The more character driven approach to the superhero ethos attempts to make Samaritan an outlier, but in doing so ends up falling foul to every cliche in the book.
Written by Alex Gilston / August 26, 2022
Sam Cleary, played by Javon Walton of Euphoria fame, an unruly thirteen year old is obsessed with the Samaritan, a superhero long thought dead. But when he suspects his mysterious neighbour Joe Smith, played by Sylvester Stallone, might be said superhero, he must try to convince him to come out of hiding and be the superhero the city needs.
Younger souls trying to convince old curmudgeons that there is life yet to live is as old as Hollywood itself, and unfortunately for Samaritan it doesn’t do anything new with the idea. Apart from some late revelations in the final act it leaves this feeling wholly unoriginal. This could be something to do with general superhero film fatigue, but the cliches run rife. From familial rivalries to the overly transparent hero and villain names, Samaritan and The Nemesis, it’s all been done before and in better ways.
Stallone more or less mumbles his way through the ninety minute run time. When playing a character that the audience is supposed to connect to and empathise with you’d hope that the star connected, especially someone with the calibre of Sylvester Stallone, would make it easy to do so. But sans the relatability of his character’s affinity to ice cream it’s difficult to find any other emotional tethers. Javon Walton, albeit a younger one than we’re used to seeing, another example of the time capsuled nature of Samaritan, does the best he can and exudes a similar energy to that which makes him so interesting in Euphoria.
Samaritan is a victim of the pandemic. It was filmed all the way back towards the beginning of 2020 and was meant to be coming out at the back end of the same year. As a result, and through no fault of the film itself, you have a piece of film that is already dated. But in the grand scheme of things, snuggles itself amongst a whole host of straight-to-streaming films in recent memory that, whilst at the time, are worth the watch but will make no impact on the state of anything.
Samaritan is about as uninspiring as the names of its hero and villain. A concept that almost promises to push the envelope but never gets anywhere near doing so. There is a point where you have to look at these films and worry about the state of things or maybe even hope that at some point it might get better.