Monica White

COMM 105 – Visual Literacy

Movie Poster Critique


The movie poster I chose to use for my critique is one from the movie, The Dark Night. This is an action packed thriller and filled with lots of suspense and a touch of goriness, and just by looking at the movie poster it pinpoints each one of these themes. The symbolism that is used in the poster is clear and effective, making it quite easy for you feel the suspense building up. In saying this, the poster did an excellent job in giving you the feel and premise of the movie.

By blurring the image in the background the title, which is written in blood, is much more clear and stands out. In doing this, the goriness of the film is suggested. Also the ghostly image in the shadow and the foggy background give an element of a villain and darkness, which plays a big role throughout the movie. All these different effects tease the viewer, leaving them with many questions and wanting more. Questions like, who is this ghostly and scary figure in the background, and what role does he play in the film? Why is the title written in blood and what do those words even mean? By leaving the viewers with all these questions they have no choice now but to go and immediately see the movie to get their answers. In saying this I feel that this movie was indeed effective, and went above and beyond selling the movie.

As for a subversive message this poster does not in actuality contain a hidden message, rather it has a little bit of irony. When it comes to the actual message of this poster, it is a more of “what you see is what you get” kind of poster, and everything you see is blatant, and clear to understand. On the other hand when you start to look at the little things you start to see the irony that is being hinted. The most clear and biggest fixation in the poster that suggests irony is in the title itself. It is written in blood, yet it is asking the question “why are you so serious?” As if there was nothing serious about blood, goriness and going against rules and what is considered right.

To add on to the irony the character ends his question with a bloody smile. In doing this, humor is being justified in wrongdoing. This also suggests the characters role in this movie as being the joker, and what a big part he plays in the events that occur. Being the joker, this phrase not only tells us, but shows us how he considers all his actions to be nothing but a game. Because of this, he takes nothing seriously and expects the audience to do the same.

This is probably one of the most brilliant and clever posters designed. Not only because it was so remarkably constructed or because it captured the essence of the movie, but because of the whole idea behind it all. Although the joker was a huge character and a key center in this movie, it seems that what is really being sold here is the actor himself. Heath Ledger was a talented and huge actor that was known to many people but more than this, tragically his death came around the same time as the movies release. By putting him on the movie poster right after this devastating event, was a huge selling and marketing factor to get even more fans and people to watch the movie in memory and tribute to this amazing and talented person.


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