Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Silver Samurai poster debuts

Character poster for the Silver Samurai
Fox have debuted a Silver Samurai character poster in preparation for the forthcoming sequel The Wolverine. Last month, I wrote an article  that analysed the film's marketing campaign and questioned the decision to focus entirely on the titular character (played by Hugh Jackman).

Well, it seems that the marketing team have finally started to bring some much-needed focus towards the sequel's other pivotal characters.

The very stylish image (seen right) is an ink-design interpretation of Wolverine's iconic adversary, and one of the film's primary antagonists, though you'd be forgiven for not realising it.

This design is well below the standard expected of a movie poster for a major tentpole that is due for release in July. The artwork opts for style rather than offering its audience any useful information and the result is well below-par.

This is yet another poster that alienates non-comic fans or those simply unfamiliar with the character, it is too reliant on subtly and the notion that less is more. In this case, it's not.

Character poster for Wolverine
Crucially, not only is the design muddled and unclear, there is absolutely no indication that it is an advertisement for The Wolverine movie. The Silver Samurai isn't a character who is instantly recognisable like Wolverine (see left) and as such the audience may struggle to identify him.

It is too late for subtlety in relation to the film's lesser-known characters. While that would have been effective 4-6 months ago, the audience now needs to have a clear understanding of what to expect.

Shrouding the Silver Samurai in mystery will only prove detrimental to the narrative and subsequently, the film's box-office performance. There is absolutely no indication that the character is a major antagonist and the poster design is even devoid of a character name, which would at least introduce cinema-goers to him.

It has already been established that Wolverine will face his toughest threat in this movie, but much of the details remain strangely ambiguous. However, it could easily be rectified with the introduction of several character posters that sufficiently identify the main antagonists.

The Silver Samurai design is clumsy and appears strangely passive. Notice how his sword is facing away and down, this resembles someone who either does not want to fight or has yielded. Surely a more assertive pose would have achieved the desired effect?

Additionally, the Silver Samurai seems to share several striking similarities to Optimus Prime of the Transformers (see below), which is yet another flaw of the poster design.

Optimus Prime (Transformers) t-shirt
This is undoubtedly a major step backwards for The Wolverine marketing campaign, their inability to (as yet) familiarise the primary antagonists with general cinema-goers may prove detrimental to the film's box-office performance. However, there is time to make amends and I have no doubt that more character posters will be released over the coming weeks and hopefully they will be a vast improvement.

Here's a synopsis for The Wolverine:

Set sometime after X-Men: The Last Stand, Logan travels to Japan, where he engages a mysterious figure from his past in a fight that has lasting consequences. Vulnerable for the first time, and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel, but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than ever before.

The Wolverine is directed by James Mangold and stars Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine. The film is scheduled for release in the US and UK on 26th July 2013.

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