- Composed by Marco Beltrami
- Sony Classical / 2013 / 59m
The X-Men series of films reached its sixth instalment in 2013 with the second Wolverine-centric instalment, Hugh Jackman continuing in his most famous role. Incredibly, each of the six films has had a different composer. The best score by far of the previous five was John Powell’s for X-Men: The Last Stand, and the only other one that wasn’t awful was Michael Kamen’s score for the very first film. Marco Beltrami seemed a safe enough pair of hands to take over. Inevitably, he steers clear of reprising any music from the earlier films (Harry Gregson-Williams’s entirely forgettable score for the immediate precursor to this one, the cumbersomely-entitled X-Men Origins: Wolverine, would have been the obvious candidate, but I’d defy anyone to find anything in there worth reprising). Sadly he doesn’t really take the opportunity to finally establish a compelling musical tone for the character (let alone the series), with a score that could politely be described as “functional” but which is unlikely to generate much excitement away from the film.
Beltrami establishes an incredibly dark tone – huge parts of the score consist of oppressive percussion (including mighty Japanese drums, reflective of the film’s setting) with brass stings and murky string runs around them. Some of it’s actually quite sophisticated, particularly the more elaborate percussion; it’s just not the sort of thing I would ever actually want to listen to. There are some quieter moments – there’s a dignified heroism running through the low-key “Hold My Sword” which is very impressive – but actually this is one of the more abrasive scores of Beltrami’s career, even more so than World War Z which he wrote shortly beforehand. A couple of the action cues are more vintage Beltrami and these are fantastic but far too much of the album consists of monotone brooding drone for it to work for me as a piece of entertainment. Kudos to the composer for writing something this challenging; but it’s better kept in the film.