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Film / Arch-Enemy

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Depowered, not powerless
Archenemy is a 2020 Independent Superhero Mystery-Thriller film, starring Joe Manganiello and Skylan Brooks, directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer, and based on a story by Mortimer and Lucas Passmore.

Teenager "Hamster" (Brooks) becomes intrigued when meets a mysterious alcoholic homeless man who goes by the moniker "Max Fist" (Manganiello), who claims to be a superhero who lost his superpowers after arriving from another dimension. Together, they take to the streets to wipe out a vicious crime boss and his local drug syndicate.

The film has supporting performances Paul Scheer, Glenn Howerton, Zolee Griggs and Amy Seimetz.

Tropes in this film include:

  • Alien Blood: Max uniquely has blue blood, no one else on Chromium has that - heck, he didn't have it when he landed on Earth.. It only reappears when he was close to Cleo and there was a resonance between the two that's reawakening his powers.
  • Alternate Universe: Max comes from Earth where people gained superpowers, but since arriving he hasn't done much exploring so he doesn't know if there are any similarities. However he doesn't recognize McDonald's or the Grand Canyon when Hamster mentions them.
  • Arch-Enemy: Cleo Ventrik is Lex Luthor to Max Fist's Superman. According to Max even in a world like Chromium, there isn't anything that could harm Max - so she invented weapons that could.
  • Bad Boss: Zigzagged with Cleo. She guns down Melissa after the latter delivers Hamster to her - she felt Melissa didn't know her place. But despite losing $300,000.00 of her money (and millions more when Max destroyed the dealer operation), Cleo doesn't hurt the Manager and is willing to hear his new business proposal to distribute drugs throughout the United States.
  • Beware the Superman: Max originally didn't kill people but eventually his rage led to him crossing the line that seperated him from the villains, with Cleo inventing a device that would depower everybody including him. This is what he had been fighting with her over and what caused them to end up in the main universe.
  • Broken Pedestal: Hamster was okay with Max killing the two thugs who were about to kill him and Indigo. After witnessing Max slaughter the gang who were just playing cards and witnessing Max do a line of meth, he starts thinking that Max is just a crazy homeless guy after all.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Max claims he is this, having previously been able to punch through reality, but being in a new dimension, he has been cut off from the source of his powers - the "Crystal Cave". However his flashbacks show that he had been a soldier of some kind, and some moments imply that he still has superhuman durability.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The little ornamental ball that Melissa was playing with. Later in the movie, Max finds an identical ball in the Manager's office and realizes that Cleo Ventrik was on this Earth too. That's because the symbol on the two balls are the symbol for Cleo's megacorporation back on Chromium.
  • Destination Defenestration: Max has done this to Cleo twice, the second time it's fatal.
  • Eldritch Location: Chromium is an alternate Earth city with a halo that's part Crystal Spires and Togas and part Cyberpunk that's floating near "The Cosmic Source", a blackhole that's the size of 20 billion stars.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Cleo is the smartest person on Earth and the most knowledgeable of the 11 dimensions. In just six years on this Earth, she's already infiltrated every corner of society and sees the Manager's plan to set up drug distribution in every city as petty and redundant to her reach. So she decines his idea.
  • Evil All Along: Melissa, the boss at the online news network, she's actually working for Cleo Ventrik who had arrived on Earth ahead of Max.
  • Fallen Hero: Max told Hamster that he was the champion of Chromium and the very cosmos itself. He's not wrong, it's just that he left out that he was growing increasingly violent and dropped his old Thou Shalt Not Kill rule. Before ending up on this Earth, he had massacred much of the city.
  • Flying Brick: What Max and later Indigo are. They have the flight, super strength and invulnerability package plus a few more extras.
  • Functional Addict: Max is a drunk, but can still kick a hell of a lot of ass.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: One of Max's powers as he recovers from getting shot and going through a high-rise window, Indigo gets it too and regenerates from getting stabbed.
  • Handicapped Badass: The Manager's bodyguard can't speak but he can sure fight. He was actually winning a Curb-Stomp Battle against Max who was armored in riot gear, until he was stopped by Indigo shooting him in the leg.
  • Human Alien: Max looks human, but just breathing in the polluted air and eating this Earth's crappy food has aged him 15 years. Cleo manages to avoid getting aged, but she already knew a lot about the Earth.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Is Max really a superhero from another dimension, or just a delusional alcoholic. The former.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: Max refers to an event called the "Cosmic Blood" which gave everyone on Chromium super powers. This event was Max's arm getting cut off in the Crystal Cave and his blood flowing into it which connects to the Cosmic Source. After touching Max's "Cosmic Blood", Indigo also gets his powers.
  • Medium Blending: The movie has animated sequences every so often that refers back to events from Max's past.
  • Power Crystal: In Chromium, Max's arm is a crystal empowered by the Cosmic Source. In our world, his arm is just plain flesh though there's heavy scarring in the area where the crystal arm joined with his stump.
  • Stealth Sequel: Mortimer says this movie follows Daniel Isn't Real and he hopes to get a third movie where Max confronts Daniel.
  • Touched by Vorlons: Max was dying in an accident with his arm cut off, but the Cosmic Source gave him a new one and some nice cosmic powers too. Max becomes the vorlon to Indigo, when a knifed Indigo crawled to his pool of cosmic blood and touched it, she gained his powers.
  • Tragic Villain: Indigo. To fulfill a promise to her dad, she's dealing drugs so that she can get her younger brother Hamster into college.
  • Villainous Crush: Cleo has a love-hate obsession with Max. After years of inventing various weapons that could kill him, her latest device "the Void Machine" is simply to cut off everyone from the Cosmic Source and return them to base humanity as she realizes Max's powers are driving him mad. She's doing this because she used to be his wife.
  • World's Smartest Man: Cleo is the smartest person and greatest scientist of Chromium and she retains her intellect while on Earth.