X-Men Origins: Wolverine – music by Harry Gregson-Williams

X-Men Origins: Wolverine - music by Harry Gregson-WilliamsWhile this fourth installment of the comic-inspired film franchise finally gives in to an unabashed celebration of the character (and, let’s face it, the actor who plays him) who has intrigued both long-time X-Men fans and uninitiated viewers for ten years, it’s an understatement to say that there’s been a little less cohesion behind the scenes. Each of the X-Men films has been handled by a different composer, with no one under any apparent obligation to build upon the themes established by his predecessors. The X-Men films have been scored by some top-flight talent as well, from John Ottman (Superman Returns) to no less than the late Michael Kamen.

It’s into that august company that rising star Harry Gregson-Williams (The Chronicles Of Narnia) steps with his score for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. His two scores for the Narnia movies thus far are worth mentioning, because the Wolverine score very strongly resembles those: many passages of Wolverine can be described, in a nutshell, as “Narnia, but darker.” Wolverine delves more into screeching string crescendos, electric guitar textures, and dark, pulsating electronics.

One of the strengths of Wolverine – the movie – is its obvious focus on one character. The score follows suit, but that turns out to be a musical weakness; much of the score CD has the same “feel” to it, with few major variations in the music to break the tension. Kayla gets a theme that strikes me as very Narnia, while an interesting motif creeps into the “Adamantium” cue (the scene in which we see the horrifying process Logan undergoes to become invincible), but then vanishes for the rest of the soundtrack. Would it really have killed anyone to, for example, roll out just a little hint of zydeco for Gambit’s scenes? That may sound silly, but we’re not talking about taking it to a ridiculous self-parodying degree that would take the viewer right out of the movie, but just enough of a flavoring to signify the character’s 3 out of 4presence. Instead, most of the scenes that don’t involve balls-to-the-wall, bold-and-brassy action music are kept to a menacing restrained thunder with few, if any, concessions to anything overtly thematic.

It’s an enjoyable enough listen, and a fine specimen of modern orchestral-with-a-smattering-of-electronic movie music that serves its visual accompaniment well, but Wolverine won’t be replacing Harry Gregson-Williams’ Narnia work as the composer’s definitive calling card anytime soon.

Order this CD

  1. Logan Through Time (4:16)
  2. Special Privileges (1:58)
  3. Lagos, Nigeria (5:10)
  4. Wade Goes to Work (1:29)
  5. Kayla (2:50)
  6. Victor Visits (2:05)
  7. Adamantium (4:17)
  8. Agent Zero Comes for Logan (3:06)
  9. To The Island (3:43)
  10. Deadpool (4:09)
  11. The Towers Collapse (3:23)
  12. Memories Lost (2:57)
  13. “I’ll Find My Own Way” (1:24)

Released by: Varese Sarabande
Release date: 2009
Total running time: 45:23