Mutant-muzak ... and Wolverine's got his own built-in tuning-forks!
SRP: £19.99With each new film featuring the perma-riled, horn-haired Canadian X-Man we are promised that we will see him finally cut loose and deliver a full-on berserker rage. Barring his defence of Professor Xavier’s School for the Gifted in X2 and a brief tussle in the woods in Last Stand, the filmmakers really haven’t made good on their word. Until now, that is with James Mangold's inspired and moody take on The Wolverine.
Intending to give the much-loved antihero proper room to swing his claws by allowing him to go the adventure-odyssey that most fans regard as his defining story – the Japanese Saga created in 1982 by Frank Miller and Chris Claremont – Hugh Jackman’s cantankerous Wolverine learns about life, love, loyalty and sushi. He also digs deeper into the tortured psyche of a man (mutant) who is virtually indestructible and ceases to find any fulfilment or happiness in such a condition. Reunited with director Mangold, who helmed his romantic comedy Kate & Leopold, Jackman revels in the brawny angst of a character he has brought to cinematic life over the course, now, of six films, and with a seventh on the way – a longer big screen tenure than any other superhero actor, longer even than some of the Bonds.
But although his muscle-clad form has come to own the character on the big screen and it seems inconceivable that anybody else could now don the mutton-chops and the wacky hair, directors and composers have altered with almost every film – Kamen and Ottman for Singer, Powell for Ratner, Gregson-Williams for Gavin Hood and Henry Jackman (no relation) for Vaughn have all tackled the issue of mutant music. And now comes the turn of Marco Beltrami. A consistent talent and a continual delight, Beltrami has still, quite unbelievably, gone largely under the radar. I’ve been a fan for quite a while. His sterling work on the Scream franchise has maintained themes and spectacularly embraced the cathartic, knee-jerk realm of the genre’s staple stinger to great effect. His tremendous score for Del Toro’s first Hellboy is a devilishly entertaining Pandora’s Box of rich and bizarre treasures, and his work for the same director has also brought chilling and lyrical lullaby splendour to Mimic and pulverising excitement to Blade 2. He was also responsible for the terrific action cues that accelerated the likes of I, Robot and Terminator 3, and he supplied a couple of the most unique action cues ever constructed for Alex Proyas’ ominous SF yarn, Knowing. His tracks Door Jam and New York from that score are among my absolute favourites. Then there is his penchant for the eerie and the suspenseful with his supernatural scores for the remake of The Omen, The Woman in Black and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark were also grandly atmospheric and compelling. By contrast, I was actually underwhelmed by his score for The Hurt Locker, and he won an Oscar for that!
Coming together with director James Mangold after their previous collaboration on a remake of the classic Western 3.10 To Yuma, Beltrami tackles The Wolverine head-on and, fortuitously, is bestowed what is very possibly the mutant’s best thematic material to work with. This is the story that dives a little deeper into his brooding psyche and his always-simmering rage, but it also allows for an exotic appeal and a dark sense of overshadowing mystery, courtesy of the Japanese setting and a plot rife with twists and turns.
Despite the variety of composers, Logan’s cinematic journeys have been pretty well catered-for, musically. Michael Kamen delivered a quite unusual techno stance for Singer’s first X-foray, whilst John Ottman gave him some sensational material for X2 – especially the tour de force of Mansion Attack – and John Powell managed to provide some searing heart and emotion for his frantic attempts to save Jean Grey and then battle her evil self from The Last Stand. Harry Gregson-Williams seemed like a reasonable choice for Weapon X’s first solo outing in Origins, but the result, both in film and score, was disappointingly mundane. But Henry Jackman delivered a fabulous new theme for X-Men First Class. So now we get Beltrami who, at least, has proved himself very, very capable of energising a film’s action and providing unusually strong thematic material to add texture and character. He is unafraid to experiment and he has sure-fire knack for engaging the adrenal gland.
There are two versions of this score currently doing the rounds. To my knowledge, they both contain exactly the same music, but some tracks are titled differently. Where this occurs I have put the alternate title in brackets.
Melancholic ambience begins the score in the brief A Walk In The Woods as we encounter Wolverine, spiritually lost in the wilderness, shaggy-haired and haunted, cut off from the world after the events of Last Stand, in which he was forced to slay the woman he loved. Long, slow tones call out across the landscape, unshaped until strings encloak them towards the end. Ethnic strings slide and moan over a dirge for cello in Threnody for Nagasaki which, as the title suggests, is a lament for those who died during the atomic bomb-blast that kick-starts Wolverine’s Japanese odyssey in the hellish 1945 prologue. This is soon swept up in a surging wall of discord as the track and the scene culminate in a firestorm. Cymbals clash, and oriental gongs collide with rattling wooden percussion. This tragic, soul-blighted opening passage continues in Euthanasia, in which a harmonica wails out its own distinctly laconic lament alongside low, morose tones.
This is hardly what you would expect from a superhero score, the mood is immediately haunting, black and deeply tragic, yet it works splendidly at revealing the depth and maturity of a story that doesn’t want to simply wow with pyrotechnics and mutant powers. The harmonica will come to characterise Wolverine as the Westerner treading on the wrong toes.
Plus, in a winning move from Beltrami, whose album does not strictly follow the film’s chronology, it makes what comes next all the more thrilling.
The driving rhythm of Track 4’s cunningly monikered Logan’s Run is fabulously enlivened with the exotic pounding of Taiko drums, something that, to be honest, we all expected to hear in a score evocative of a Japanese setting. But Beltrami knows that this staple oriental action ingredient is nothing to be ashamed of. Their rapid, up-tempo heartbeat is totally valid and brilliantly enhanced with the inclusion of the stringed koto, which provides a little quixotic frisson of posed fragility amidst the mayhem. In the film, this track comes almost directly after Track 7’s Funeral Fight, as Logan and the woman he has come to care for after being mysteriously summoned to Japan, Mariko (Tao Okamoto), flee the Yakuza ambush and take to the streets of Tokyo with goons in hot pursuit. As a Parkour-showboating rooftop saviour, Harada (Will Yun Lee) drops gang-members with precision thunked arrows, the glistening of gongs and scintillating bells adds an off-kilter tone to the steady, thudding beat, counter-balancing the precarious manoeuvres up high with the street-pounding down below.
With its ferocious drum-battering and irregular gonging, Logan’s Run unavoidably reminds of Tan Dun’s work on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero, and Shigeru Umebayashi’s House of Flying Daggers, but with his glimmering percussion and sinew-vibrating woodland evocating strings he also manages to mingle-in a gypsy-like dexterity like that of Joe DoLuca’s fight cues in his score for Les Pacte Des Loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf). Listen to the speed of it all. The clokk-clokk beat that starts it, the leathery chopping that overlaps this, the rattling sticks and reeds, the clapping of gongs and finger-cymbals, the drums that mark uneven, but exhilarating time. Violins sear into this, and there is a burning cloud of electronica that fuzzes and fuels the pace too. All this impetuous, unstoppable and breathless cacophony culminates a magnificently adrenalized and primal set-piece track that becomes enjoyably addictive and is certainly one of the score’s standouts. This all fades away with uneasy tones and snappy flurries of drumming woodblock.
When The Offer comes, we need a rest, and this eerie piece gives us a delicate moment of respite. The first part actually sounds like the darkly ambient texture supporting Snake Plissken’s shadowy exploration of the nightmarish Big Apple in John Carpenter’s Escape from New York. Strings stretch out with quiet unease and a low resonance undulates like ground mist. The track becomes more spectral, with waterphone and glass. Glistening chimes and lacerated cello usher in a shivering, tense phrase from the strings. A slow drum beat emanates from the background. In a scene that is earlier in the film, powerful tech-magnate Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), Wolverine’s old and dying acquaintance, reveals that he wants to take his healing powers away from him and give him a normal life in return. Although tired of his existence and the emotional pain that it brings, Logan clearly isn’t going to surrender such ability that easily. Beltrami’s music brilliantly weaves around this impossible choice – and when it seems that Fate has stepped in and made his decision redundant as Yashida dies, Beltrami carries on this pensive attitude with Arrival At The Temple in support of Wolverine as he escorts Mariko to her grandfather’s funeral. Watery chimes echo in a soft, though somewhat uneasy track as Logan observes the ritualised ceremony, a wary outsider distrusted and disliked by almost everybody there.
When he spots some shady looking tattoos up the sleeves of the priests and the attendants, he smells trouble ... great big Yakuza-shaped trouble.
Track 7’s Funeral Fight (or Who Invited The Yakuza?) is another belter. Ambushed by a small army of gun-toting, sword-wielding shock troops, Wolverine suddenly finds himself in the thick of clan warfare … and, doing what he does best, he gets stuck in. To my ears, the furiously insistent beat and techno-sprinkle that gives it an irresistible edge sounds maddeningly similar to Orbital’s embellishment of Michael Kamen’s thunderous barrage from Event Horizon. Now, this is not a bad thing as I love the pell-mell, stop for nothing pace and fury of that track. Here, the style is lacquered with ethnic twangs and twists, flurries of koto and metal percussion. When it becomes clear that something’s gone awry with his mutant healing factor and Logan’s wounds are genuinely hurting and not vanishing as they should do, the music takes on a distinctly woozy sound as the Wolverine slows down, taking hit after hit. Clapping gongs, staccato drums and vibrant chimes stomp out a ceaseless litany of blood ‘n’ thunder.
Beltrami chooses to sign-off the action with a wonderfully playful, mocking little phrase for the koto that pirouettes mischievously like a little wispy sprite. Sadly, in the film this scintillating tease is barely noticeable, but on the album it brings a whole new aspect to the musical onslaught. There are some people who think that he should have been more overt with his Japanese flavoured music. To my ears, he is using his assortment of ethnic instruments quite skilfully. They don’t fail to register and nor are they stereotypically exaggerated. He does not ignore the location of the story or the exotic vitality that it lends the narrative. In short, he does just enough to convey the beauty and the mystique of Japan without overplaying his hand and beating us around the head with the allure of the Land of the Rising Sun. The way in which he brings in the koto, the shakahachi, the gongs and the drums, the warm, wooden percussion and organic strings and reeds graces this and especially Logan’s Run with a respectful oriental flourish.
As I have already said, it is very tempting to suggest that the phraseology for the character of Wolverine, himself, is provided by the harmonica ... which couldn’t be a more western, well Western, counterbalance to all the Eastern promise that he finds himself enamoured with. I think that this probably is the motif that best cloaks the hairy mutant. He is most at home in the wilderness and he has the laconic demeanour of the cowboy drifter, and the gob-iron certainly issues a complementary sound to such an iconic sort of persona. Just perhaps we should hear more of this, though, to help endorse the idea of the stranger in a strange land. Just a thought.
Piano and soft, wobbling chimes open Two-Handed. The cello and wavering strings then nudge their way in like tumbling ghosts that swiftly pass along and then recede. Violins then return with folding strains of melancholy. The theme is gentle and tinged with spiritual awakening, yet there is little peace and tranquillity here. Tremulous strings attempt to break the harmony once more, rising to a scratchy rasp for another brief but ominous flurry. Two seesawing, sliding woodwind notes soothe away our anxieties as the track comes to a close.
There is more action when Logan follows Mariko onboard the ultra high-speed Bullet Train and then discovers that another platoon of Yakuza goons have, in turn, followed them both. This is dynamically more conventional in terms of bludgeoning pace and orchestration. Only a small cue, it nevertheless emulates the acceleration and violence of Wolverine’s struggle on the roof of the train as thugs are hurled off it into bone-crunching oblivion. Drums, strings and brass charge as one, doling-out shrill belches of rapid-fire intensity, but the track is over before you know it.
We are lulled by The Snare, which is merely moody underscore, but caught off-guard by Abduction. After a night of passion with Logan in her secluded haven not far from where the Wolverine was incarcerated during the War, Mariko is snatched and kidnapped. Logan awakes in time to go after her, but takes another bullet and is left with only a wounded thug from whom to extract information.
Beltrami’s scissoring strings are taunted by the harmonica. Cello and the tubax, a raucous and bellicose mutation of both the tuba and the saxophone, create an unusual and disconcerting edge. The tracks charges along almost like a more conventional train than the earlier high-velocity version. It is a great cue that manages to mix anger, failure and hard-bitten determination into one bare-knuckled stampede. That sly, bending sound of what is perhaps a bamboo flute opens up the quieter following cue, Trusting (Logan’s Fun). This slow, almost Morricone-like two-note flow is a trick that he has used before, most notably for the prequel to The Thing, in which he hauled a skin-crawling tonal screech out to almost implausible lengths to signify the presence of the titular alien shape-shifter. As minimalist as it is, this motif works superbly here, and once the gob-iron assumes the phrase and it grows into one of the main themes that Wolverine has , it becomes the slow-drip bead of sweat on the brow of the macho interloper who has strayed into affairs that he would have been better off steering clear of. This lazy, bird-flipping warble has the attitude of the poncho-wearing, cigarillo-chewing Clint Eastwood. Beltrami gets the balance just right too. A mere note further, or another motif illustrated with this gritty, almost satirical stance and the whole shebang might tip all the way into caricature. So when people complain that this score is boring and lacks insight and spontaneity, I don’t think they are paying enough attention to the fragility of the mix and the testosteronal dissection of the writing.
Ninja Quiet (Ninja Knocking) is exactly what it implies. As the black-clad assassins lay siege to a villainous Tokyo stronghold, Beltrami has a chunnering heartbeat underscore their vicious takedowns of doomed sentries all over the joint. Suspenseful strings and eerie, muted gongs keep the savagery under a lid, the track strong, but cleverly subdued. More treachery occurs as the various factions opposed to Wolverine make their power-play. With the next two tracks, Beltrami describes a crucial sequence that sees Logan come to understand who he can and can’t trust, and realise just what he must do if he intends to save Mariko. Having discovered the horrible mutation that is draining away his healing powers, Logan decides to remove it himself, via some claw-led DIY Kantana Surgery.
However, nothing is ever that simple. As Logan’s loyal sidekick Yukio (Rila Fukushima) battles the traitorous crime-lord Shingen (Hiroyki Sanada) all around the lab in a whirling, slicing, clattering bushido dance of death, Wolverine must find the inner strength to regain consciousness and rise to the challenge once again. Beltrami builds up the suspense and the action with high shivering strings, steadily more ritualised drumming and a lurching from the cimbasso. Chopping strings and jabbing brass then enmesh in a vortex of aggression.
In The Wolverine, we hear the biggest statement of the character’s noble crusade so far. Beltrami’s theme starts off small, with little percussive echoes and apprehensive swells that then gather strength and weight, as drums begin to pound and strings gain intensity and brass glowers. It is all build-up, however, as Wolverine takes the fight to Shingen and his flesh heals-over each nasty samurai cut. Slow, burgeoning and powerful, the track rises to a crescendo as Wolverine gains the upper claw, and then drops to a fateful plateau of hovering low strings as he metes out summary justice.
The Hidden Fortress is an epic track. It boasts some wonderfully disconcerting piano tremors that ripple and worry with devilish aplomb right at the start, as a steady, rhythmic march gains vigour. Searing brass and harmonica rise in clamourous discord, giving way to woodblock, reed and metal percussion and odd, double-tap drum-thumps. Ninjas swarm after Wolverine as he arrives at the secret base and laboratory bolted on to the side of a mountain. He battles them through a snowy ghost-town, his quest becoming a sacrificial stand as their numbers prove too great even for him. Brass and agonised strings crash, and then collapse in noble defeat, the harmonica slowly swallowed by dirge-like bass. The track drifts out with the eerie sound of the wind through a bamboo pipe.
Spidery violin effects glitter the start of Silver Samurai as Wolverine awakens to discover he is the prisoner of the venomous uber-bitch Viper (poorly acted by Svetlana Khodchenkova) and that her adamantium giant is just waiting to carve him up. The ante is then upped as Logan inevitably breaks free and his battle with the huge gleaming warrior threatens to topple the place down the mountain. This, again, features Eastern mystique getting battered by Western swagger. Brass throws its weight around, buttressing the exotic drums, the cimbasso yawning with arrogance. There are hints of his action material for World War Z in the sudden rush of adrenaline. Listen to the gorgeous four-note trumpet phrase that shrills with a very John Barry-esque Bondian verve. The movie has lots of nods to the Connery MI6 outings, and in this sequence, Beltrami clearly doffs his cap also. That trumpet motif is very reminiscent of the Morse Code inspired mission statement 007, Barry’s glorious secondary Bond theme. Reed-like claps are elongated to sound like fleshy gunshots. High brassy squeals set out to paralyse, aided by that deliriously arachnoid skittering of the strings, but then Beltrami pulls the rug from underneath us, and the track simmers down, folding in on itself and levelling out on a string sustain.
But the fight is not over yet. As revelations assail Wolverine and the real culprit behind all of his trials and tribulations is unveiled, the orchestra leaps into action once more in Sword of Vengeance. In many ways this is an old-fashioned sort of track. Counterpointing two separate skirmishes and then culminating in one glorious final face-off , the music veers from strenuously played violins to blaring trumpets and trilling cimbasso, harshly pounded drums to quake-fuelled piano. The mid-point of the track commences with a slowly protracted, excitingly manifested rhythm that gets louder and louder, stronger and deeper as Wolverine and Yukio, working together, are finally able to turn the tables on the Silver Samurai and Viper. Beltrami delivers what is the score’s most obvious piece of writing with the earnest crescendo of all this fighting. It is a fine conclusion to all the furious destruction and clanging adamantium, but it also feels a little bit too ... well ... ordinary to me, I have to say. In spite of the cathartic release of the tension and the danger, this victory sounds all too familiar from a hundred other musical pay-offs. I don’t know what I expected, but somehow this climax just doesn’t satisfy me as much as it should. Yet ... it fits the enveloping orchestral might with suitably glorious panache, just the same. So I suppose I'm just nitpicking.
Mariko is saved, the baddies are routed and Wolverine’s bloodlust has been sated. For now.
Logan’s Dreams of Jean Grey turn full circle when he is finally able to find release from his guilt and his pain. It starts off tensely and shimmers for a moment, then beautifully trails off into spectral resignation with softly caressed strings.
Goodbye Mariko is delicate and evasive. It carefully reflects the fact that Wolverine is moving on, and quite happy to do so. His mutant mojo is back in place, and this little Japanese hiccup is now done with. Unlike in the comics, Logan is not in love with Mariko, so their parting is not of the emotional kind. In fact, you can tell that he has no intentions of letting his heart rule his head anymore. His feelings are now adamantium-coated too.
Some thematic familiarity between The Wolverine and the other entries in the franchise, particularly Henry Jackman's memorable First Class anthem in Where To? which delivers a welcome motif for breathe-easy heroism after the job is done. Strings develop the languid two-note motif into a fully-fledged theme that finally becomes a memorable and, indeed, hummable passage. Brass accentuates it as a catchy percussion backbeat gets the toes tapping. A hint of gleaming electronica spreads like a fine layer of chrome over the finale, referencing the adamantium coating of Logan’s bones.
Whole Step Haiku is a somewhat unusual way to finish the album. This is ghostly ambience tinged with a melancholic fusion of harmonica and electronica, and spiced with softly metallic and watery echoes. It’s a hypnotic piece that feels fresh and windswept, and also utterly forlorn and alone. The undulating tone from the waterphone meanders through the air, but frustratingly and probably deliberately peters-out leaving you with an itch you can’t scratch ... which, when you think about it, is precisely how Wolverine feels almost all the time. Yet, after the story and the character of the renegade X-Man have seemingly turned over a new and more hopeful chapter, it is curiously spellbinding to bow-out in such a sedate and wistful manner.
I heard the score before seeing the film and, initially, I couldn’t have said that I was blown away by it in quite the way I’d hoped to be I did expect something more exciting and memorable from a composer who has delivered some incredible music for films that could be considered of a lower calibre – A Good Day To Die Hard and World War Z to name but two this year. Of course, everything is subjective and just because I had anticipated being more enthralled by this than I ultimately was does not mean that this score fails in any way.
Beltrami delivers a mean and moody piece that refrains from the standard superhero traits and this, of course, is a reflection of the maturity of the film, itself. The Wolverine was never meant to be akin to the likes of The Avengers, Thor, The Amazing Spider-Man or the previous X-movies in tone. Nor is it Marvel’s answer to grit and realism of The Dark Knight Trilogy. It is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a “lone wolf” tale that moves beyond the realm of the franchise as a stand-apart feature. If anything, the modus operandi and the influences for this were The Outlaw Josie Wales, Point Blank and The Yakuza, a couple of which films Mangold insists were his touchstones, and this grimmer, more cynical verve is certainly captured in this considerably more serious and mature score.
A common complaint about what pretty much amounts to Hans Zimmer Effect is the droning, theme-bereft wall of sound approach that has become quite prevalent in modern scores. A sort of one-size-fits-all strategy that the studios assume is what the public wants because the films encased as such are big tent-pole productions that are more or less guaranteed the make money, and their corresponding scores are going to go down well by association, even if genuine soundtrack lovers are left aghast at them. Thus, it becomes a self-perpetuating dilemma for those who simply despise this lack of creativity and originality. I would never have put Marco Beltrami down as belonging to this category of easy-please composer, and I still don’t believe that he is. That said, this score for The Wolverine is sure to play into the hands of those who are knee-jerk in categorising and quick to shun such things. There is a definite lack of recognisable thematic material, which could, in some ears, go against it. I will admit that I expected something a bit more distinctive and personalised for Logan . Let’s face it, the character has now been in six separate movies and he has not received his own recognisable motif yet. Does he actually need one, you could argue? Well, I would say that, by now, we should have had something that musically captured the essence of his broken, haunted soul and his barely concealed aggression. But then, for a character that has several different identities – James Howlett, Logan , Weapon X, Wolverine – maybe it is only fitting that he is differently addressed in each score. There are plenty that wish this wasn’t the case, but this is how it has been. There is also the fact that each X-Film has had a different composer … with each entry thus able to forge its own identity. Ottman did a grand job, as did Powell, both unleashing big, powerful, theme-led scores. What Gregson-Williams did for Origins: Wolverine was utterly forgettable, even though it was varied, orchestral and bright, and not the dark glowering turmoil that we have here.
To summarise, even I was a touch underwhelmed by this score when I first heard it, and it was divorced from the film, which hadn’t yet been released. But once I’d seen Jackman’s newest adamantium outing Beltrami’s music soon slotted into place, and I couldn’t wait to reassess it. A definite grower in terms of oriental flavour, ambient delicacy and kinetic muscularity, The Wolverine is actually a fine piece of work that expands upon the forceful exhilaration of World War Z and is brave enough to temper the emotional underpinnings with a sense of unease and a fine blend of grace and formality. It is a far craftier and better constructed soundtrack than it seems, and yet it also retains something of a retro-vibe as well. Definitely more rewarding with each listen.
What Beltrami has composed, with able support from the loyal Buck Sanders, Brandon Roberts and Marcus Trumpp, who provided additional music, is a fine amalgamation of moody ethnic-laced suspense, pulse-pounding excitement and an ambient sense of melancholic romance and mystery that is suitably strung with quivering apprehension. There has been an enormous amount of musical superheroics over the last decade and more, with an inestimable roster of composers buckling-up for the ride. Although the devout fanboy in me loves to wonder about how the great Jerry Goldsmith would have handled all this costumed comic-book bedlam (he did deliver us The Shadow and Supergirl), I think we should be immensely thankful that we have gained so many different voices, styles and approaches to a genre that was once considered laughable at best, and commercially suicidal at worst. Even with this panoply of scoring in mind, The Wolverine breaks new ground. Its oriental mis-en-scene is neither overplayed nor undercooked, and adds a genuinely evocative blanket over the proceedings without sounding clichéd or patronising.
This is an exceptional year for Marco Beltrami. We’ve had Die Hard 5, World War Z and, of course, this, and we’ve still got his score for the remake of Carrie and his fantastic work on Soul Surfer to come.
As youcan tell, I recommend this album presentation of The Wolverine whole-heartedly.
Sony’s disc contains a typical insert boasting musician and album production credits on 8 nicely illustrated pages.
Full Track Listing
• 1. A Walk in the Woods (1:02)
• 2. Threnody for Nagasaki (1:15)
• 3. Euthanasia/alt Logan Can't Bear It (1:36)
• 4. Logan's Run (3:56)
• 5. The Offer (3:15)
• 6. Arriving At The Temple/alt Get Me to the Temple on Time (2:09)
• 7. Funeral Fight/ alt Who Invited the Yakuza? (4:20)
• 8. Hold My Sword (4:05)
• 9. Bullet Train /Alt Logan in the Latraine (1:31)
• 10. The Snare /Alt Matzah-Hisu (1:32)
• 11. Abduction (2:11)
• 12. Trusting/ alt Logan's Fun (1:53)
• 13. Ninja Quiet/ alt Ninja Knocking (3:39)
• 14. Kantana Surgery (3:49)
• 15. The Wolverine (2:20)
• 16. The Hidden Fortress (5:00)
• 17. Silver Samurai (3:27)
• 18. Sword of Vengence (4:31)
• 19. Dreams (1:20)
• 20. Goodbye Mariko/ alt Abayo Mariko (0:59)
• 21. Where To? (2:25)
• 22. Whole Step Haiku (2:08)
Total Running Time 58.14
VerdictThe best outing for Jackman’s clawed mutant yet, The Wolverine marks another high point in Marco Beltrami’s adrenalized career. After the pulse-racing rush of World War Z, the composer finds the time to indulge in a more flamboyant and culturally interesting venture that still caters for some of the most exciting action cues that he has written so far. He embraces the Oriental aspects of the story without resorting to anything clichéd or obvious. He savours the mysterious elements of a stranger in a strange land. And he certainly understands the nature of the beast, unleashing Wolverine in full berserker mode. Refreshingly, he doesn’t conform to the standardised fanfare approach to superheroism. His main motif for Logan is simple and sly – a laconic, mocking harmonica that is both homage-rife and deceptively unorthodox. His combination of Far East and West is superlative, the two ends of the spectrum colliding and melding with one another over the course of the album.
This is a dark and somber score that fragrances its brutality with ethnic licks, though never relinquishes the dark chip on its adamantium shoulder.