It’s not surprising news, given that Man of Steel is produced by Christopher Nolan and Zimmer has scored the director’s entire Batman trilogy as well as Inception, but it’s certainly a welcome and encouraging choice. There have been periods in the composer’s career where I feel he rested on his laurels, but since The Dark Knight, the majority of Zimmer’s work has been positively inspired, with his scores for the iconic Batman sequel, Sherlock Holmes, and Inception all standing as modern classics of film composition.
With that in mind, I’m eager to hear what he’ll do for Man of Steel. I assume he’ll reuse the original John Williams theme from Richard Donner‘s 1978 movie (and if he doesn’t, that will be a huge mistake), and it will be fascinating to hear how he melds Williams’ iconic style with his own darker musical instincts.
In fact, the musical characteristics that define Zimmer seem to be a perfect match for the direction of Snyder’s film. Man of Steel does not appear to be a lighthearted take on the Superman mythos, but a much darker one. Fans can debate whether or not that direction is appropriate, but hiring Zimmer indicates that there is, at the very least, a concrete idea in place for the film’s tone, and Zimmer’s music will no doubt support in spades. If Nolan and Snyder desired a lighter, more traditional take on Superman, Michael Giacchino would no doubt be their guy; he proved adept at imitating John Williams in Super 8, and he wrote one of the all-time great superhero scores for The Incredibles.
But as I said, Nolan and Snyder appear to be moving in a different direction, and that makes Zimmer a fine choice. I’ve never felt Snyder was particularly qualified to tackle Superman, especially after the colossal embarrassment that was Sucker Punch, but I am interested in hearing how Zimmer’s score will complement the action; Superman, at his best or worst, is defined by the music behind him, and that’s what makes today’s news a significant step forward.
Man of Steel arrives in theatres on June 14th, 2013. Before then, we’ll hear Zimmer assist Christopher Nolan close out the Batman trilogy in The Dark Knight Rises.