Poster Impressions: Spider-Man Movies

It goes without saying that there seems to always be a superhero movie playing in theaters (outside of the current COVID-world). It looks as though they aren’t going away anytime soon, either. This is especially the case for everyone’s favorite web-slinger, Spider-Man. 2002’s Spider-Man was the start of the current Hollywood comic book movie fad, and the franchise has had multiple reboots since then. There have been several actors to portray the iconic character, and there is currently an on-going series within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Spider-Man movies have had so many ups and downs over the years since Toby Maguire donned the mask, making them perfect specimens for Poster Impressions. Let’s take a close look at the posters for the Spider-Man movies.

Spider-Man (2002)

spidey 2002

The first thing that jumps from this poster is orange. Lots of orange. The windows are orange, the atmosphere is orange, and Spider-Man and the streets below him have an orange tinge to them. I’m not sure why the poster needed an orange filter to it as if the strangest sunset is currently taking place. It doesn’t quite match the look of the movie, which is actually pretty colorful.

This poster certainly does its job. It brings attention to the fact that a Spider-Man movie is happening. He’s not just standing there in front of a bland background, either. He’s actually doing what Spider-Man does! He’s using his superpowers to crawl up the side of a building, and the effect looks incredible!

Seeing this particular camera angle looking down from the skyscraper and seeing the cars and buildings below showcase exactly the kind of action and cinematography the audience will see in the movie, which also happens to be action and cinematography that could only be pulled off in a wall-crawling, web-slinging Spider-Man movie. This was a rather unique spectacle to see at this time.

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

spidey 2

The best part about this poster is that it gives us a look at what superheroes are supposed to do that we don’t always see in movies, and that’s protect people. Spidey is clearly ready to take any hit for Mary Jane. He looks truly heroic.

The Spidey suit has some tears in it as if Spider-Man has been in battle. If he’s been taking hits like that, it tells the audience that the action must be intense. It’s a little strange that the damage is just on his arm though.

One of the coolest details in this poster is the reflection of Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man’s eye. It’s a great shot, and it lets us know who he’s fighting this time around. What’s odd about this, though, is that the eyes on his mask aren’t typically reflective like this.

Similar to the poster for the first movie, there’s a weird orange tinge to this one. Why? Why not just let it be colorful like the movie?

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

spidey 3

This poster makes it look like Spider-Man is going to fight an evil version of himself, but that’s obviously not quite what happens in the film. Like the tagline says, “The Greatest Battle Lies Within,” meaning that the film is mostly about Peter’s inner conflict. This is a cool way to depict that and all, but Peter also fights three villains in this movie. Should the inner conflict really be the focus?

This is a great showcase of the black Spider-Man suit. It looks awesome. One one hand, it’s fun to add a sense of edginess to the movie, on the other, past superhero movies before this, like X-Men, already did the whole “edgy black clothes” look. These Spider-Man movies proved that a comic book movie can be bright and colorful and be good. Seeing the black suit may be really cool, but it’s also concerning that they might be losing part of what made the first two so great.

This is a weird observation, but judging by the eyes of both Spider-Men, the one in the red suit looks angrier than the one in the black suit. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

amazing spidey

This immediately screams “this will be a darker, edgier Spider-Man,” which is a good way of letting people know this may be different than what they have come to expect from Spider-Man movies and a good way to change things up for this rebooted series. However, again, is “dark and edgy” what people want from Spider-Man?

The scratches on his chest are pretty brutal. They’re definitely more than just torn cloth this time. This could lead audiences to believe the action has higher stakes this time around. What’s interesting about them is that they are clearly claw marks. It does not directly tell us who the villain is, but comic book fans can guess based on which of Spidey’s enemies might be fighting with claws. It’s a neat little hint toward the Lizard.

Once again, Spider-Man’s eyes have a detailed reflection in them. Are his eyes typically this reflective? I feel like they’re not, but I could be remembering incorrectly. What’s weird about this reflection is that it doesn’t tell us anything. At least for Spider-Man 2, it depicts Doc Ock, revealing who the antagonist of the film will be. Here, it’s just more city skyline, which we already get in the background. It may be aesthetically pleasing, but it doesn’t tell us much.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

amazing spidey 2

“His greatest battle begins” not only sounds generic and vague, but is kind of hilarious given how this film has aged. It’s often referred to as one of the worst Spider-Man movies, so it’s far from the “greatest.” “Greatest battle” could refer to the three antagonists of the film, which would be a difficult battle. However, that doesn’t exactly make for great storytelling. It just means it jumps around a lot. It’s also pretty humorous that it’s saying that his greatest battle is beginning, since this film turned out to be the last of this particular Spider-Man series.

The city being upside-down in the background is awesome. Once again, this type of angle goes to show the unique cinematography that can only be pulled off in a Spider-Man movie. Plus, newcomers to Spider-Man (if those still exist) could understand the character’s powers from looking at this image.

The colors and lighting in the poster are vivid and bright, which is aesthetically pleasing and matches the tone of the comics. However, it’s not quite what we get in the film, as it’s relatively dark throughout. It’s probably one of the darkest-looking Spider-Man movies, actually. So, why are the poster’s colors so misleading? Perhaps the studio realized what people wanted from the character a little too late.

What is he hanging from here? If it’s a building, it’s much taller than the others in the background and is very curvy. Are New York City skyscrapers that curvy?

Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

homecoming

This poster is all over the place. There is way too much going on in it. We don’t need to see almost every character on a movie poster, especially when it’s just showcasing their smiling faces with not much other detail. Seeing Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the Vulture in action poses is cool, but Aunt May smiling is just sort of… there.

Peter, Tony, and the Vulture are all on the poster twice, which is really confusing. There aren’t clones of them in the movie. Seeing Peter as Spider-Man is enough to tell us it’s a Spider-Man movie. Iron Man being present tells us it’s a Spider-Man movie in the MCU. We don’t need them there twice.

One of the biggest problems with this poster is also one of the biggest problems with the movie (not to say the movie is bad, though). The image of Tony is double the size of the image of Peter, and Iron Man is in the foreground while Spider-Man is in the background. It makes it appear that this is an Iron Man movie that features Spider-Man, not the other way around.

Another misleading visual in the poster is the depicted locations. It looks like the Washington Monument is on an island off the coast of New York City, which is obviously not the case. It is pretty cool seeing the Avengers Tower in the New York City skyline, though.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

spiderverse

This poster, like the movie, has an amazing aesthetic. The animation style, the upside-down angle, and even the lettering all look unique. The titles look like they could be the title of a comic book.

Obviously, this poster tells us two major details. One is that it’s an animated Spider-Man movie, which we’ve never seen on the big screen before. The other is that it features a different Spider-Man; one who isn’t Peter Parker. This is the first time Miles Morales has been used for a movie, and we can tell a good amount about him from this image alone. The spray-painted Spider-Man symbol, the hooded jacket, and the high-top sneakers tells us what sort of interests or styles he enjoys. It also tells us that he may be young and in high school, like Peter often is for those who are only familiar with him.

Miles falling upside-down looks as though it could cause confusion or disorientation, which is exactly how the character feels throughout the film as he’s thrown into the superhero life and tries to keep up with the other Spider heroes. It’s a neat way to personify how the protagonist is feeling and what they are going through with just one image.

What’s interesting with this poster is that it does not do much to showcase the “Spider-verse” aspect of the movie. We don’t see any of the other Spider heroes. Without knowing much about the movie, someone could be confused by the title and be stuck wondering what this “Spider-verse” is. Obviously, there are other posters and advertising for the movie that feature the other characters, and this one in particular is to introduce the world to Miles, so it’s not much of an issue.

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

far from home

It’s like the studio wanted to shout “You wanted to see Spider-Man? Well, here’s his face!” It’s a relatively simple, yet effective poster design. It tells us there’s another Spider-Man movie coming out, which is honestly enough to get people excited to see it.

There are a few other things this poster tells us. For instance, we know from the stickers on his mask that Peter will be traveling around Europe. The disorganized and haphazard sticker placement, plus the bright colors, points to the film having an upbeat, lighthearted tone.

Spidey’s eyes in the poster are also particularly interesting. Similar to Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man’s other appearances in the MCU, parts of his suit, such as the mask’s eyes, are mechanical thanks to Tony Stark. One could wonder what kind of presence Tony Stark would have had in this film after being such a large part of the first installment and exiting the franchise in Avengers: Endgame.

Because this is such a simple poster design, there is some information it doesn’t tell us. This is fine because some things are better left for the actual movie. This may be a great poster that shows us that Spider-Man is stepping outside of New York to travel Europe, but that’s about it. There’s no telling who the villain could be or what sort of challenges Spidey will face in Europe, if any at all.

It’ll be exciting to see what other types of posters there will be for Spider-Man movies in the future because, let’s face it, they aren’t stopping any time soon.

Sound off in the comments with what movie posters you’ll want to see discussed in future posts!

2 comments

    • Visual Rhetoric can be a fun topic to study. lol. I feel that a movie poster is an important way to market the film, so it needs to be good, eye-catching, tell what the movie is about, but not give away too much.

      Like

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