Creating The Right Movie Theme

man-of-steel-henry-cavill-superman1 It’s no secret, I’m a HUGE comic movie fan. My favorite film of all-time is The Dark Knight, and I am absolutely in love with The Dark Knight Trilogy. But it’s not just DC-based comic films that I’m fond of. I adored The Avengers last year, as well as Thor. I didn’t love Captain America completely, but it was a much better film than its predecessor from 1990. I did really enjoy the first and second Spider-man, absolutely hated the third (with Venom, Sandman, and a sort of Hobgoblin) and refused to see the new reboot. In 2005 I really enjoyed Superman Returns, but as time has passed I’ve come to like it less and less. I’m really REALLY excited about The Man Of Steel coming out June 14th. I’m so pumped in fact that when I listened to the release on the Official Music Score, I got to thinking about how Marvel and DC do film music completely differently.

John William’s theme for the Christopher Reeve Superman films is iconic. There are few people over the age of 20 that have not heard the theme song to 1978’s Superman at least 100 times. Even the Bryan Singer built Superman Returns plays on that theme. Tim Burton’s Batman films were driven by a more darkly toned orchestral theme. And Nolen’s Dark Knight trilogy was themed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. When you hear these themes, the intensity of the characters of Superman and Batman fill my mind and heart. It creates an emotional response.

punisher_war_zone_ver7 On the contrary, Marvel doesn’t use iconic orchestral themes to brand its characters as much as use pop-rock artists to craft original songs to be branded as the “official song” for the films. The Avengers featured music from Soundgarden, making their rock return in 2012. Iron Man 1 & 2‘s soundtracks (which I wrote on previously HERE) featured a lot of AC/DC & Ozzy Osbourne. Spiderman 2 featured then popular Dashboard Confessional. Punisher: War Zone featured a slew of progressive rock bands to push the intensity up a notch within the film.

It got me thinking: If DC were to take a page out of Marvel’s film music playbook, what band and/or what songs would be ideal to carry the theme/message of the films? What band, known or unknown, could represent the overall attitude and feeling on the movies in a way that would connect the audience even more to the core of the film?

Great fan art at
Great fan art at
I don’t have a solid answer to that, but I am thinking about it. If I were to score The Man of Steel, would I go for music that deals with the subject of being saved or needing saving, or would I go for something that involves finding identity in a foreign place? There are a lot of options to go in that route, but I’m curious what you think. If you were going to create the “Official Soundtrack” to the upcoming Superman film Man of Steel, what music would you use for both the theme song, as well as supplementary tracks? If Superman isn’t your cup of tea, how about a Batman series or any of the upcoming Marvel films?

(To help set the mood, here’s a great new trailer for Man of Steel)

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Host of the syndicated radio program The Appetizer heard on public radio across Texas and online from our Listen Now link; enjoys conversations, music, food, art, storytelling, and people. Connect with me. Would love to hear from you.

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