"Oh my god, Becky, look at her butt!" exclaims an awestruck blonde to her BFF in the opening of Sir-Mix-A-Lot's 1992 hit song, "Baby Got Back." Over the course of the wiggle-inducing track, the rapper from Seattle waxes poetic on the endless allure of the "bootay," producing what has ultimately become one of the most popular and enduring rump shakers in the known universe.
Perhaps it was only by cosmic coincidence that May of 2017 — which marked the 25th anniversary of Sir Mix-A-Lot's still remarkably popular song — also saw the theatrical release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. Though one might seemingly have nothing at all to do with the other, a promotional image for Guardians 2 somehow brings Sir Mix-A-Lot's song to mind.
The image to which I'm referring is a pulse-pounding panorama that features seven members of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2's extremely colorful cast. Featured at its center, next to a stylish and heroic-looking Star Lord (Chris Pratt) is the green-skinned and gorgeous Gamora (Zoe Saldana), with her little leather-clad buns turned tantalizingly toward the viewer.
With a glimmering sword resting on the shoulder of her black leather vest, Gamora's dark green lips are slightly parted, and her reddish-brown side-eye entices with a dangerously seductive "come hither" look. Over the years, it has come to seem as though variations of this pose have proven to be the one that fanboys are utter suckers for — because film studios haven't hesitated to weaponize the lady lumps against us.
To the credit of Marvel Studios' marketing department, a virtual plethora of promo images were made to alert the masses to the coming of their latest summer blockbuster. However, it was the image of Gamora that seems to have "butt" into my Facebook feed more often than the others. As such, it's impossible to ignore the nagging idea that it all worked out exactly as designed.
Truth Or Dare
One of the earliest examples of the comic book movie poster "butt" pose can be found in the promotional poster for 2003's Daredevil, which starred Ben Affleck as the titular hero and Jennifer Garner as the beautiful but deadly Elektra. Although the film itself was both a critical and a commercial failure, the marketing department knocked their job out right of the ballpark.
The poster — which features the dynamic duet of Affleck and Garner, and fellow actors Colin Farrell and the late Michael Clark Duncan — entices the eyes with lots of shimmering wet leather, a little bit of flesh, and a tantalizing bit of booty. Altogether, the image strikes the perfect balance between strong and sexy and establishes a pattern that posters for films of this type have stuck with, and expanded on.
In 2005, the film adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novel Sin City was released to theaters. One of the film’s many memorable posters featured the ravishing Rosario Dawson in the role of Gail. Looking down menacingly while holding a large, serrated blade, she's almost daring us to not to look at her butt — which is really impossible, because it's right there saying: "Hiya, look at me!"
If I were the fellow who had seemingly ended up on his back in the snow, lookin' up at a pair of black booty-shorts, I might have found myself thinking that it wasn't the worst way to go. It's like dying and going to heaven at the same time, right? If I had been living (and then dying) in the world of Sin City, it's very likely that I wasn't the type of guy who'd get into heaven anyway, but I digress.
In 2009, when DC's Watchmen was released to theaters, two of the film's posters featured a similar pose made by actress Malin Akerman as the uber-sexy Silk Spectre II — a pose that offers a peek at both sides of the babycakes. It's the kind of image that could even inspire a rapid fire rap lyric like: Turn around, stick it out, even [fanboys] got to shout: "Baby got back!"
And speaking of "back," back in 2001, when Scarlett Johansson first caught the eyes of comic book fans co-starring in the film adaptation of the Daniel Clowe's graphic novel Ghost World, whoever was in charge of wardrobe made sure that — by way of her frequently snug-fitting slacks — fanboys saw that ScarJo had a nice bit of junk in the trunk.
Clearly, the marketing department at Marvel Studios has also made it a point to make sure that fanboys never underestimate ScarJo's considerable assets. To this end, her honey buns were roundly featured in posters for 2010's Iron Man 2 and — even more notably — 2012's Avengers.
Cheek To Cheek
As has been true for over seven decades now, the competition between rival comic book publishers Marvel and DC has been a constant thing. The same is also true today for the big budget Hollywood movies based on superhero properties owned by the "big two." This has seemingly carried over into the marketing of their films as well.
2012's The Dark Knight Rises, which came out two months after Avengers, had numerous promo posters produced. But one particular image — a photo of actress Anne Hathaway dressed temptingly in a textured black catsuit and flashing a little tail in her role as Catwoman — was used in as many as four different posters. And who can blame 'em? The image is the cat's meow.
In February of 2016, the MCU's Deadpool showed that this hit film's super-powered hit man could be just as “cheeky” as all the sexy ladies of comic book cinema. In one of the many posters made to promote the film, actor Ryan Reynolds literally (and hilariously) makes himself the butt of the joke by grabbing his non-existent hindquarters and feigning sweet innocence with an index finger pressed against pursed lips hidden by his mask.
With regard to the poster's cleverly chosen taglines, the first two are right on the money: Deadpool is a bad boy and every bit of a smarty-pants. That last line, though — it could be convincingly debated — is a serious case of false advertising. But it does offer a tight little segue to a closing examination on the current state of the comic book movie poster butt pose.
'Back' To The Future
In 2017, so far we've already seen it twice. As mentioned in the beginning of this senses-shattering survey, the MCU's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 made minor but effective use of the pose in what turned out being one of the more frequently utilized promotional images on the web. And who can blame the internet for knowing a cute little butt when it sees one?
Even earlier, in January of this year, Entertainment Weekly put together a cover shoot to feature Netflix's eagerly awaited TV show, The Defenders. Surrounded by cast members Mike Coulter, Charlie Cox and Finn Jones, actress Krysten Witter — dressed in a black leather jacket, matching boots, and stressed, baby blue denim jeans — strikes a strikingly familiar pose.
Though I hate to admit it (for fear of my Global Geek Pass being revoked) of the four shows that have led into the production of The Defenders, Witter's Jessica Jones is the one that I've never watched. But the actress really nails the whole looking-over-the-left-shoulder-with-lips-slightly-parted-and-eyes-smoldering thingy like a pro. It tells to me that I should maybe binge watch Jessica Jones before The Defenders begins airing in August.
Now, just how long this overwhelmingly manipulative use of the booty will go on in the promotional materials for films (and now also TV shows) based on comic books is anyone’s guess. But let's hope — for the sake of posterity — wherever it is deemed appropriate, that the possibilities for the ever-present "butt" pose remain endless.
What other movie poster tropes do you frequently spot?