Composer Marco Beltrami (Ben-Hur, The Hurt Locker) teams up with director James Mangold for the third time after 3:10 to Yuma and The Wolverine to provide the musical score for the action-filled drama/sci-fi fantasy, Logan. Hugh Jackman reprises his role as Logan (a.k.a. The Wolverine, James Howlett) for the ninth time. Beltrami earned an Academy Award nomination for Yuma, and The Wolverine was the previous standalone film starring Jackman. (Note: This reviewer saw the movie before reviewing this score, and there are no spoilers here.)
Lakeshore Records’ Logan – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features 25 tracks amid the 58-minute total. It’s a thought-provoking work set apart from all the other X-Men/Wolverine films. It’s not a downer despite the bleak futuristic narrative. This score is intense and personal with inventive, well-varied instrumentation choices. For example, there is the effective use of a glass armonica, an 18th-century instrument that is basically a set of glass bowls that make different tones through friction and was performed on this score by a fellow Ohioan located near to me: Jake Schlaerth.
This film also stars Patrick Stewart, who reprises his role as Charles Xavier/Professor X, a powerful telepath and founder/leader of the X-Men mutant group. Stephen Merchant completes the beginning mutant trio as the intelligent albino mutant named Caliban while Dafne Keen makes a big impression in her star-making role as Laura. Laura Donald Pierce, well played by Boyd Holbrook (Gone Girl, TV’s Hatfields and McCoys), plays a key antagonistic role.
The “Main Titles” track establishes a root theme. Logan’s loneliness, frustration, past pains, and even desperation seep through this score even for listeners who have never seen Jackman in action as Logan. The second track, “Laura,” echoes “Main Titles” well and then reveals a dark edge through keyboards at the 1:50-minute mark. “The Grim Reavers” brings even more tension through the keyboards.
“Old Man Logan” is a defining track with deep emotions mainly through piano and strings. Later, “X-24” predictably presents a unique sound as a special character takes the forefront. Note the bass and high-pitched instrumentation in this satisfying work. “El Limo-Nator” may be the eighth track, but it sets the tone early in the film. The ninth track, “Gabriella’s Video,” is just heartbreaking and, again, matches the film so well. Later on, the haunting “Goodnight Moon” leads into a absolutely sinister “Farm Aid,” which has a great edge with a memorable piano finish.
“Feral Tween” showcases woodwinds and is a definite highlight, complete with driving percussion. The 17th track, “Beyond the Hills,” revisits the high-pitched instrumentation from “X-24,” which is a welcome return. “Into the Woods” was incredible and my favorite, even after multiple listens. Percussion takes the forefront late in the score with the nineteenth track, “Forest Fight.” It’s great how Beltrami has the the drums answer the keyboards, then adds some effective horns. The beat goes on with the 20th track, “Logan vs. X-24,” where the percussion mimics helicopter sounds.
Listeners get a bit of an emotional rest with “Don’t Be What They Made You,” and then Beltrami lets audiences feel the emotion through the music so well leading up to the visceral climax and resolution. “Logan’s Limo” has a great influence from the western film genre as well as “Loco Logan,” which captures Logan’s rage, pain, and emotion so well. The last track, “Logan Drives,” builds sorrow through piano.
This is a great score and amazing experience that’s well outlined with great transitions and blending flow. Producers wisely choose the best pieces and not the entire score as well as the songs, like Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around,” which gets played at the ending credits. Like the film, you won’t forget this score anytime soon.
01. “Main Titles” (2:21)
02. “Laura” (2:24)
03. “The Grim Reavers” (1:32)
04. “Old Man Logan” (2:45)
05. “Alternate Route to Mexico” (1:23)
06. “That’s Not a Choo-Choo” (2:13)
07. “X-24” (2:46)
08. “El Limo-Nator” (1:38)
09. “Gabriella’s Video” (2:36)
10. “To the Cemetery” (0:55)
11. “Goodnight Moon” (1:55)
12. “Farm Aid” (3:11)
13. “Feral Tween” (3:34)
14. “Driving to Mexico” (1:42)
15. “You Can’t Break the Mould” (1:07)
16. “Up to Eden” (1:51)
17. “Beyond the Hills” (2:09)
18. “Into the Woods” (3:09)
19. “Forest Fight” (2:30)
20. “Logan vs. X-24” (4:13)
21. “Don’t Be What They Made You” (2:04)
22. “Eternum – Laura’s Theme” (3:35)
23. “Logan’s Limo” (2:32)
24. “Loco Logan” (1:20)
25. “Logan Drives” (2:08)