X-Men: Apocalypse. Original Soundtrack by John Ottman (CD review).

There are many tonal differences between the Marvel and DC Cinematic Universes. While fun and colour dominate the Marvel world, the DC world opts for a dark palette and even darker feel. While light-hearted banter is key in the world of Marvel, their DC counterparts go for a more operatic and gruff turn of phrase.


The soundtracks of these films are also markedly different in tone. Hans Zimmer has been the main composer of the soundtracks for the DC Cinematic Universe (with Nolan’s ‘Batman’ trilogy, ‘Man Of Steel’ and ‘Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice’ all under his belt) and his thudding percussion has become something of a trademark for their more ominous tone. The scores of the Marvel Universe are much lighter and triumphalist in nature.

While not strictly a film in the MCU (as it’s from 20th Century Fox), ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ continues this trend. While the film itself tries to deal with the kind of, pardon the pun, apocalyptic themes so beloved on the DC Universe, it does so with nod and a wink and John Ottman delivers a score to match.

From the opening tracks, this a bold and brassy affair with the likes of ‘Pyramid Collapse/Main Titles’ getting the heart racing for what is to come. They also contains hints of the doom to unfurl over the rest of the movie, often a choir brings that Omen-esque ‘end of the world’ vibe. But there’s a lightness of touch here with an almost Danny Elfman-like quality. When Ottman needs to go really dark, he hands over to Beethoven such as with the track ‘Beethoven Havoc’. The use of part of the ominous 7th symphony, which non-classical music fans will recognise from films ranging from ‘The King’s Speech’ to ‘Zardoz’, is slightly clichéd but still feels in keeping with the rest of the score.

Given Ottman’s status as both a frequent collaborator of Singer’s and the editor of the film, it’s unsurprising that his soundtrack comes across as an effortless score with hints of the unique outside of the mass of super-hero soundtracks that are now par for the course. It will most likely be a must for any hardcore X-Men fans but those looking for a fun super-hero soundtrack, without having their ears powdered to dust by Hans Zimmer’s drums, won’t go far wrong neither.

Laurence Boyce

June 2016

(pub: Sony Music Classical, 2015. 1 CD 25 tracks, 76 min. Price: £ 9.99 (UK). ASIN: B01DD5N4R4)

check out website: www.sonymusic.co.uk

Laurence Boyce

Laurence Boyce is a film journalist who likes Bond, Batman and Doctor Who (just to prove the things he enjoys things that don't just start with a 'B'). He is also a film programmer for various film festivals in the UK and abroad.

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