A Failed Attempt At A Unique Superhero
Amazon Prime’s “Samaritan”, starring Sylvester Stallone, is a sorry excuse for a superhero movie.
Samaritan is an action/superhero film about a kid who discovers his next-door neighbor is the legendary superhero Samaritan, who the world thinks is dead. This movie is directed by Julius Avery and stars Sylvester Stallone in the leading role, with Javon Walton, Pilou Asbæk, Dascha Polanco, and Moises Arias rounding out the rest of the main cast. Samaritan was released directly to Amazon Prime, a streaming service with a lot of success in superhero content with shows such as The Boys and Invincible. But unfortunately, Samaritan doesn’t even come close to those shows’ level.
The premise of this film is exciting, and the darker tone is desirable, so this movie could have been good if it had been executed properly. But it wasn’t. The writing is awful, with lots of cringe-worthy dialogue, questionable character decisions, and generic plot points. Nothing in the plot is compelling until the end. All of the actors put on abysmal performances except for Stallone. The other protagonist, played by 15-year-old Javon Walton, is annoying for most of the film. The antagonist, played by Pilou Asbæk, frequently yells for seemingly no reason and has very unclear motives. Stallone carries most of the emotion of this film, but even he suffers from sloppy writing and sounds awkward most of the time. This movie needed better writing and direction if it wanted to be good.
Despite being a mediocre movie all around, the third act of this story makes it almost worth watching. Almost. The final fight scene is a burning warehouse battle full of relentless action, epic cinematography, a cool set piece, a fantastic soundtrack, and a plot twist that turns everything upside-down. It would have been great if the entire film had been of the same caliber as these fifteen minutes. This third act is everything Samaritan should have been, and honestly feels like an entirely different movie altogether.
Although the plot twist was executed well, it was still very easy to predict. It brings up a thought-provoking message, however, about how everyone has the potential to simultaneously have both good and evil inside them and that the past doesn’t define who you are. But, these themes feel like they are only tacked on at the end with the twist for shock value when they should’ve been encompassed throughout the film. If the plot twist had been revealed much earlier in the movie, these motifs could’ve been Stallone’s character’s internal conflict for the whole movie and given the audience something to root for in his character. Instead, we know nothing about him except that he eats a lot of ice cream and is helping a kid just because he’s the protagonist.
In conclusion, this movie could have been great, but it isn’t. Most critics agree that it is mediocre—giving it a measly score of 39% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences disagree, giving it a higher score of 71%. This notable discrepancy is likely because this film doesn’t follow the traditional superhero movie format seen in films such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s good. Samaritan is a mediocre movie at best that has some good moments, but it falls flat as a whole.
Raving Rating: 5.3