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Deadpool: Junkie XL vs Tyler Bates

Deadpool and Deadpool 2 are jam-packed with action and silliness, so it’s forgivable not to have noticed the stunning original scores that soundtrack them. But now is the time to notice.


Between Celine Dion, Diplo and Cher, Deadpool 2 (2018) is soundtracked by an original score by Tyler Bates, known for Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), John Wick (2014) and Watchmen (2009). Bates wasn’t the first choice, however, and had a lot to live up to Junkie XL‘s spectacular score for its predecessor, Deadpool (2016).

Junkie XL, aka Tom Holkenborg, announced he would not be scoring Deadpool 2 on Facebook in 2016, following the departure of director Tim Miller. He stated:

“Deadpool without Tim at the helm just does not sit right with me and that is why I have decided not to be involved in the second chapter.”

This announcement came as a massive blow to Deadpool fans and probably stirred something up within the Deadpool production crew. Junkie XL‘s score brought an element of sophistication to the otherwise silly film. Great syncopated, irregular beats take you on a ride of a lifetime, while cleverly incorporating 80s synths and gritty guitars with orchestral phrases. Brimming with energy, you can almost see the visuals while listening to the tracks solitarily.

It’s fair to say Tyler Bates had some massive shoes to fill. However, aside from the generic ‘super hero’ noises such as heroic trumpet phrases, Bates’ soundtrack for Deadpool 2  seems to hit all the right buttons. It features some fantastic gritty guitar riffs in ‘Hello Super Power’ and ‘Ice Box’, not to mention the dirty distorted synth in ‘Escape’ and ‘The Name is Cable’. Similar to Junkie XL, Bates has used a drum beat to drive the rhythm. But unlike Junkie XL, Bate’s soundtrack is more orchestral, giving it a more cinematic and ‘epic’ sound which works thanks to the incorporation of electronics. It perhaps lacks the pizazz of Junkie XL’s score, however Bates more than makes up for it through comedic value. I would have loved an invitation to watch the choir sing “You can’t stop this moth f***” and “Holy shit balls”!

Tyler Bates‘ cinematic score matches the new ethic behind Deadpool 2 and the very reason Junkie XL left. The original Deadpool earned high acclaim by proving Fox wrong in creating a hilarious and highly entertaining film with a relatively small budget. Junkie XL’s 80s synth-based score is comprised of a lot less orchestral music, and a smaller orchestra at that. Deadpool 2 had almost double the budget, and this can be heard in the music. Whether that’s a good thing is up to the listener to decide.

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