“Man of Steel,” the latest big screen adaptation of the the Superman story, is very different from all of the other TV and film versions that have gone before it. I’m not just talking about the lack of certain well known elements associated with the comic book icon — no Fortress of Solitude, big S on the back of his cape or kryptonite — but in the way the story is told.
Director Zack Snyder has opted to go darker with his film. That ranges from the deeper hues in Superman’s suit to the percussion-heavy score by Hans Zimmer. You’ve heard Zimmer work in the movies “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Rango” and “Inception.”
The bright and crisp anthem John Williams wrote for the Superman films in the ‘70s and ‘80s had become the standard for all other efforts. Although Zimmer is a huge fan of the work Williams did for “Superman,” the last thing he wanted to do was a variation on his musical theme. His idea for the “Man of Steel” score came after long discussions with Snyder.
“Zack and I started talking and his vision is completely and entirely the only reason why the score exist. He took me by the hand and told me this is what I want to do,” Simmer says. “Then I said ‘Yeah I can feel that.’ Both Zack and I felt what was really important was this idea of hope, that we would celebrate something, we would celebrate an America that has not been celebrated in so long and just be genuine and write from the heart.”
Snyder praises the score saying the big events in the movie are made even stronger by Zimmer’s music. What impressed the director the most is how much the music creates a sense of “humility” that was so important to the tone he wanted for the film.
“I felt in the recent past, people have been apologizing for Superman a little bit for his costume, for his origins, for the way he fits into society. We just wanted to say no, no, this is the mythology and this is how it is and it’s suppose to be this way and I think that’s kind of the movie we made,” Snyder says. “We wanted to enshrine him where he belongs and whether or not that’s making it too important I don’t know but it was the way we wanted to do it.”
And the music was a big part of making that vision work.