Title - 'Superman Returns' (Rhino)
Artist - John Ottman
The first time I'd heard John Ottman's work was in 'X2', so I was very sceptical that he could pull this off. John Williams soundtrack for the original film is still the Gold-Standard for all Superhero films for the past thirty years. How can you top that? Answer? You don't. Instead, like Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard on 'Batman Begins,' you take a different approach and write music that's appropriate for the film. The result is a quieter and more introspective soundtrack - not as moody or atmospheric as 'Batman Begins,' but not as bright and upbeat as John Williams original work either. My only criticisms are that much of the tracks could be mistaken for "incidental music" on an initial listen - especially if you haven't seen the film. The mark of a great soundtrack is that watching the film first isn't necessary. Unfortunately, that isn't the case here, and neither is it the case for 'Batman Begins.' Another criticism is the choices of which music to use. For instance, there's a fantastic use of the Superman Theme at the end of the plane sequence that really, really should've been included at the end of the "Rough Flight" track. Another is in "Memories", where the music for Clark crashing through the barn roof, isn't used. In the end, both John Ottman had the odds stacked against him for this soundtrack. It's a thankless task, trying to top a classic. I think Ottman did an okay job with it, but I do sometimes wish Bryan Singer had asked John Williams or even Howard Shore to to it instead. In all fairness to Ottman, It's not easy to score a film and edit it at the same time.