John Ottman is certainly no stranger when it comes to superhero films. He has done both Fantastic Four films, Superman Returns, and X2. His best, from my collection, is probably Astro Boy. The cool thing about having done X2 is that Ottman reprises a theme that he established in that movie and brings it over for this movie too. The X-Men films have really gone through some composers and each has a unique interpretation for these characters musically. Some are a little bland and typical while others really stand out. My favorite from the X-Men franchise is Henry Jackman's First Class score. The other's are ok...but not something I find myself listening to very often.
This particular score by Ottman seems to be very....quiet. There is a lot of "soul searching" music here. Tracks like "Hope" (3), "I Found Them" (4), "He Lost Everything" (7), "How Was She" (9), "All Those Voices" (10), "Contacting Raven" (12), "Rules of Time" (13), "Join Me" (17), and "Do What You Were Made For" (18) are the slow thought provoking pieces that really do sound quite nice. My favorite of these is "Hope", track 3. Some of the action music starts rather subdued as well but eventually builds to what I imagine as some pretty incredible fight scenes. "Paris Pandemonium" really starts to pick up with some awesome rhythms and percussion but dies really quickly into mystery/horror music. No fault of Ottman...he has to compose the music the way the film tells the story.
We have some very James Bond sounding espionage music here too. "Pentagon Plan" and "Springing Erik" are two that remind me of something from an episode of Leverage. I haven't seen the movie...but I am sure that it works for the film very well.
This is a very quiet soundtrack in my opinion, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It can be very sad and slightly depressing at times...but then musically we hear that hint of hope. I think this captures the essence of the X-Men very well. They are a different kind of superhero. They are cool...but boy do they have problems...and I'm not talking about "I forgot my homework...or Does Mary Jane like me" stuff. They are shunned, hated, hunted, and got some pretty screwed up personal issues. They need this music. I think you can have more enjoyment and appreciation for it when you take it into context. The standout track for me, as I said, is track 3 entitled "Hope". It really captures this well and should be an X-Men anthem. It's simple rhythmic bass with single piano notes typed out is amazing.
This isn't music to daydream that you are one of the X-Men. It's music that gives you a hint of what it is like to live as one.