When Hans Zimmer was invited by Zack Snyder to compose the score for this summer's comic book movie blockbuster, Man of Steel, he admitted to being so daunted by the challenge of living up to John Williams' legacy that he procrastinated for three months before finally throwing himself fully into the task.
Now Superman fans will be able to judge for themselves whether Zimmer's efforts have paid off, as we get our first chance to listen to samples from the film's score and the soon-to-be-released movie soundtrack. We also have new images from the film to share.
Snyder seems to be impressed, at least. In a quote released over at Superman Homepage, the director expressed his satisfaction in the music that Zimmer produced to accompany the soundtrack.
"The challenges of creating a Superman score are daunting because Superman is so iconographic. I really feel like what Hans created is perfect. Subtle and stirring, epic and commanding. Honestly, Hans crushed it."
Man of Steel's soundtrack will be released a few days before the film itself, but you can currently preorder both the standard edition and the limited deluxe edition from Amazon. The deluxe edition features six additional tracks, along with access to an online behind-the-scenes feature, and comes in a special embossed steel case, shown below alongside the standard edition cover. Side 2 of both editions features a 28 minute-long "sketchbook" of Man of Steel music, performed solo by Zimmer, showcasing some of the experiments he did in the very early stages of composition.
The samples of music that were released by Amazon have been pieced together in the video up top, and at 0:30 the drum circle that Zimmer described in an earlier interview really kicks in and shows off the benefits of getting some of the finest drummers in the world all together in one room. The full percussion orchestra includes John JR Robinson, Jason Bonham, Josh Freese, Pharrell Williams, Danny Carey, Satnam Ramgotra, Toss Panos, Jim Keltner, Curt Bisquera, Trevor Lawrence Jr., Matt Chamberlain, Ryeland Allison, Bernie Dresel, Vinnie Colaiuta and Sheila E.
The classical strings sections that you can hear in the samples were played by a collection of eight expert pedal steel guitarists: Chas Smith, Marty Rifkin, Skip Edwards, Boo Bernstein, Peter Frieberger, Rick Schmidt, JD Maness and John McClung.
The samples of the soundtrack so far sound pretty fantastic, featuring a mix of radically different tones and moods - but of course the true test of them will be how well the fit with the film's story and aesthetic. It's difficult to discern a particular sample that could be considered a replacement for John Williams' iconic Superman theme, but perhaps it's for the best that Zimmer didn't attempt to one-up Williams; there's no reason that the Man of Steel score shouldn't be able to peacefully co-exist with other Superman movie soundtracks.
With the details of the soundtrack, and the sneak peek at its contents, comes a full track list that - be warned - includes song titles which could be considered mild spoilers for the film.
Standard edition CD track list:
- Look To The Stars
- Oil Rig
- Sent Here For A Reason
- Goodbye My Son
- If You Love These People
- Krypton's Last
- You Die Or I Do
- I Will Find Him
- This Is Clark Kent
- I Have So Many Questions
- What Are You Going To Do When You Are Not Saving The World?
- Man of Steel (Hans' Original Sketchbook)
Additional tracks on Deluxe Edition:
- Are You Listening, Clark?
- General Zod
- You Led Us Here
- This Is Madness
Finally, as part of their 'Invincible Alaskan Adventure' competition, Hershey has revealed two new promotional images of Henry Cavill as Superman (shared with neutral backgrounds by the Superman: Man of Steel Facebook community fanpage).
The second image is almost indistinguishable from the one used for Empire's Man of Steel special, but the first is particularly striking and would probably make for a rather nice poster if properly composed. Superman's new suit has a distinctly sturdy look to it, which is probably a good thing considering the "violence" of flight that Snyder has promised we'll see as the fledgling superhero finds his feet (so to speak) in Man of Steel.
Do you like what you're hearing in the soundtrack? Share your thoughts on the music samples - and on what those song titles might mean - in the comments.
Man of Steel is out in theaters on June 14, 2013.