Archenemy is the small hole in the wall restaurant of the superhero films. The kind of joint that serves deliciously greasy food that satisfies a certain type of hunger late into the night. It’s a comic book adventure unlike any other release in the genre. It has an art-house aesthetic likened to an imaginative canvas. And that makes for a crazy ride where you can guess from start to finish the true origins of its main hero, an alien named Max Fist who poses as a street nomad and is played by Joe Mangienello.
Instead of the cheese crust, special effects and walloping action scenes usually used in most Marvel and DC movies Archenemy gives us a lively graphic novel set against a real-life backdrop draped in a post-apocalyptic setting normally reserved for nihilistic ’80s films about the future. Though it sways in a touch of zesty postmodern sand that feels timeless in nature. Is that the past? Is that the future? Is this the here and now? It is all of this and should stand the test of time as an iconic curiosity. And right now it can actually be seen in the house it was made for, the drive-in cinema. As this is one of the few places you can see this quaint science fiction throwback on the big screen when it opens across the country this weekend. It’s also available on PVOD.
More than any other film in existence Archenemy really throws some off Prayer of the Rollerboys Mood, and I mean that as best as possible. For lovers of a certain type of cinema, Corey Haim’s opus on inline skating in the post-apocalypse scratches a certain type of itch, and that aesthetic can be felt here within these walls. It’s the perfect companion in the best possible way.
The story is unique, and its main focus can fit into any of the canonized comic franchises currently in existence. Except it’s here under the bridge in this filthy shack of exciting action and mystery that wrestles with a certain type of tendon tissue and stands out with the power of abstract art. It’s a fun ride that deserves a spot on the shelf next to big guns like Spider-Man and Superman. It’s the homemade enchilada that tastes way better than anything you’d expect from the menu at the local fast food Taco Bell eatery, the local Cineplex, which is currently closed in most of the US.
The story follows Max Fist, played by Joe Manganiello with filthy perfection. Is he an alien? Or a crazy homeless man? Max claims to be a hero from another dimension. In a crazy graphic novel-style animation, we watch him fall through time and space to earth where he has no powers. No one hanging out in dirty bars believes their stories except a local teenager named Hamster. Together, these two take to the streets to wipe out the local drug consortium and its vicious crime boss named The Manager.
Glenn Howerton from it’s always sunny in Philadelphia Fame, at first almost unrecognizable, plays the main villain The Manager with a touch of pure evil that gives the sparse running time lightning-fast energy. He is compared on the screen by Paul Scheer, who plays one of his lackeys, in a brief cameo that steals the entire show.
The film was directed by Adam Egypt Mortimerwhose unique style and flair for the unusual really bring something new to the world of comic films. He is known for his cult favorite Daniel is not realand he continues his series here, with a hot explosion of action that hits like a street rash. This is one of the coolest superhero movies of the year, and in a year when there is generally a lack of new movies, this drinks like some cool, refreshing entertainment that steers us into the madness of the world around us.
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