The image above was taken from a movie poster advertisement for the 2004 film, Spider-Man 2, which is based on the Marvel comics by the same name. According to IMDb, this movie ranks in the # 8 spot under the category of the Best Superhero Movies as of 2020. 

In order to analyze this poster, we must take away any prior knowledge/backstory and view the poster as just that. Below, the Goffmanian Analysis will be used to analyze the poster: 

  1. Function Ranking = On this movie poster, we see that Mary Jane’s character is dressed in a nice shirt and that her hair is strewn about. These two aspects of her appearance are evidence for her being a normal everyday person without special skills or powers. She is clearly of a lower status than Spider-Man, who is all decked out in his costume. This confirms our expectation that men are going to be portrayed as having a higher status than women in advertising, specifically in film posters. 
  2. Ritualization of Subordination = In this film poster, Spider-Man is clearly the dominant figure. Mary Jane is portrayed physically under him, giving her a sense of submission. This is the first poster in which this could be obviously identified, which is good in the sense that not many of the 2000’s superhero movie posters show the dynamic of dominance vs. submission among the male and female characters. However, there are still other aspects of the Goffmanian Analysis that can be seen consistently throughout the posters. 
  3. Licensed Withdrawal = As usual, with these Superhero film posters, there is yet another female character who is looking off into the distance. This form of withdrawal gives her a sense of inactivity, because she seems to be playing the damsel in distress card in which Spider-Man is saving her. This overall invites us to look at her body and bare shoulders and neck versus her face and her eyes. 

Shared by: Maddie Glosny
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