Samaritan

  • Directed by Julius Avery
  • August 26, 2022 (Prime Video)
  • Based on the Mythos Comics graphic novels by Bragi F. Schut, Marc Olivent, and Renzo Podesta

A young boy comes to believe that his neighbor is a missing superhero.

Samaritan is a 2022 superhero film starring Sylvester Stallone as the central character of the story. While not a great film, it is certainly worth a watch and there are many good points to it. The action of the story is a bit muted, but the film itself attempts to touch on a few topics with varying degrees of success. There are themes of redemption as well as how individuals must help themselves for real change to occur.

Stallone stars as Joe Smith, a blue-collar garbage collector who is a bit of a jerk at the start of the film. He wants to do is be left alone and is more than a bit bothered by the young Sam Cleary (Javon “Wanna” Walton) who won’t leave him be because he is convinced Joe is a missing superhero. Joe is tired and kind of beaten down by life. At this point he just keeps trudging along and trying to make the best of it.

The young Sam has his own issues. He’s without a father and his home of Granite City appears to be on the decline since the disappearance of its champion. It’s strongly implied that Sam feels that somehow finding Samaritan and bringing him back will fix the world as well as his own life.

In the context of the story Samaritan disappeared after an epic battle with his twin brother Nemesis who possesses many of the same powers. The only difference between the two was Nemesis possessing a hand forged hammer he infused with his hatred for his brother. Kind of a mythic part there and an element that made the film feel grandiose.

One of the points Samaritan makes is that people can’t be looking to others to fix things and must save them. At one point Joe even comes right out and says just that. He states that’s the reason the city is the way it is-because Samaritan is no longer there to save them, and the citizens have forgotten how to do it themselves. That’s some pretty heavy stuff for what is normally a shallow genre. 

And what’s a superhero movie without a villain? In this case it’s a local crime leader named Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk) who takes up the mantle of Nemesis II to rally the city to his own ends. Asbæk plays a very good villain. Cyrus is charming yet dangerous and a little crazy. He has managed to gather a loyal group around him that functions mostly as part of a chop shop and a general theft ring.

Cyrus sees Nemesis as the true champion of Granite City. In his mind Samaritan was a poser and didn’t do all that much for the people. He protected the upper-class and not those in the poorer areas of the city. A veiled comment about the perceptions of some when it comes to the police? Two characters with possibly opposing philosophies? Yes please!

Unfortunately they do not get as deep as they possibly could. Samaritan does only the bare minimum. But I give them credit for the attempt. These are topical elements and it was refreshing change for the genre.

From an action standpoint the direction is good. They wisely drove home the point that Joe was no longer in his prime and that he was not capable of the great acts he once was. If he was still as powerful as when he first disappeared that would’ve harmed the narrative. The hero needed somebody to struggle with and since there were no other supers mentioned as existing in this fictional world Joe had to at least look like he could get beaten by a group of normal people. 

There’s a twist in this movie and it’s mildly hinted at. I particularly enjoyed it but perusing social media I got a much stronger hint than is in the film of what was coming, and it did weaken the viewing experience for me. Didn’t destroy much my enjoyment of the movie but I wish I hadn’t stumbled across it to get the full impact of the moment.

They only hint at Joe’s current situation but don’t necessarily give a precise reason for it. That is the part of the film that really bothers me. There is not even a strong hint. They vaguely dance around the subject but do not get close enough for the viewer to draw a better reason than “inspired by.”

The costumes of Samaritan and Nemesis were too similar. I know they are supposed to be twins but their costumes were far too close in appearance and maybe that was part of the point. I think it’s more likely though that whoever designed the costumes didn’t have enough imagination.

While not a masterpiece, Samaritan is good entry in the superhero genre. I don’t highly recommend it but I do recommend it. It’s exciting and it’s a little deeper than most with a good turn by Stallone.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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