Music Review: “Man of Steel (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)”

manofsteelscoreHans Zimmer has quickly become one of my favorite film composers, from his work on The Davinci Code, The Pirates of the Caribbean films and of course The Dark Knight Trilogy. It came as no surprise to me when was announced that the Academy Award-winning composer would be scoring Man of Steel. A few weeks later, Zimmer announced that he would not be using John Williams’ original Superman theme music and I said “I’m ready for you to wow me again.”

If you’ve seen the third Man of Steel trailer, then you’ve already had a taste of Hans Zimmer’s score, his new theme for Superman. When I sat down to listen to the full album, hints of this new theme were placed throughout. Because the album is quite long, about 27 tracks (including a half hour “sketchbook”), I want to talk about several pieces that stood out to me.

  1. Look to the Stars- This cue opens the album and listening to it, I could see it opening the film as we float through space, the camera pushing slowly past the Red Sun and on to Krypton. The sound is small, the deep bass of drums in the background building to a tease of the main theme. This stood out to me not because it’s the first track on the album, but the strings in the final seconds of the piece, hurriedly playing, hinting at some urgency.
  2. Sent Here For a Reason- Again, Zimmer uses small sounds to tell a story. This track uses a piano and some strings, playing a bit of the main theme, Clark’s theme. Listening to this, you can definitely see yourself as young Clark, growing up on the Kent Farm with guidance and protection from Jonathan and Martha. It is a very mellow, very relaxing piece. MAN-OF-STEEL_YOUNG-CLARK_PA-KENT_
  3. Goodbye My Son- For this track, Zimmer wanted to focus on Lara, Kal-El’s mother, during Krypton’s destruction. Instead of big epic sounds as the planet prepares to explode, we get beautiful vocal work, the sound of a mother humming a lullaby as her baby drifts off to sleep. This piece of music combined with the images of Krypton blowing up will pack quite the emotional punch I believe. I mean just listening to it by itself almost puts a tear in one’s eye.
  4. If You Love These People- Now we start getting into some of the big sounds. This  sounds like a huge rock piece as an electric guitar plays a riff combined with epic percussion. The melody actually reminds me of Zimmer’s work on The Lion King during the stampede scene. This is easily one of my favorite tracks on the album. It’s really hard to describe, but there is this really epic swell between 2:00 and 2:10 that just gets me really pumped.Man-of-Steel-EW-2-Zod
  5. What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World?- Another instant favorite. You’ll recognize this as the piece that played in Trailer 3, but it’s very different. Not different as it’s a different arrangement or anything, but the music is more fleshed out. What was used in the trailer was abbreviated and cut to fit the images. I’ve listened to this song about 10 times and I’m still picking out little nuances and new sounds that I didn’t notice before.
  6. General Zod*- Here we get the dark, ominous sounds of evil, but also some soaring and almost majestic sounds that give a sense of redemption for this character. As you may know, Snyder’s version of Zod is not a crazed maniac, but an actual general who is just trying to be honorable and follow the rules of his society.

*General Zod is only available on the Deluxe Edition of the soundtrack.

When I listen to film scores, I usually listen to one or two songs and that’s it, however this is one score that I can actually put on and sit down and enjoy the whole way through, the other one being Daft Punk’s TRON: Legacy score. There are great themes throughout and if you enjoy instrumental music this is definitely a rewarding album. I know there are a lot of people who could care less about the film’s music, but a lot of the time for me, the score can be a redeeming factor and at times make the movie! I can’t wait to hear this great music paired with the film!

Both versions of the soundtrack will be available on June 11th! And you can see Man of Steel in theaters and IMAX on June 14th!

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