‘Archenemy’ Review: Joe Manganiello Leads an Incendiary Superhero Movie Unlike Anything You’ve Seen Before
Posted on Tuesday, December 15th, 2020 by Kalyn Corrigan
“The world is a really complicated place right now. America is a really complicated place right now. And I’m not a politician or an activist, but I do feel a responsibility to put positive, powerful, meaningful messages out into the world…you don’t have to be a superhero to do that.”
That was how filmmaker Julia Hart described the concept of her 2018 sci-fi thriller Fast Color, which now feels like a watershed moment. Starring a nearly all-female cast, it offered a unique twist on the everyman crime-fighter genre and demonstrated the potential of a story about a super-powered being.
Superhero movies, to be fair, have always carried undercurrents of political and social commentary – that Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, a friendly, neighborhood hero who saves New York City from a violent threat came to fruition in the aftermath of 9/11 felt powerful in 2002 and still carries weight. However, over the past few years, portrayals of powerful loners and their ability to shake up the status quo have been fervently more prominent.
Extra points if the film in question is punk as fuck. For all its critical analysis, Adam Egypt Mortimer’s Archenemy works first as a spectacularly violent, gritty reimagining of a champion’s origin story. It’s a superhero movie, only the setting isn’t a brightly lit suburb in Glendale with plain white walls, or a vast alien kingdom upheld by a devout army.