“Avengers Assemble” is an artistic triumph

I have been nurturing an odd impression that I might really like comics, but it’s not one I am giving in to. That is: I haven’t gone out and bought any Incredible Hulk or V for Vendetta comics. I haven’t even investigated print copies of Maus.  But I do know the force of the genre: as a nine year-old I ran a prep school dorm’s library of 64-page war comics, and I get little hits of those pleasures now. This movie gave me a huge blast.

I am sure Picasso’s Vollard Suite (now on show at the BM) is a hatrick. It is an extraordinary commentary on the relation of the artist to his themes (his psychology), his models (the ostensible subject of his work) and the images he makes of them both. It is an extraordinary commentary on the male gaze, and the male sexual desire. And it is perhaps the most beautiful work of the 20th Century. Its being a comic is a very ripe consideration.

There is plenty to unite the Vollard Suite with Avengers Assemble, but the most obvious is that both works grapple with the portrayal of the heroically good and the quintessentially evil in the human person, who transmogrifies in and out of ordinariness.

The most wonderful moments in the movie seemed to me to be those when one suddenly saw and felt the heroes as figurines: they were suddenly – as it were – frozen as those plastic models we played with for hours as children and which are now sold as even more beautifully precise toys.

All in all, I doubt I ever saw a lovelier film.

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Publication date

08 June 2012


Mind & body; On movies