Archenemy user review

  • Keep your friends close but your archenemy closer....

    With its throbbing electronic score, ultra low budget, Archenemy has the grimy look and feel of something from the eighties (which was fine by me). The film begins with a prologue that immediately gives away its indie roots; using an old fashioned, stop motion graphic novel effect to inform the viewer of the protagonist’s backstory. Its a move which may deter some but I thought it was done with some style, and a creative way to get around the lack of production funds. It works great with the story it is introducing, and is made even more effective thanks to Joe Maganiello’s (kind of Bale Batman style) gruff, gravelly tones over the narration.

    The premise is an intriguing one - kind of like M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable in reverse. Magniello plays an alcohol and meth addicted homeless bum, who spends his days in a bar recounting to anyone who will listen how he is actually a superhero from another dimension called Max Fist. In a furious battle with his nemesis (the archenemy of the title), Fist is catapulted through the cosmic dimensions, eventually ending up trapped on Earth. The only problem is that he says his superpowers do not work on earth! Becoming entwined with Max’s existence on our mortal planet is a brother and sister known as Hamster and Indigo. Hamster is an impressionable youth whose ambition is to be a reporter for a fashionable social media outlet (I think that’s what its supposed to be). His interactions and online video’s involving Max’s boasts unsurprisingly get a lot of hits. Meanwhile, there is a subplot involving Indigo’s involvement with the local big shot drug dealer. All these strands inevitably come together in the movie’s third act.

    Undoubtedly, the most interesting plot point is the main one of Max Fist. His lack of superpowers greatly hinder Fist’s adamant insistence of who he really is. Is he telling the truth or is he a just a drug addicted, dangerous schizophrenic, homeless guy? Egypt Mortimer skilfully weaves this notion into his script, and does a good job of keeping the viewer in suspense right until the very end. Whenever Fist is off-screen, the secondary plot-line becomes a whole lot less involving. Manganiello is perfect casting - it could be argued that it is simultaneously ironic and also very fitting. The actor has made a habit of being the best man but never the groom in terms of superhero roles. He was apparently very close to getting the Man of Steel gig but his contract and filming schedule with True Blood prevented it (very similar to Tom Selleck not doing Indiana Jones). Then there is the Deathstroke thing (perhaps it will happen properly one day). Manganiello is a bit too gruff and rugged to play Superman (although the physique is a no brainer), but ideal for what the character in Archenemy is.

    Archenemy has its flaws, most notably that none of the secondary characters are very interesting, so the film goes a bit flat whenever Fist is off screen. However, the lack of budget is not one of them, with the makers being really creative to get around it. The movie does a feel a bit of a throwback to the video shop era; with its pulsating electro score and grubby backdrop that suggests violence is never too far from erupting. In that respect, Archenemy is in some ways reminiscent of Leigh Whannel’s Upgrade - another low budget, violent offering; and kind of different -but-same genre. I may be a little bit more forgiving than others, as I‘m always intrigued by anything that offers an alternative perspective - away from Marvel and DC - on the now (what many may consider to be) over saturated superhero genre. Movies such as the aforementioned Unbreakable but also the likes of Chronicle and Brightburn. If you’re anything like me, Archenemy is definitely worth a look.

    This item was purchased for £4.49 from Amazon in 2021 .




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