Henry Jackman, X-Men: First Class Soundtrack

Henry Jackman, X-Men: First Class Soundtrack

Static Mass Rating: 4/5
Sony Music

Release date: 13th June 2011
Running time: 60:43 minutes

Composer: Henry Jackman

X-Men: First Class Review

X-Men: First Class, based on the Marvel Comics characters, is the fifth instalment in the X-Men series and takes us right back to the beginning with the meeting of two of the ongoing franchise’s pivotal figures, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender).

It’s a film that rewrites history, giving us a different take on the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and showing us what really could have happened.

 X-Men: First Class Soundtrack

Its score is one that matches these events perfectly, at times.

Composed by Henry Jackman – a protégé of Hans Zimmer – the score is rich with a sense of urgency while it mixes classical and contemporary elements to map out an untold story of historical events. At times this works well, but not always.

The first track is simply called “First Class” and it introduces us to a motif that will be carried sparingly throughout the score later on with “Cerebro” and “Sub Lift”. Strings, wind instruments and percussion swell and combine in what we know is going to be a dramatic conclusion both here and in the film. It feels like new ground for the series and there’s a strong feeling “superhero-ness” here too, but the juxtaposition of the rockier elements is jarring, given the time period the film is set in, bringing down this first class score a notch or two.


  • 1. First Class (3.14)
  • 2. Pain And Anger (2.49)
  • 3. Would You Date Me? (1.45)
  • 4. Not That Sort Of Bank (3.23)
  • 5. Frankenstein’s Monster (3.07)
  • 6. What Am I Thinking? (.2.05)
  • 7. Cerebro (2.24)
  • 8. Mobilise For Russia (1.18)
  • 9. Rise Up To Rule (5.56)
  • 10. Cold War (4.06)
  • 11. X-Training (4.27)
  • 12. Rage And Serenity (2.10)
  • 13. To Beast Or Not To Beast (4.45)
  • 14. True Colours (1.49)
  • 15. Let Battle Commence (5.14)
  • 16. Sub Lift (2.20)
  • 17. Coup D’État (2.12)
  • 18. Mutant And Proud (3.39)
  • 19. X-Men (1.02)
  • 20. Magneto (1.52)

Jackman studied classical music at St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir School, Eton College and University of Oxford before going on to programming and production for artists like Mike Oldfield, Elton John, Seal and Gary Barlow. His film work so far includes The Da Vinci Code (2006), as music programmer, The Dark Knight (2008), as music arranger, and Winnie the Pooh (2011), as composer.

As we move through to tracks like “Pain And Anger”, “Rise Up To Rule” and “Let Battle Commence”, the pace becomes frantic. Jackman unleashes a flurry of arrangements that rise and fall and rise again. This helps to drive home the inner conflicts of Fassbender’s Magneto but also serves to underscore the fragile bond that he shares with Xavier. We know that bond will sever and Jackman builds us up for that moment.

With “Rage And Serenity”, the movement in this piece is highly reminiscent of Zimmer’s score for  Inception (2010), especially with the strings and guitar work, but Jackman puts his own stamp on it, although again the electric guitars slightly shifts the music away from the time period the film is set in. I found this very distracting not just in the film, but to listen to as a piece of music.

Despite what I feel about these contrasting elements, X-Men: First Class is still a great score and the film benefits greatly with it, but it could have been greater. I’d love to hear what Jackman will come up with if he’s hired for future instalments, but I hope it will stay true to whatever the setting the story is in.

About Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.