Zack Snyder’s first foray into the world of the DC Extended Universe came in 2013 with Man of Steeland the film featured an outstanding soundtrack with arguably the best Superman theme to date. As well as marking the beginning of what would go on to become the DCEU, including films such as Justice League, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, the movie also marked a significant departure from the brightness and more light-hearted nature of Richard Donner’s 1978 feature film Superman. Yet, one of the film’s most outstanding attributes is that of its soundtrack, which gave us the best Superman music of all.


After initially denying the rumors that he was going to be scoring the Snyder-directed Superman movie, composer Hans Zimmer eventually confirmed he was indeed going to be lending his musical talent to Man of Steel approximately one year prior to the movie’s release in June 2013. After subsequent teases and releases, the full soundtrack was released around the same time as the film itself, albeit to mixed reviews. Some called the film and its soundtrack joyless, whilst others praised it for being bold enough to step away completely from John Williams’ iconic “Superman March” from 1978.

The score to Man of Steel is arguably one of the film’s most distinctive qualities. It rises and falls, it crescendos and recedes, and it is starkly different to Williams’ work from over forty years ago. Zimmer and Snyder combined to create an entirely different beast, and one which arguably eclipses the original in a number of different ways. Music can be many things to many listeners, and for Zimmer to have so expertly delivered a score that is reflective of Superman’s character arc in the DCEU is nothing short of exceptional. Man of Steel‘s score is less about the bombastic and anthemic nature of Williams’ original and focuses more on the narrative of the hero himself, it is Superman movie music that reflects the character’s whole story.

Having heard the soundtrack’s themes come up multiple times in subsequent releases such as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, it is increasingly apparent that the work first composed by Zimmer is the best Superman theme created throughout the character’s decorated history. The way it builds to a powerful and heroic moment aligns itself perfectly with the narrative Snyder worked so hard to create in Man of Steel. Throughout the movie, viewers see Henry Cavill’s Superman repeatedly bullied, pushed, beaten, and subjected to tragedy. Yet, for all the low moments, there is still a point where the hero rises above it all.

Gone is the rousing nature of Williams’ score, and here is instead a soundtrack that pays homage to the tragedy that has befallen Clark Kent throughout his early life, from spending years hiding his true self, to losing both of his fathers, to eventually embracing his abilities and flying higher than he ever thought possible. When tying these threads together into one stunning piece of music, Zimmer’s Superman theme in Man of Steel is a thing of beauty that reflects the journey of Cavill’s Superman, before culminating in a thundering and towering amalgamation of heroism. That’s all without mentioning the clever musical cue that likens Superman to General Zod in Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

Zimmer may have already proven himself to be one of the greatest film composers of his generation, but his work on Man of Steel shows he can reinvent a classic to the point where it supersedes the original. Snyder may or may not return to the DCEU in the future, especially with an upcoming Man of Steel reboot, but the Superman theme from Man of Steel will no doubt live long in the memory as one of the best to ever grace the big screen.

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