X-Men: Days of Future Past made its triumphant return to theaters about a month ago. The film reunited viewers with original X-Men and X2 director Bryan Singer and featured the casts of those films as well as those of the newer X-Men: First Class. Another returning player is composer John Ottman (he’s also the film’s editor). After all of these X-men films, he’s the senior composer with two, yes two, movies. The late Michael Kamen did scoring duties on the original film, Ottman was in for X2, then was followed by (ready?): John Powell, Harry Gregson-Williams, Henry Jackman, and Marco Beltrami. This, unfortunately gives the X-Men films the same problem that I feel the Marvel Cinematic Universe has (more on that in another article). There is just no cohesiveness of the score. Film to film, the film and character’s themes vary. Want to hear Wolverine’s The Wolverine theme? Nope, not here. How about Xavier or Mageto’s themes from First Class? Nope, they’re not here either. Ottman only features his own X2 theme in “The Future – Main Titles” as well as “Welcome Back – End Titles” but the rest of the soundtrack is original to this film.
There are some hard hitting action pieces including two tracks called “Time’s Up”, one the “original” version and the other the “film version” , as well as “The Action Begins”. These pieces are metallic and electric rock with some choral chants and heavy percussion mixed in. They are powerful, really cool sounding, and the constant strings and electronic pulse on the tracks make them feel like they belong in an X-Men movie. I’d also like to put in a huge plug for “Springing Erik,” which places as a cool 007/Ocean’s Eleven-type piece.
On the flip side, there are some tranquil and reflective pieces. “Hope (Xavier’s Theme)” is a real standout. Also, “Join Me” and “He Lost Everything” are soft and a bit standard for emotional-sounding sections of superhero movies.
Overall, I’d like to see John Ottman return for X-Men: Apocalypse if for no other reason then so that as we continue to rebuild the X-Men cinematic universe, we can have some continuity with the scores. Will I throw the X-Men: Days of Future Past on my ipod for future listening? Yeah, but other than a handful of the 20 orchestral tracks, it basically serves as background music to a really great movie.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is now available from Sony Classical wherever music is sold, or click our Amazon link: