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Samaritan Reviews Are Here, See What Critics Are Saying About Sylvester Stallone’s Superhero Movie

Sylvester Stallone’s superhero flick Samaritan is finally here. The movie was originally planned for a November 2020 release, but saw multiple pandemic-related pushbacks before finally landing in the present. The story of a boy who believes a superhero has resurfaced after vanishing 20 years prior is set for release to Amazon’s Prime Video on Friday, August 26. Critics have had a chance to screen the movie, so let’s see if they think it was worth the wait.

Of course we’re excited to see Sylvester Stallone as a superhero in this action movie, after he made appearances in both the DC Extended Universe (The Suicide Squad) and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), and both the Samaritan trailer and the footage shown at last year’s CinemaCon promise some pretty badass action. But the movie will reportedly largely follow Sam Cleary (Javon Walton), the young boy who is convinced Stanley Kominski (Stallone) has returned. The cast of Samaritan also includes Martin Starr, Dascha Polanco and Pilou Asbæk. 

Let’s see what the critics have to say, starting with CinemaBlend’s review of Samaritan. Eric Eisenberg rates the movie 2 stars out of 5, warning viewers to check their expectations at the door, as the film doesn’t really attempt to add anything to the superhero genre: 

The most complex development it has to offer is a twist in the third act that anyone can see coming more than an hour before the reveal, and any hunger for seeing Sylvester Stallone in action with superpowers will be left unsatiated by sequences with zero creativity or intensity.

Frank Scheck of THR says Samaritan will do if you're in need of a superhero fix, and even at 76 years old, Sylvester Stallone is a believable-enough action star. From the review:

Director Julius Avery (Son of a Gun, Overlord) strains for a dark aesthetic, but what he achieves visually is undercut by the unintentional silliness of much of the proceedings and such hackneyed lines as Joe advising an adversary to 'Have a blast' just before slipping him a bomb. There is, however, a clever plot twist in the final act that, while ultimately not mattering all that much, does provide a welcome jolt. Stallone provides just the right amount of world-weary gravitas and deadpan humor to put over the hokey material. And he still has the requisite imposing physicality to make the sight of his character beating up men a quarter of his age fairly convincing.

Siddhant Adlakha of IGN grades this movie a "Bad" 4 out of 10, saying this is a retread of better movies. This critic also thinks the plot twist is too predictable, and says:

Samaritan would likely feel at home alongside the late 2000s/early 2010s wave of 'realistic' superhero movies, in response to the early days of Marvel and DC’s cultural dominance (think Defendor, Super, or Kick-Ass), but it has no whimsy about itself, no perspective on the genre, and nothing to say about the moral dimensions it constantly harps on in its dialogue. It would be one thing for its protracted reveal to be underscored by a story of regret or metamorphosis, but nothing Stallone does, or says, or performs, ever hints at any meaningful self-reflection beyond the mere facts of his secret identity.

To those who would speak negatively of Samaritan, Sarah MIlner of SlashFilm asks, "Why do you hate fun?" The review notes that there's something irresistible about this movie, whether it's the comfortingly familiar formula or how much fun everyone seems to be having. This critic rates it a 6.5 out of 10:

Samaritan is very good at what it's aiming to do: delivering a 'dark' superhero story for kids. Specifically, it's a narrative in which the adolescent protagonist bears witness to the fantastic; it's an approach that worked really well for beloved classics like Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Goonies, and The Monster Squad. The straightforward plot with its satisfying (if predictable) twist at the end is ideal for a pre-teen audience because it's easy to follow, while still feeling distinct from more 'family-friendly' fare. The fantasy gang violence sets clear stakes for young minds to comprehend; uncomplicated by moral ambiguity and realism, the delineation of 'good guys' and 'bad guys' is obvious without resorting to offensive stereotypes or overly disturbing onscreen action. 

John Nugent of Empire rates the movie 2 out of 5 stars, saying that while it's not all bad, superhero movies these days need a lot to stand out and Samaritan doesn't bring anything new to the table:

Despite pre-release marketing promising a 'darker' take on the genre, this is a superhero film that warmly embraces cheese, making it feel something from the ’90s, before screen superheroes came of age and filmmakers started making considerations for adult audiences — something plucked from the pre-Feige, pre-Nolan, pre-Snyder era.

The critics may not be 100% sold on Samaritan, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check it out if it sounds like something you're interested in. You can stream this movie with an Amazon Prime subscription starting Friday, August 26. Also be sure to check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what movies are headed to theaters soon!

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.