Composer of the month Franchises John Powell month

Soundtrack review: X-men: The last stand (John Powell – 2006)

John Powell’s composition is beautiful, epic and an orchestral wonder

 

“X-men” is my favorite superhero franchise. It holds a lot of sentimental value and I have become very attached to the stories and characters. Every new movie is a joy and an opportunity to binge watch previous movies. The original trilogy of the series ended with “The last stand”, a movie which was very polarizing: a lot of people (including myself) loved it while many others (including creator Bryan Singer) apparently hated it. It was the most expensive movie ever created at the time of its release.

The score is something truly special. A movie of such magnitude needed a larger than life score which didn’t held back. John Powell delivered it. I will only say this: “Phoenix arises” (the most important theme from “The last stand”) is my favorite motivational and inspirational running track outside of “Rocky IV”. The sheer power and adrenaline of this cue make me fly. The BPM and the epic buildup make this one of my favorite themes ever. Just listen to it and you might find yourself breaking walls and imagining you have no limits. It is one of the cues I listen to a few times every week without ever getting tired of it. The Dark Phoenix is one of the most tragic and complex characters of the franchise and she received an immortal theme.

“The last stand” is all about the battle themes. John Powell wrote some of his best cues for this one and found the perfect balance between action and emotion. Each battle cue has an emotional factor which increases its effect tenfold. Yes, there are filler cues (the shorter ones) but they fly by fast and link the music pieces that really matter. Anyway, you will forget all about them from “Dark Phoenix’s tragedy” on. The second half of the score is absolutely crushing and one of the most satisfying listening experiences for me. When you hear it in context it’s even better.

This is a superhero score I dearly recommend. John Powell’s composition is beautiful, epic and an orchestral wonder. You will have a very rewarding listening experience with this one! Me, I’m having a hard time listening to it when I’m not running. I feel as if I’d be wearing my running gear at a wedding. The themes from this score have become as important and linked to my runs as the Mizuno shoes.

Cue rating: 87 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 39 / 62

Album excellence: 63%

Highlights:

“20 Years Ago”

“Bathroom Titles”

“Whirlpool of Love”

“Dark Phoenix’s Tragedy”

“Farewell to X”

“The Funeral”

“Skating On the Pond”

“Cure Wars”

“St Lupus Day”

“Shock and No Oars”

“Attack on Alcatraz”

“Massacre”

“The Battle of the Cure”

“Phoenix Rises”

“The Last Stand”

 

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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