“Let’s Just Say I’m Frankenstein’s Monster”
So on my last couple of soundtrack reviews, I read the same kind of comments from people – “I didn’t notice the music when I was watching this film”.
And that’s absolutely fine, I don’t always notice it either – consciously at least . I often end up buying soundtracks because they’re ‘cool’ or hard to get hold of or I just end up listening to them on YouTube and enjoy the music.
So today I really wanted to go with something of the complete opposite – that is to say, a soundtrack I ONLY bought because I noticed the music in the film.
And ‘X-Men: First Class’ is the perfect example because whilst I do really rate the movie, it’s certainly not a soundtrack I bought for the kudos. No, I bought it marginally for Magneto’s Theme.
Magneto’s Theme is best explained by likening it to Darth Vader’s Imperial March (hi to my soundtrack buddy Drew!). It’s bad guy music and it follows Michael Fassender’s character Erik/Magneto throughout the movie, playing prominently and especially when he is angry or in a dramatic state.
The base version is this –
But there are variations played through-out, dependent on the scene, the same basic music is used but tweaked to fit with the atmosphere.
My favourite scene is undoubtedly when Magneto goes to the Argentinian bar looking for the Nazi war criminals. I’ve spoken about it before in other posts, most recently here (in fact a video of the whole scene is in this post if you want to watch the action as well as hearing the music).
It’s a very tense, very exciting scene, partly down to the story line and Fassbender himself, who is typically outstanding and bilingually-sexy. But it’s also down to the music – Magneto’s Theme with a twangy edge. It grows from something understated and subtle (though still kinda scary) to full blown Erik Lehnsherr terror.
It’s beautifully dramatic, bad arse and generally makes me feel like a legend. I’m fairly certain I’m not alone in loving this scene or the musical theme. Are there any other big fans out there reading this?
So the entire score was written by Henry Jackman, a British composer and musician who has worked on other comic book / action movies (he recently scored Kingsman and Captain America: The Winter Soldier).
Unfortunately Jackman didn’t get to work on Days of Future Past (2014), because a director from the distant past (yes I meant to say that) was brought in, Bryan Singer – who has his own musical collaborator in the form of composer John Ottman. The two of them have a Spielberg/Williams thing going on. It’s a shame that Magneto’s Theme never got brought into the sequel but who knows if it would have worked as well. There’s something very old fashioned about the First Class soundtrack and being set in the 1960s, I know it wasn’t unintentional.
Though ironically, Ottman’s score for Days of Future Past did feature a recurring X-Men theme, from X2 (2003) – which was part of the original X-Men movie franchise and nowhere near as moving, for me anyway.
I know I haven’t mentioned much about the other tracks on the soundtrack but that’s not to say I don’t like them. I just really, really, really like Magneto’s Theme (if you couldn’t guess that).
I’d say the main theme simply called ‘First Class’ is the next best score on the album and I’ve actually heard it played over the top of TV shows since hearing it for the first time, but that often happens with strong scores from movies, you start hearing them all over the place – from Britain’s Got Talent to a documentary about Tourettes.
And can I just say that no matter how cool and talented and handsome Mr Michael Fassbender is, NO-ONE can make this pose look cool.
I always giggle at this scene, always! Corny as hell.