gorgeous painted ‘Avengers’ posters will make you fall in love with movies again

Part of what made me fall in love with movies when I was a kid was the posters. The beautiful painted posters for movies such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars were about more than selling a movie. They were about creating new mythologies. (Of course, that was part of the marketing: mythology feels more urgent than just any old story, and hence are easier to sell.)
Now, Marvel is reviving that lost art with a series of magnificent posters for next year’s Avengers movie. I noted recently that movie posters today can be striking works of advertising, but I didn’t realize the larger-than-life myth element was missing from them until I saw these posters. Just a few in the series:

Chris Evans as Captain America in The Avengers

Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye in The Avengers

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in The Avengers

Important to the mythologizing is that the painted images are not perfect likenesses of the actors. They’re close, but there’s room enough for a sense that the characters are real people, not inventions being played by actors.

This last might be my favorite:

Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow as Tony Stark and Pepper Potts in The Avengers

Not for the least reason that it echoes one of the key romantic images of my early geekhood:

Han (Harrison Ford) and Leia (Carrie Fisher) kiss in The Empire Strikes Back

Which was mythologized like this:

The Empire Strikes Back poster

It imbues in me an even deeper, almost atavistic desire to see The Avengers. Which I have no doubt was the intention.

See more at Movies.com, where you can also see a full-size version of what happens when you link up the posters:

Avengers mega poster

(Be sure to click to embiggen it.)

Read about the artists — Ryan Meinerding, Charlie Wen, and Andy Park — at Marvel.com.

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