Every MCU Poster Explained, By a Hollywood Poster Artist

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James Verdesoto knows his movie posters: he's been designing them himself for three decades and has created some iconic pieces, including those for Pulp Fiction and Ocean's Eleven. This level of experience and skill makes him the perfect person to deconstruct the posters for every Marvel Cinematic Universe film so far, and he's done just that in a new video.

Breaking down the facets of poster art, Verdesoto references elements such as perspective, which in the case of many MCU films means a viewer's eye is drawn upward, as though seeing the heroes hovering above all else. He also discusses how using a broad perspective can allow an artist to fit many more characters into a frame, something that is imperative when dealing with large ensemble films like the Avengers franchise. Color, too, is a key element that can offer insight into what one can expect from a movie while dissecting its posters for clues, with contrasting red and blue being a recurring and eye-popping theme in Marvel's advertising art.

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A side-by-side comparison of the MCU posters and the comics that inspired them is also a point of discussion. As he makes reference to a cover from a 1998 Avengers Assemble issue, it becomes clear just how much overlap there is between it and the first Avengers poster.

Verdesoto makes much of the fact that movie posters can be as much about what's in the image as what isn't. In the case of Captain America: Civil War, he points out that the poster is much less busy and full than some of the others, foreshadowing and highlighting the film's central conflict between Iron Man and Captain America. Verdesoto likens it to traditional boxing posters in which opponents are set to literally face off against one another, a nod to the climactic battle scene between Steve and Tony in Civil War.

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The poster for 2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming is a bit of an outlier in the MCU, according to Verdesoto, as he cites jarring differences in the scale of each character featured. Spider-Man is set off in a different direction from the rest of the troop, and the color and size of each character is intended to confuse the eye of the viewer while implying a degree of chaos in Peter Parker's story arc. The video contrasts this with the poster for the upcoming Captain Marvel, which is a very linear and straightforward image, introducing a single character and adding subtle details such as her symbol imprinted on the frame around her. Verdesoto compares the Captain Marvel art to that of the 1994 film The Crow, saying that the amount of dark space around the central characters is hinting at something altogether new and unexpected in store for the audience.

The takeaway of the video is that nothing Marvel has done in its promotional material is by accident. Those who enjoy a broad range of film outside the MCU will find Verdesoto's interpretation of each poster fascinating, as he points to how certain Marvel characters are depicted in a very similar way to classic names in cinema: Red Skull as Al Capone, for example. The artist is able to perform a deep analysis on each Marvel installment, from Black Panther to Guardians of the Galaxy and every movie in between, making the 20 minute video a worthwhile watch for fans who look forward to finding every Easter egg and any hints at possible plot twists whenever a new poster is released by the studio.

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As the release dates for Captain Marvel (March 8), Avengers: Endgame (April 26) and Spider-Man: Far From Home (July 5) draw nearer, fans may want to look back on this video to borrow Verdesoto's critical eye. Each carefully crafted poster tells its audience something, and using these veteran tricks may help eager viewers discover a few secrets that have been placed there for them to find.

(via Vanity Fair)

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