Samaritan: A Grittier Superhero Movie

Sylvester Stallone as Joe Smith in SAMARITAN, directed by Julius Avery, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures. © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

A teenager thinks his neighbor is a long-missing vigilante and does everything he can to get him out of retirement in Samaritan.

Sam Cleary (Javon “Wanna” Walton) lives thinks that one of his neighbors, garbageman Joe Smith (Sylvester Stallone) is the titular Samaritan. The only thing is, the vigilante has not been seen since a terrible warehouse fire some 25 years earlier. If it is truly him, why stay in hiding when crime is rising? It’s like Batman going into retirement and doing nothing! But in any event, there are differing opinions as to the vigilante’s whereabouts. Some in Granite City–like Sam–hold on to hope that he is alive. However, the majority believe he is dead. The crime wave isn’t going down and so Sam takes matters into his own hands, hoping to get Mr. Smith to reveal himself as the long-missing vigilante. There’s no way that he would just sit by idly while Cyrus’s (Pilou Asbæk) gang runs the city into the dumps!

Joe Smith is the sort of recluse who just keeps to himself, minding his own business. It certainly isn’t surprising when Sam starts hanging around him. After all, he thinks that the man is a superhero! But is he? You have to watch the film to find out for yourself. In any event, it doesn’t stop Sam from looking up to Joe as the sort of father figure that has been missing from his own life.

What’s so interesting about Samaritan and his rival, Nemesis, is that they are twin brothers. They managed to survive the fire that killed their parents but their stories diverge from this point on. Samaritan became a hero, fighting for justice. Nemesis was hellbent on revenge and even built a weapon that could kill his brother. Samaritan is a classic story about good vs. evil with a little bit of the Cain and Abel tragedy thrown into the mix.

We’re at an interesting time when it comes to theatrical vs. streaming. Here’s a film that was made for theaters but MGM owner Amazon is sending it to Prime Video. It’s better than the studio that is outright canceling their movies and TV series without even giving it as much of a chance! Do I think that this film would be a reliable box office performer? I don’t know. There are those with superhero fatigue and those who will consistently turn out for anything Marvel or DC.

DIRECTOR: Julius Avery
CAST: Sylvester Stallone, Javon “Wanna” Walton, Pilou Asbæk, Dascha Polanco, Moisés Arias

MGM will release Samaritan on Prime Video on August 26, 2022. Grade: 3.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.