Posters of Prominence: The Avengers

Nigel Druitt

A self-described fanboy, Nigel has always looked at movies as entertainment first and art second. (Not that a film can't be both.) His personal Flickchart Top 20 is dominated by the likes of Frodo Baggins, Indiana Jones, Marty McFly and Christopher Nolan. Nigel is the Canadian arm of the Flickchart Blog, but try not to hold that against him. You can find him on Flickchart as johnmason, where his chart is currently undergoing a major overhaul.

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6 Responses

  1. So what you’re saying, Nigel, is that you’re having a hard time getting excited about The Avengers and you think The Dark Knight did it better.

    They did a comic book-inspired ad campaign for Sin City, and if you go back a bit, the Tales from the Crypt movies, too. You’re right that there’s a lot of squandered potential for comic book art-inspired posters. I suspect a lot of it has to do with the pervasive sense that Movies > Comic Books and that no one will want to go see a movie that actually resembles a comic book. I think that perception is changing, though, as each year Hollywood continues to overrun San Diego Comic Con and treat it as a trade show rather than a comic book convention where they’re invited as guests.

    Also, I look to the growing popularity of what Mondo has been doing with posters as an indication that perhaps studios will become aware that they can afford to take some more chances with poster designs. It’s quite a risk to take, though, because the average movie goer has to be comforted into spending $10 on a ticket. They want to be reassured going into the movie that they’re not going into something very far outside their comfort zone or expectations. A poster that looks too different can scare off potential viewers.

    Most of the Mondo posters are terrific pieces, but remember: 99% of them have been for older, established movies, where poster buyers are already familiar with the elements and devoted to the film. It’s difficult to imagine many of those pieces on display in the theater lobby and not seeming to be a bit too much for Joe Sixpack.

    In any event, I think The Avengers had to be a marketer’s nightmare just because of the number of principle cast members to include. Look how awkward it is to have Robert Downey, Jr.’s face prominently displayed in the middle of what’s supposed to be an action scene. Why would Iron Man not be helmeted right then? Same with Chris Evans as Cap. They just scream, “contract requirement!” instead of “aesthetic choice.”You know what this poster reminds me of? Colorforms. It’s like there was a generic, burning skyline backdrop and several different poses and sizes of each of the main cast and someone tinkered with them until they got bored and this was the final product.

    I can’t say I’m interested in seeing The Avengers, largely because I haven’t seen any of the precursor movies, unless you go back and count 2003’s Hulk (I’m given to understand that The Incredible Hulk glossed over it and made it entirely unimportant anyway).

    • Nigel Druitt says:

      Forgive the tardiness of this reply.

      Let me be clear: The Avengers is a movie I’m going to see. It’s a movie half the free world is going to see. Yes, I think the poster campaigns for The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises are light years ahead of this one, but those also aren’t the only ones. They’re making crappy posters for this movie. That’s my only point.

      You may be right about a “marketing nightmare”, especially since I’m certain there’s some clause in Downey’s contract about his face being on the dang poster, but this thing still just seems lazy.

      When a movie is as anticipated as this one, why couldn’t they afford to be a bit more adventurous and, dare I say, playful with their poster campaign? Even with SOME of the posters? I don’t think there’s much “risk” involved when you’re talking about The Avengers, a movie Marvel has spent a half-dozen other films hyping.

      Also, you’re right: Sin City had a great poster campaign. And I think it even contributed to me actually seeing a movie I ultimately didn’t like. I still like the posters.

      Not all movies – or even comic-book movies – have bad poster campaigns. But I am noticing an annoying trend where Marvel’s films are concerned.

    • I was at the C2E2 convention this past weekend, and Marvel Comics had a stage set up at their booth with a huge banner of this poster as the backdrop. Seeing it tower at, like, 15 feet tall created a much different impression than looking at the image on a computer screen, or even the standard 27×40 poster size. At that huge scale, it was much easier to tell that each character is looking somewhere different for the purpose of creating the sense that they’re surrounded by enemies.

      It’s still a flawed poster, but I do concede that there was more thought that went into it than I had originally given credit.

  1. April 18, 2012

    […] Expo this year. Marvel’s booth was dominated by a stage with a backdrop of The Avengers release poster, in front of which guests were invited to be photographed with props of Captain America’s shield […]