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Falling into the Star Wars Trap

Spider-Man: Homecoming. For a movie so good, how could Sony have released a poster so bad?

In the words of one angry Twitter user, it looks like Sony “let a first-year design student use Photoshop Elements” to create the official one sheet. Ouch.

The first thing that came to mind when I saw the poster was the Star Wars franchise. The stylistic similarities are obvious, particularly with the character cutouts and explosions. For Star Wars, this design works not only because of the strong execution and deliberate composition, but also because it was original. The style became iconic for the franchise. For Spider-Man, however? Not so much. Beyond the confusing hierarchy and poor execution, it isn’t compelling because it’s nothing new.

Sony isn’t the only movie studio that has fallen into this trap recently—Paramount and Disney both distributed posters that also seemed to reuse the Star Wars formula this summer. Where has the creativity gone?

Dismal as it seems, the lack of originality lately may actually be a good thing. As seen with the overwhelming response to Spider-Man’s poster, conversation is being generated over studios’ lack of creativity. The general public—not just designers—are beginning to notice poor designs. Maybe this is the push Hollywood needs to bring artistry back to movie posters rather than be “safe” by doing what has already been done.