Review: ARCHENEMY (2021)

Superheroes. Always a hard nut to crack because the way they are portrayed does not hold water in the real world. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. You know the saying. So what would a superhero really be like? And would they be like if they lost their power?  That is what we are looking at in ARCHENEMY which stars Joe Manganiello as Max Fist. A super powered individual in another dimension, but a mere mortal in ours. Saving a world from his archnemesis he is transported to our world where he drinks and fights and is generally unpleasant.

This is where the movie is most interesting. Manganiello is always interesting to watch and someone who has that kind of power and no longer has it is a great arch to play out. That arch is the question that the movie hinges on. Is Max truly a superhero from another dimension or is he just a homeless schizophrenic with delusions?

For all the set up and deconstruction, this film falls short of films like Watchmen because quite honestly, that is not the story it is trying to tell. This is not the superhero having a hard personal time story or the examination of the type of person who would dress up and fight crime (or commit crime honestly).

ARCHENEMY is more like Image Comics cult favorite comic THE MAXX (yes even the name is the same) This is someone who may not be a hero at all but just crazy. The opening animated sequence for example. Sure it could be due to the budgetary constraints of the production but it could also be a way of showing the divide between reality and his fantasy.

That question alone makes ARCHENEMY worth viewing. I am not a fan of the kids subplot but the questions that surround Max Fist as a character are what drive the movie and suck you in. Watch ARCHENEMY and also watch the animated MTV version of THE MAXX and make your own decision on Max Fist. Either way, his journey is worth the ponder.

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