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Man Of Steel by Hans Zimmer (Review)

posted Jun 11, 2013, 9:52 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Jun 12, 2013, 9:55 AM ]

Music is an amazing thing. It’s one of those things that is unique to us as a species and it’s our greatest form of communication. Anyone can understand music, and that’s amazing. The world of scores is where music lives. And in that world there happens to be a composer named Hans Zimmer. You may see my Zimmer reviews as biased being that he’s my favorite composer, and he’s the reason why when I was 9 I wanted to become a filmmaker. But I take every review as seriously as I can, and when I say that Man Of Steel may be one of Hans Zimmer’s most intensely engaging action scores I truly mean it.

The score starts off immediately with the central theme, which is the theme everyone heard in the trailers. It is that heroic theme that sets the groundwork for what’s to come. What follows is a supremely intense emotional ride. The percussion on the next track “Oil Rig” is heart-pounding. The percussion will remind Zimmer fans of Black Hawk Down where it exists in a slower form, but here Zimmer turns the intensity up to 11. What I noticed immediately at the beginning of the score is how much of Clark’s character is embedded in the music. The haunting female vocal reminds us of Clark’s origins, his parents and home. The track "Goodbye My Son" is a painfully beautiful lullaby. Hans can then take Clark's theme and with that piano motif create a sense of want; a desire to escape isolation. Zimmer has found Superman’s weakness, and he expresses it through the score. We see it and we feel it. It’s painfully beautiful. There is also the motif heard in “DNA”, and it creates this mysterious backstory that slowly reveals itself. It’s simple, has a commanding presence but has a layer of ambiguous motivation behind it. The two central motifs eventually merge in “This Is Clark Kent”, an amazing moment. Then in a stunning moment in “Flight” the motif first heard in “DNA” reveals itself to be part of Clark’s theme. Zod’s motif emerges perfectly throughout the score to create another opposition that tries to suffocate Clark Kent’s journey. The emotional passages in this score are so simple yet they echo so strongly. This has always been Zimmer’s greatest strength; painting emotion through simplicity. He has the ability to find the notes that matter, which connect us to the characters.

Now the action side of this score is a beast of its own. The action cues are pure Zimmer but they are so damn perfectly structured. They are also as grand and loud as can be. The sense of danger, risk of loss and weight of the conflict is always there. The central themes are molded throughout. There is always a sense of danger that makes the music matter, you fear failure while listening to this music. I don’t know how that happens, but it does. The motifs battle each other and you’re rooting for the hero to emerge and right all the wrongs. Your hairs are raised and you have goosebumps all over. The track "Terraforming" is a nearly 10-minute track that ranks among the composer's best. It's a jaw-dropping sequence of music. The music flows as naturally as it could, you can’t imagine it going anywhere else than where it does go. There is just something special about what Hans can do. His unbelievable ability to connect you to an emotion, a thought, a character, a sequence, a story.

The final track is that “stepping into the light” moment, where everything shows itself and is resolved. The music soars and there is not an ounce of sarcasm or intent for that to be a pun. The grandeur behind it is as inspiring as anything you will hear. This is a different kind of masterstroke than what Hans did for The Dark Knight trilogy. With all the darkness we see in real life we finally have something that shines a light on humanity. Man Of Steel is a mesmerizing character journey through extreme obstacles that ends speeding towards new heights. It’s easy to lose yourself in this music and forget it’s a score to a film, you might just see your own life journey for a moment. 

The two-disc limited edition comes with a bonus disc of suites and sketches that show the building blocks of this momentous piece of work. No one should hesitate to experience what Hans Zimmer has cooked up for Man Of Steel. It’s emotionally rich and character driven scores of action grandeur like this that come along now and then to remind us why film music is the best music.