IT’S OFTEN said that every superhero needs his or her own theme music.
And when thinking of such theme music, there’s one sound that comes to mind faster than a speeding bullet: John Williams’s epic score to the 1978 “Superman” movie starring Christopher Reeve.
A quick dum-da-dahhhh and you have the image of Reeve flying toward you, flashing a million-dollar smile after saving the day. It’s the stuff of legends.
Now imagine being the person asked to replace that music.
Hans Zimmer assumed the mantle when director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan called, asking whether he would be willing to compose the score for “Man of Steel.”
Zimmer eventually accepted, but not without fear and reservation. In interviews leading up to this Friday’s release of “Man of Steel,” Zimmer has admitted to being so nervous trying to go up against Williams’ score, he procrastinated for three months.
But Zimmer eventually got to work, and the end result — the “Man of Steel” original-motion picture soundtrack — is available Tuesday on shelves both brick-and-mortar and virtual.
Zimmer knows about creating a new, big-screen sound for a legendary comic-book character. When Nolan was reimagining a movie universe for his “Dark Knight” trilogy, Zimmer created memorable sounds for Batman, the Joker and Bane — not at all intimidated by Danny Elfman’s “Batman” theme from years earlier that so many were familiar with.
Nolan had this to say about Zimmer’s work: “[He’s] someone who faced huge odds and emerged unscathed.”
Last week, Comic Riffs listened to the “limited deluxe” edition of the soundtrack — which includes two CDs and 24 songs total. Some thoughts:
Zimmer has pulled off the daunting job: He’s composed a new sound for the last Son of Krypton that will help “Man of Steel” establish itself apart from Williams’s score. The soundscape should even help the new Supes — Henry Cavill — fly out of the long and intimidating shadow of Reeve’s iconic performances.
Few composers connect to their on-screen heroes the way Zimmer does. His dark music for the “Dark Knight” trilogy jibed perfectly with a conflicted hero who worked outside of the law. Now, his hopeful score for “Man of Steel” will help make audiences “believe a man can fly.”. (Zimmer had some all-star help: His 12-person percussion team alone included Sheila E. and Pharrell Williams.)
Although we won’t know for days whether we finally have a Superman for a new generation, Zimmer has made sure that “Man of Steel” will fill the suit — if not suite — musically.