ARCHENEMY (2020) Reviews and overview

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Archenemy is a 2020 American-British action feature film about Max Fist (Joe Manganiello) who claims to be a hero from another dimension. Fist says he fell through time and space to earth, where he has no powers.

No one believes Fist’s stories except for a local teen named Hamster (Skylan Brooks). Together, they take to the streets to wipe out the local drug syndicate and its vicious crime boss known as The Manager (Glenn Howerton).

Written and directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer (Daniel Isn’t Real; Holidays; Some Kind of Hate) from a story co-written with Lucas Passmore.


“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.” Backseat Mafia

“Mortimer retains a graphic style for the feature, helping to adjust to its strange frequency, but the payoff for “Archenemy” isn’t nearly as strong as its introduction. Mortimer gets something going in early scenes, teasing a dark direction for the picture, but he doesn’t follow through, ending up with a winded, talky endeavor after a lively first half.”

“There’s so much to like about Archenemy, but that bounty of appeals becomes a problem. Mortimer spins so many plates throughout the tight 90-minute run time, leaving several facets somewhat untapped in the process (a third act twist offers an interesting switcharoo, but its dramatic impact becomes somewhat limited). It’s like a beautiful sketch that isn’t quite shaded in.” BRWC

Archenemy doesn’t pack nearly as strong of a punch as it intends to, and it struggles to find a rhythm amidst its rage-fueled energy. Mortimer’s latest doesn’t work as well as a whole, but its various components and concepts are enough to keep things interesting. Manganiello’s approach to this fallen Superman character would be worth the watch alone, but the rest of the cast matches him with their engaging performances.” Bloody Disgusting

“Writer/Director Adam Egypt Mortimer is in full control of the narrative and if you’re willing to let him take the wheel you will not be disappointed. Archenemy doesn’t have the biggest CGI budget, it has no giant sky beams that bend realities or legions of alien armies but what it lacks in blockbuster appeal it makes up for in confidence and execution of a core concept.” Bulletproof Action

“In a genre that’s become oversaturated with sequels, reboots, and cinematic universes, Archenemy is certainly entertaining enough to stand out. However, some unsatisfying action and large plot holes prevent it from packing a more powerful punch.” CRP Writes

Archenemy is too slow, too indulgent in the limited allure of its dialed-down fantasy, and too redundant in its depictions of alleyway-oriented crime. The movie has an inventive slant on the common “is he or isn’t he crazy” concept. But there’s little mystery regarding where the plot will go. Intense focus on side players restricts the time Joe Manganiello has to turn Max Fist into a truly scorching, conflicted antihero.” Culture Crypt

Archenemy is a fascinating superhero tale wrapped up in a psychological thriller. It doesn’t always land how you’d want (short-handing a little too much, higher concepts being brushed over too quickly, and important aspects seem to go unexplored) and it could certainly benefit from a slightly longer run-time, but it’s no less a thoughtful and engaging watch.” Elements of Madness

Archenemy is action-packed from beginning to end and leaves the door wide open for a sequel. It’s gritty, fun, dark, and bloody. There’s something in the movie for everyone. The cinematography in the movie is stunning and really makes you feel like you are there with the characters in the gutter.” Horror Fuel

“The largest strength in Archenemy is that each character deals with trauma and reconciliation of where that has led them. It is powerful, and it pushes this beyond the realm of just being a great film, into something truly special. The special effects and impressive style of the film help guide it but in the end, this is a film about lost people trying to find themselves, and recover. It’s a story about attempting to find betterment.” Killer Horror Critic

“Hamster is inconsistent and never develops any personality beyond hustle, hustle, hustle; Indigo has one note; and the most fun, intriguing characters and interesting ideas take a backseat to rote family drama that carries little weight. The film has big aims, but in the end it takes a bold leap, arms outstretched, but misses the target and plummets to the ground.” The Last Thing I See

“For the most part, the film was light-weight and action-packed, seemingly ideal in appearance for teens or adolescents; but very soon, it was apparent that it was too heavy on drugs and (especially) swearing for kids. So it had potential, but in a few respects, it was a bit too patchy. It did have the swirling purple and pink backdrops that brought me right back to Daniel Isn’t Real: that’s the one I’ll recommend.” Ready Steady Cut!

” …Mortimer is clearly a champion of society’s neglected and mistreated and uses his stories as platforms for damaged people to cope with trauma and reclaim their lives, even if that path is through alliances with deadly otherworldly beings. The film is a stunning leap forward for an artist who continues to dazzle with his versatile talents and encourages his audience to unleash their own inner hero.” Rue Morgue

“While cosmic horror is nothing new thanks to an endless line of Lovecraft adaptations, Mortimer has channeled the infinite potential for those concepts into very personal stories on small scales without losing the ability to keep the big ideas. Archenemy is one of the most original films of the year and a thrilling cosmic adventure with plenty of violence and a big heart. Definitely one to look out for.” Screen Anarchy


Archenemy will have its world premiere at Beyond Fest on October 7th 2020. It will be released theatrically and On-Demand and Digital by RLJE Films on December 11th. A Blu-ray will be released on February 16, 2021.

Cast and characters:

Joe Manganiello … Max Fist
Amy Seimetz … Cleo
Glenn Howerton … The Manager
Joseph D. Reitman … Finn
Mac Brandt … Decker
Skylan Brooks … Hamster
Zolee Griggs … Indigo
Christopher Guyton … Bartender
Kieran Gallagher … Longman
Amje Elharden … Mask man
Luis Kelly-Duarte … Comic Store Owner


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