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It’s obvious to say that Man of Steel give us Superman having nothing like any Superman we have seen before. The kiss curl won’t be there. The little red knickers won’t be there. Also, there won’t be the instantly recognizable John Williams Superman theme.
It has been replaced by a Hans Zimmer with the first full track of which has just been posted online. The Zimmer track is undeniably powerful: building from hushed piano ambiance to a souped-up variation on The West Wing’s theme tune that gets more and more apocalyptic until it collapses under its own weight, two and a half minutes in. The comments underneath its Soundcloud page are unanimously positive, ranging from “AMAZING!” to the slightly more confusing “Feel like this is a sudo-transition from the destruction of Krypton to the escape pod going to Earth, and Man of Steel“.
Getting such a lot of positive comment like that, but Zimmer track still can’t achieve one thing that used to be found in the superhero movies in the old days. What I’m talking about is that Zimmer track isn’t as much of an earworm as the John Williams theme. I’ve given it a go, and it’s actually pretty hard to hum with any degree of accuracy. You can’t see schoolkids humming the theme of recent superhero movie like we did in the past. Thinking of that way, it’s such a shame. Bombing around, shouting superhero movies theme, especially John William Superman, with some mix with Star Wars and Indiana Jones theme represents about 75% of my entire childhood, and that’s what schoolkids nowadays can’t experience.
It seems to be that Man of Steel has reflected what is going on with recent superhero movies in general, especially ones based on DC characters. These movies aren’t rip-roaring, seat-of-your-pants yarns that require something as cheesy as an actual tune. They’re far more atmospheric than that. For instance, although it’s still a movie about an abnormally strong alien who can fly and fire lasers out of his eyes, Man of Steel looks to have a slightly naturalistic Terrence Malicky feel, so something as immediate as the John Williams Superman theme would trample all over whatever subtlety Zack Snyder is aiming for. Likewise, The Dark Knight trilogy probably couldn’t have sustained its grimy, down-at-heel, theoretically plausible worldview very well that it had Batman’s brooding presence been continually heralded by the chirpy strains of the old “dinner-dinner dinner-dinner” Adam West tune from the 1966 TV show, even a minor-key version full of that Inception foghorn noise that everyone’s apparently so fond of these days.
Even though, this new approach might fit for now, but I still hope that the great superhero theme tune will return. These things are cyclical, after all, so maybe when audiences tire of realism we’ll start hearing scores that you can hum again. It would be grateful to see schoolkids humming superhero theme like we used to do when we’re young. You can enjoy the Man of Steel sountrack here: