Film Review: Archenemy

Over the past couple of decades, superhero films have become big business. The biggest business in town. This is largely, if not wholly, down to Marvel and the Marvel Comic Universe. Since the release of Iron Man in 2008, and the acquisition of the studio by Disney, it has become a multi-billion-dollar industry. Each film is a behemoth. A slick marketing juggernauts. However, some of the most interesting takes on the genre can be found in smaller productions. Such as Archenemy.

Whilst to you and me he might look like an alcoholic homeless bum, Max Fist (Joe Manganiello) is a hero from another dimension who in saving his own world was transported to ours and stripped of all his powers.  No one believes him, but Hamster (Skylan Brooks) smells a good story. His sister Indigo (Zolee Griggs) is trying to provide him with a better life by working for a local drug dealer, The Manager (Glenn Howerton). When she decides to help herself to some of the money, Max must rediscover his strength.

Whilst most superhero films are stylised and sterilised to the point of inanity, Max Fist is the lowdown and dirty saviour we need. There’s nothing cheap about Archenemy though. Adam Egypt Mortimer’s (Daniel Isn’t Real) new film is a breath of fresh air. A film which not only looks good but feels vibrant and alive. Much of this has to do with great performances from Brooks and Griggs, who add an authentic human element to proceedings. Whilst some of it might be rough and ready, Archenemy is an innovative and inspired spin on a cluttered genre.

Archenemy is in US cinemas, on digital and on demand from 11 December.

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