this is by no means a deciding factor; “Signal” is a more emotional song, and one that has taken on its own power now that we’ve gotten a definitive answer as to whether Peter and MJ made it or not.

Since the Raimi movies, most superhero movies treat music as an extra, optional feature rather than something that can help inform their characters. Big bands are all well and good, but we lost something by moving away from those “inspired by” albums, even if they were just decent songs to listen to in the car. Admittedly, recent years have seen a small upsurge; the original Suicide Squad the soundtrack is corny in a sense “this song is better than the movie it’s attached to” (see: the 50 shades movies), while Birds of prey rather contains jams of your choice to sing loud or dance while you are alone. spider worms has an excellent range of original songs to accompany his cheerful “Sunflower”, and both he and black panther organized album peaked collectively on par with Daft Punk’s album for tron the legacy.

The soundtracks for these films all have their own influences and inspirations, but “Hero” laid the groundwork. Multiverse of Madness probably isn’t hiding a Kroeger cameo or debut single that plays in the same space as that original song. The type of earnestness in this song is something that can no longer fully exist in the world of superheroes, even though it’s what helped the genre – and Marvel in particular – become the juggernaut that millions of people are obsessed day after day.

Want more news from Gizmodo? Find out when to wait for the last wonder and star wars versions, what’s next for the DC Universe in Film and TVand everything you need to know about Dragon House and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.


Editor’s note: The release dates in this article are based in the US, but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.


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