“Birds of Prey” poster analysis

The official Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn posters make a bold statement with their vivid colours and striking imagery.

Four recently released posters feature Harley Quinn – which some fans may think odd given the range of other well known comic book characters in the film. But remember, the VAST majority of movie-goers won’t be aware of these characters.

I would assume the marketing is using audience familiarity with Harley Quinn from the movie Suicide Squad, and of course with Margot Robbie herself to draw people in – then in later releases introduce the other characters.

For me, the posters contain homages to designs or imagery from previous posters or films. The pink gum on the sole of Harley’s boot reminds me of the pink bar of soap in the Fight Club poster – which then leads me to ponder on Harley’s mental state in the film. That same poster uses the bold yellow reminiscent of Kill Bill Vol 1 (and elements of the trailer seem Tarantino-like).

The poster of Harley on the police car has a neon glow like Drive or Brazil, with their themes of isolation, belonging, violence, and a desire for freedom.

I could go on – and sure, these may be deliberate homages, or just my imagination But that’s part of the fun, right?

Yet, sometimes the process of “decoding” a poster can be valuable. So I’ll finish this short post by sharing a detailed poster analysis of the first BoP poster by my 14-15 year old students.

Some are very aware of the film and the characters, some had no knowledge. The brief was to analyse the poster by looking at the “language” of the poster, the representations, the target audience, narrative codes, colour connotations, and layout.

I think they did a wonderful job.

Click here for a brief discussion on the use of music in the first trailer for Birds of Prey: “Why the Birds of Prey and “The Liffle Sparrow” are a great mix”.

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