You have to hear this. You just have to.
I’ve always loved Hans Zimmer’s film scores, but I think he’s outdone himself with the main theme from the upcoming Superman reboot, Man of Steel.
How do you create a new musical theme for a character that’s enjoyed one of the most iconic film scores of all time, for 35 years? The original Superman theme is one of John Williams’ best-known melodies. I mean, admit it: as soon as I mentioned it, you started humming it in your head, didn’t you. Every major production in the last 35 years about Superman used Williams’ music at one point or another. Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns used it in 2006. Even Smallville peppered it into its music a few times throughout its 10-year run.
But when Christopher Nolan was handed the keys to the Super-franchise a few years ago, he and his creative partners — writer David S. Goyer and director Zack Snyder — decided it was time for a clean slate. Man of Steel pretends that all other Superman movies and TV shows never happened. So the music had to take a similar approach.
Nolan turned to his longtime collaborator, Hans Zimmer, to reinvent Superman musically the same way Zimmer (along with James Newton Howard) created a brand new musical language for Batman in Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. But while Batman has enjoyed some popular themes over the years, he never had anything quite as iconic as John Williams’ Superman score.
So, you know… No pressure or anything.
Zimmer answered the challenge by not trying to top Williams’ majestic theme. Because really, that would be impossible. Instead, Zimmer has created a layered, more tense score for the more angsty Superman in Man of Steel. The Man of Steel music would never work played over the old Superman movies, just like the John Williams music would never work with Man of Steel. They’re completely different kinds of movies. Man of Steel features a grittier, more human approach to the character, and Zimmer’s score reflects that. (You may have already heard some of Zimmer’s score if you’ve seen the latest Man of Steel trailer.)
I can’t stop listening to this preview track. Seriously, my anticipation level for Man of Steel has skyrocketed after hearing it. It’s incredible. Crank up your speakers and hit play!
And please accept this one piece of advice: don’t compare it to Williams’ original theme. Just pretend that music never existed, and this is the first time you’re hearing music for everyone’s favorite Kryptonian.
Soundcloud has embedding turned off for this audio file for some reason but you can go straight to it and listen right here. Soundtrack publisher WaterTower Music has also released this preview of the Man of Steel music featuring 60 seconds from each track. I like the other clip better, but this one’s pretty rad too.