With the release of the new official movie poster for Avengers: Endgame, we are now 22 posters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, in a new video from Vanity Fair (via Laughing Squid), longtime movie poster artist James Verdesoto breaks down the artistic merits (or lack thereof, in some cases) of all the Marvel Studios posters released thus far. And his insights are very illuminating for fans of the MCU, and just fans of film in general.
Lots of movie buffs lament the “lost art” of movie poster design, recognizing that today’s Photoshopped posters can’t hold a candle to the painted ones of yesteryear—for instance, the incredible work of artists like Drew Struzan. Struzan and other talented artists made iconic posters for the original Star Wars films, Blade Runner, the Indiana Jones movies, Back to the Future, and so many more. Having said that, it would be untrue to say that there is no art to today’s crop of movie posters, as many of them are case studies in how good composition can pull you in (and also how a bad composition can throw you off).
Aside from just their composition and striking use of color, the video also highlights just how the Marvel Studios posters have drawn from those great movie posters of the past. There are elements of The Crow in the Captain Marvel poster for example, and flashes of the original one-sheet of Alien in the poster for The Incredible Hulk. Thor: The Dark World, which leaned heavily into fantasy themes like Lord of the Rings, looked to those films’ posters for inspiration. And wisely, the Avengers: Age of Ultron poster was inspired by the comic book covers for Avengers by seminal illustrator George Perez, showing how deeply tied the MCU movies are to their comic book source material.