Man of Steel is the soundtrack to the film of the same name composed by Hans Zimmer. It was released on June 11, 2013 by WaterTower Music. The exclusive deluxe edition of the album contains six bonus tracks, entitled "Are You Listening, Clark?", "General Zod", "You Led Us Here", "This Is Madness!", "Earth" and "Arcade".
Hans Zimmer initially denied popular rumours that he would be composing the film's soundtrack. However, in June 2012, it was confirmed that Zimmer would in fact be writing the film's musical score. To completely distinguish Man of Steel from the previous films, the iconic "Superman March" by John Williams is not heard. The musical score from the third trailer, entitled "An Ideal of Hope", was released online for listening purposes on April 19, 2013. This music was a shortened version of the album track "What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World?". In late April 2013, the official track listing of the two-disc deluxe edition was revealed.
Popular reception to the score was positive and the album rose to #4 on iTunes during the first week of its release. Critical reception for the score, however, has been polarized.
The soundtrack opened at number 9 on the Billboard 200 with 32,000 copies sold.
While popular among fans, the score was polarized by critics. Many were quite disappointed of the score, citing it as being repetitive, simplistic and over-reliant on drums, though others reacted more positively.
In her review of the film, Ann Hornday, from The Washington Post, called the score "turgid" and "over-produced".
Jonathan Broxton of Movie Music UK commended the tracks "Flight" and "What are You Doing When You're Not Saving the World?" as the best in the soundtrack album, but criticized the lack of development of those themes and the simplicity of the writing, stating, "For [Superman] to be saddled with witless percussion, such predictable string writing, and such a simplistic and repetitive thematic statement is disappointing in the extreme."
Christian Clemmensen of Filmtracks.com dismissed the score as a "lowest common denominator" effort, criticizing the excessive use of percussion over other instruments, such as woodwinds or chimes. He concluded by saying, "Ultimately, Zimmer was right. He was the wrong man for this assignment".
James Southall, of Movie Wave, cited concerns with the score's over-reliance on a brass effect, dubbed "horn of doom" (made popular with the music from Inception) and wrote, "Man of Steel – the film – may not have the ambition of Inception – but it still has its unique musical needs, and they’re just not satisfied."
Conversely, James Christopher Monger, writing for Allmusic, called the soundtrack "grittier and darker than any of its predecessors, due in large part to Zimmer's proclivity for non-stop, thunderous percussion, though it retains enough goose bump-inducing moments to be called a proper Superman score, especially on the elegiac "Look to the Stars" and its soaring counterpart "What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World?," both of which dutifully reflect the iconic superhero's propensity for both goodness and might". Chris McEneany of AVForums stated that Zimmer, despite his excessive use of drums, "[came] up with a work that is blistering, beautiful, bold and, I have to say it, brilliant." Jørn Tillnes of Soundtrackgeek gave the score a rave review, stating, "The purists, the soundtrack geeks of old will no doubt hate this score and will use every ounce of their energy to bash it as nothing more than generic droning music. For the rest of us, I believe the new bold direction the Superman franchise is taking is both brilliant and brave. Superman deserves this score and so do you."
On the digital version of the deluxe edition, the track "What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World?" is shown as the first track of the second disc rather than the last track of the first disc.
Disc 1 – Flight
"Look to the Stars"
"Sent Here for a Reason"
"Goodbye My Son"
"If You Love These People"
"You Die or I Do"
"I Will Find Him"
"This Is Clark Kent"
"I Have So Many Questions"
"What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World?"
Disc 2 – Experiments from the Fortress of Solitude