"X-Men Days Of Future's Past"
Music By John Ottman
Sony Classical/Sony Masterworks
22 Tracks/Disc Time: 77:16
After the surprising success of "X-Men First Class" which reinvigorated the franchise with it's strong young cast of rising stars in James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult and Oscar Winner Jennifer Lawrence. When the next installment, "Days Of Future's Past" was announced with great enthusisam as the original cast from the previous films including Oscar nominees Hugh Jackman and Sir Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart and Oscar Winner Halle Berry and director Bryan Singer to reunite to make a grand new vision. The film begins literally after "The Wolverine" in which Professor Xavier (Stewart) and Magneto (McKellan) encounter Wolverine (Jackman) at the airport and approach him for a far more serious mission which involves the lifehood of all mutants as the X-Men send him to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants involving a new villain Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinkledge "Game of Thrones") who creates the Sentinels, mechanical weapons designed to eliminate the entire mutant race. The film has garnered very strong reviews so far and like "Godzilla" should provide some blockbuster fireworks for all upcoming Summer films to come.
One of the most important assets the "X-Men" franchise has always had was the music starting with the stirring work of the late Michael Kamen to John Powell and the more recent work of Henry Jackman, which was a strong score. In between was the solid work of composer and the film's editor John Ottman, who write a memorable score for "X-Men United" that still ranks amongst his best works. Ottman had intended to score "The Last Stand", but had to leave when Director Bryan Singer and his crew left to do "Superman Returns". After a lengthy ten year wait, Ottman returns to the franchise as well and has written a score that makes you feel like he hadn't left in the first place. The score filled with plenty of action, drama and thematic material that is one of his strongest scores since "Valkyre" and "Astro Boy".
Starting with the "The Future/Main Title" the score gets off to an optimistic start with a nice choral piece mixed with the "horns of hell" (an ode to Hans Zimmer) which sieges into his more aggressive X-Men theme which was the key signature of what made "X-Men United" so good. Ottman does create some really nice themes for this score that include "Hope (Xavier's Theme)", a nice subtle piece for X-Men's benevolent leader with a tender keyboard solo that leads to a more upbeat and fuller rendition with brass and sweeping string work. The major criteria of this score is mostly action and plenty of suspense that is effective for what is intended to do and especially in an X-Men film. Stand out tracks such as "Saigon/Logan Arrives", which features a kick ass guitar theme, "I Found Them", "Paris Pandemonium", "Rules Of Time", "Time's Up (Film Version), and "The Attack Begins" that do feature solid melodic and propulsive material with a purpose. Ottman's key success to this score is the more subtle material that does take after the "Hope" theme that in a way has a dark/light duality to it in the tracks "Join Me", "I Have Faith In You/Goodbyes", "All Those Voices", "Pentagon Plan/Sneaky Mystique", "He Lost Everything" and has a little fun in "Springing Erik", with some neat guitar work along with some hip synthesizer beats which actually are very good.
Sony Masterworks album is one that is packed full of Ottman's material at around 70 minutes which is a healthy amount of the score which is always welcome. It is an invigorating work for the most part that will remind you of Ottman's best work at times from when he was on his way to becoming one of Hollywood's A-List talents, which he still surely is despite alot of a flaws throughout thanks to some obvious temp track issues. This score really puts him firmly back on the path to where he was ten years ago writing excellent material for films that deserve it and this is definitely one of them. "X-Men Days Of Future's Past" is another one of the early summer's solid scores that you will love or hate and fans of both Ottman and the X-Men franchise will truly appreciate and love it for what it is. Thumbs Up.