Greetings fellow Kryptonians! This will be my “pre movie” soundtrack review. Thanks to the wonderful world of Spotify (and my wife for picking up Spotify Premium for my trip to Bend) I get to listen to the Man of Steel: OST sans commercials two days before I watch the movie itself which is getting crazy good reviews thus far. Can’t wait. But let’s dig in to the actual soundtrack itself. We’re going to go track by track. Let’s go!
1. Look to the Stars – 2:58 – Warm tones with a small sense of ice to start with. Bring on the strings that allude to the “Ideal of Hope” preview soundtrack. I love how this builds. And then the chorus underlying the orchestra. Very subtle. And now the fast strings come with it. Makes you feel like something very serious and dangerous is happening. Either that or someone is going down a spiral staircase??? I’m weird like that.
2. Oil Rig – 1:46 – Obviously from the scene in all of the trailers. OMG the drums… Zimmer, you’re killing me here. This is brilliant. I have headphones on and I feel this in my chest. It just escalates until you hear the horns join in and the mood of this piece screams strength and struggle. And then it dissipates out of no where. Interesting choice. Not sure what it means for the actual film but that could have went another 3 minutes and that would be an awesome workout song.
3. Sent Here for a Reason – 3:47 – I would assume this is from the scene where Ma Kent is having a heart to heart with Clark. Either that or it’s Pa… regardless, there’s something sweet and glassy about this piece. A gravitas right around the 1:10 mark. It’s subtle like a lot of this soundtrack so far. But then the heavy, deep bass comes in mixed with the single piano key. Oh… a call back to Look To The Stars. And the piano theme from “Ideal of Hope” comes in so somberly. This is heavy. I feel like I’m waiting for someone to give ME sage guidance. Literally almost rolled a tear on that one.
4. DNA – 3:35 – Very ethereal beginning to this track. Slow build to a sudden assault of low strings and drums. This one has some very nice impact moments as well. Not exactly sure how this fits into the movie. The title leads me to believe that there is something that has to do with Krypton. It drops back to a steady paced ethereal cadence. Obviously the action set piece this overlays is over. But something sinister seems on the way. Kinda eerie ending. Nice touch.
5. Goodby My Son – 2:02 – Another ethereal opening to the track mixed with a lullaby. Something very reminiscent of the 9th and 10th Doctor’s Theme from Doctor Who. Almost sounds like the same singer. This entire track feels Doctor Who’ish. And I like it! A lot.
6. If You Love These People – 3:23 – Ominously starts sounding like a track from The Dark Knight series. The triplets that are found in this soundtrack often from the snares are very present. This entire score seems built in threes. Perhaps for Kal-El, Clark and Superman. Three different expectations from essentially three different people. Just the title alone speaks sacrifice. I wonder if this has anything to do with the scene in the previews where Clark is surrounded by skulls/bones. Ends very warm at first, then back in the ether. A nice space theme throughout the entire score.
7. Krypton’s Last – 1:59 – Which leads us back to the beginning of this track. Ethereal again with a nice overlay of strings. If they hold up with the origin story of Superman, Krypton is meeting it’s demise in this track (or about to). I would love to hear this single violin play this piece without the accompanying track. Very sad. The synths that Zimmer uses fit this track nice. It picks up in the end. Feels like a ship should be trying to reach escape velocity here. Ends too soon. 🙁
8. Terraforming – 9:50 – Longer track. Starts out with percussion and strings. Has a determined sound to it (if that makes any sense). Something needs to be accomplished to this track. This track drives hard, and the momentum picks up heavily. About 1:30 in, it gets rather muddy. Back to the driving and then it’s muddy again. And now I hear what I’ve dubbed the “Zod Synths”. You’ll know it when you hear it. Zod is either heavily involved in this scene of the movie or a plot point is revealed here. This track tells a great story. Something bad or extremely important to the plot is happening here. I can feel it. I wonder if this “terraforming” is what causes Krypton’s ultimate demise. Which in any case, may be partially Jor-El’s fault. Hmmmm. This leads to a very uplifting moment towards the end. I can almost hear a ships engines on full throttle. Perhaps this is when Kal-El is sent away as the track fads, so does Krypton. I’ll know soon enough.
9. Tornado – 2:55 – Gee, I wonder what happens during this track. I’m hoping we get to see Kal vs a Tornado. I’m hoping that this gives us a chance to see Clark saving people from a Tornado. This starts frantically. There’s a danger to the strings and their progression here. The drumline kicks in and you can feel the need to run here. But then a heroic undertone pops in. And heavy heavy HEAVY drums (which are incredibly clean, btw). The soaring strings here with the drums in the background, raising it’s pitch. Now “Clark’s Theme” (the piano from the trailers) is playing. I get the feeling like someone, perhaps a child, was just saved and lowered to the ground by Clark at that moment. Brilliance.
10. You Die or I Do – 3:13 – This is starting out so menacing. Deep. Dark. Like a thunderstorm. Angry strings are in the distance as the undertone of the track is building. There are drums in the distance as well. They’re growing. The storm feeling is growing as well. And the drums take center stage for a moment. Someone is angry in this tra…. THIS. IS. ZOD. The Zod Synth is hyper present here. This is the track from the “You have 24 hours” trailer. Zod is definitely pissed here. This is going to be replayed a lot. Trust me.
11. Launch – 2:36 – Another Dark Knight sounding track to start. This has to be one of the louder, slower tracks here. There’s definitely a gravity to this… Zod’s Synths come in out of no where. Then we are treated to the lullaby from earlier to end the track.
12. Ignition – 1:20 – Drumlines take note. This one is for you. Such a since of urgency with this one. The drums are rolling right along. Nice and heavy. This will be repeated as well. WAY too short.
13. I Will Find Him – 2:57 – In the “Ideal of Hope” trailer, there is a moment where Zod, clad in a Kryptonian jumpsuit screams at (probably Jor’El) someone “I WILL FIND HIM”. I’m pretty sure this goes here. Seems a bit intense for a Trial though. Perhaps that’s how Kryptonian’s roll. Zimmer has included the drum cadence that proceeds the Zod Synth… and we get that shortly after the cadence. Multiple times. And it’s menacing to hear. Perhaps this is where Zod is banished. There’s a conflicting tone to this track. Perhaps we see the birth of Zod’s hatred for Kal-El here. Cause that’s sure what it sounds like.
14. This Is Clark Kent – 3:48 – I’ve listened to this track several times already. I love the progression of a simple piano tune which, again, I’ve dubbed “Clark’s Theme” that we’ve heard in the previews. On a side note, I want to learn how to play that on the piano. It then escalates. It grows. It morphs. To an adolescence in the piece. Not quite ‘mature’ yet, but more complex than the beginning. When the strings pick up quietly, there is a quizzical, playfully childish ambiance to it. But then it happens. The drums hit. We feel like we’ve matured in the track. Clark is now in his, I’d say late teens. Gaining responsibility. Putting away childish things. Heavy. Heavy Drums. Clark is a man now. But again, it ends ethereal and ominous…
15. I Have So Many Questions – 3:47 – I’m not sure who has the questions here, but I’m pretty sure that this is a track that may sound simple by itself, but the dialogue over it must fit perfect. Whether this scene plays out with Henry Cavil and Russel Crowe or Henry Cavil and Costner… this scene undoubtedly will be some great exposition. With the ending lullaby and violin. This must be a scene with Crowe AND Kal-El’s mother. Very warm ending.
16. Flight – 4:18 – I’m going to be replaying this track over and over again. I can guarantee this. It starts out with a feeling of realization. I can almost feel the sun peaking over a mountain and hitting my face for the first time. The chord progression and key changes are beautiful. And then they use Superman’s theme (Zimmer’s Superman theme, that is) quite well here. A different synth is used and it works perfectly and the drums are building with this synth (or perhaps it’s a guitar). Building more and more. It’s at a fever pitch when it disappears about half way through. The Lullaby comes back in. Followed by HEAVY drums. It’s soaring like it’s namesake. This track builds perfectly. I can’t wait to see a flight during this track. I wonder now if this is the climax battle music. Just dawned on me…
17. What Are You Going To Do When You’re Not Saving The World? – 5:28 – Ah. So THIS is where “An Ideal Of Hope” comes from. This is the extended track from the trailer which ran only 3:30 long. Clark’s theme starts out just like in the trailer. I’m assuming this is a conversation between Superman and Lois. I swear I heard a sigh in there somewhere. I’ve listened to a rendition of this track now for the last 4 to 5 weeks. I was listening to this as the sun was going down when I was atop Pilot Butte in Bend, Oregon. This is such a strong hero’s theme. It’s triumphant once everything kicks in. It’s uplifting. The running strings, the horns, and the underlying percussion that quickly takes the lead to bring us home. Thank you Hans Zimmer for giving us a memorable score. Something we haven’t had in comic book movies in a good while.
All in all, this is, in my opinion, a masterpiece. Hans Zimmer has done it again. He could have been set up for failure to be honest. John Williams score were big shoes to fill. But we are in a new world. A world where Superman doesn’t wear his underwear on the outside. A world where you won’t see Zod using super breath to make a man on roller skates roll off comically. We live in a world now where Metropolis seemingly suffers massive losses. Where a punch between super men sends shockwaves and destroy’s buildings. And John Williams’ score is too colorful for a “real world” situation I think. Don’t get me wrong, if my wife would have let me use the Superman theme at our wedding years ago, I would have. But Hans has delivered a Superman theme for a new age. It’s new, it’s raw, it’s relentless… and most of all: It’s Superman.
Buy the soundtrack here: