Music composed and conducted by John Ottman

Label: Superb/Trauma
Catalog: TRM-74073-2
Year: 2003

1. Suite From X2 
2. Storm's Perfect Storm 
3. Finding Faith 
4. Sneaky Mystique 
5. Cerebro 
6. Mansion Attack 
7. Rogue Earns Her Wings 
8. It's Time 
9. Magneto's Old Tricks 
10. I'm In 
11. If You Really Knew 
12. Playing With Fire 
13. Death Strikes Deathstryke 
14. Getting Out Alive 
15. Goodbye 
16. We're Here To Stay

Total Time: 60:14

Reviewed by
Jorge Saldanha

When directed the original X-Men in 2000, Brian Singer´s long time  collaborator, composer/editor John Ottman, was involved with its own diretorial debut, Urban Legend 2. Singer then had to find another professional for the film, and the music was commited to Michael Kamen (Lethal Weapon, Brazil). The finished product was considered average at its best (in fact when X-Men was released the reviews pointed its soundtrack as one of the weakest points of the film), with discrete themes and electronic accompaniment for the action scenes - they say following instructions from Singer himself. Anyway Kamen´s score had some virtues but they were not enough to fulfill the film demands. But when production started in X-Men 2 Singer had Ottman available, who studied all the critics from that previous work and, meticulously, made everything to follow opposing directions from Kamen´s.

For start he assembled a great orchestra that did not include any electronic instrument. After that he created a thrilling theme to symbolize the heroics and the fight of the mutant heroes, which incorpores a vibrant dynamics to the score. The disc of X-Men 2 with its 60 minutes in lenght is a more than satisfactory representation of Ottman´s workmanship, and as usual in commercial releases it does not present the tunes in chronological order, since the composer selected them to privilege a more satisfying listening experience. The album starts strongly with "Suite From X2", where the motifs and bases of the score are introduced: the main theme, the chorus, a majestical theme that symbolizes the faith in a world free from prejudice against the mutants (fully developed in "Finding Faith") and an appealing material dedicated to the villainous Magneto (best heard in" Magneto's Old Tricks").

In the next tracks we can enjoy all the merits from the ambitious Ottman music, but they start as well to evidencing what seems to be its bigger flaw. If there is an aspect where this score is weaker than Kamen´s X-Men, it is in the one of originality. Part of the exuberancy in Ottman´s music for X2 comes from diverse origins, and the listener stays with the clear impression it doesn´t have a "proper voice". Maybe it was Ottman´s intention in first place - to adopt influences or references from composers who already had created remarkable efforts in the genre. Ottman previously composed for productions with lots of suspense and action (Eight Legged Freaks and Lake Placid), but this is the score where the composer really go deep in the style. We can find in his music perceivable shades from Elliot Goldenthal, Danny Elfman and even from Christopher Young. We could include among them even the "father" of some of these composers, Jerry Goldsmith, and the percussion in "Mansion Attack" remembers a lot Lalo Schifrin.

But it would be unfair to say that Ottman´s own style inexists here. The emphasis in the human drama present in his previous works is also easily perceivable in tracks like "Goodbye", "We're Here You the Stay" and in the main theme. In another level, many disappointed listeners will miss in the album the musical representation from one of the strongest moments of the film: the attack of the mutant Night Crawler to the White House. For this scene Ottman adapted the Mozart cantata "Dies Irae", but sadly the piece was not included in the disc due some problems with copyrights. In short we have an album which its hour of music passes quickly, thanks to thrilling tracks and creative orquestration resources, as the brass and vocal effects in "If You Really Knew".

Above all, Ottman created a score that possesses enough qualities to be heard apart from the loud sound effects from the movie, leaving us with its mark.