Sylvester Stallone’s upcoming superhero film Samaritan belatedly invites him to the role of a superhero after 1978’s Superman became a missed opportunity for him. In Samaritan, Stallone plays Joe Smith, a humble scavenger hiding a big secret from the world. Through a series of events, a local kid learns that Joe is actually a superhero known as Samaritan, who disappeared decades ago.
The level of superhuman strength and invulnerability that Joe is capable of resembles Superman, although Joe is somewhat more susceptible to injury and pain in older age. While Joe’s identity as Samaritan does not establish an exact direct parallel with him and Kal-El, a curious commonality with the Man of Steel, along with the obvious fact that Stallone plays the main role in a superhero movie with similarities to Rocky and Rambo. also an amazing second chance he got. Once upon a time, Stallone could have been the very last son of Krypton.
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During the extensive casting process for Richard Donner’s Superman in the late 70s, Stallone was considered for the role among hundreds of other actors. In the end, the then-unknown Christopher Reeve was chosen for the role, which became his calling card and is still a hallmark of both superhero films and the stories of Superman characters. Despite not wearing Superman’s red cape, Stallone’s role in Samaritan brings him back to Superman’s hemisphere more than 40 years later.
Samaritan is a Superman Hero that Stallone has Never Played
Stallone broke up with Rocky before Superman gave the cape to Christopher Reeve, and his subsequent career made him one of the typical Hollywood action heroes, such as John Rambo and Barney Ross from the Expendables franchise. Stallone’s filmography eventually led him to stories involving superpowers and superheroism. While he entered the list of comic book films in 1995 in the movie Judge Dredd, and then appeared as Stakar Ogord in Guardians of the Galaxy. 2 and King Shark in The Suicide Squad, Samaritan is an even deeper dive.
In his portrayal of Joe Smith, Stallone takes on a full set of abilities, a heroic backstory, and the secret Samaritan identity he would have had in Superman. Samaritan is, of course, a story of deconstruction of superheroes with the visible influence of the Man of Steel, representing what a Superman story in the style of “Old Man Clark” in the spirit of Logan might look like. This only turns Stallone’s legitimate Superman, who was never in favor of Christopher Reeve’s Superman, into Stallone’s payback at the end of his career with Samaritan.
Stallone was a possible candidate for the role of Superman when his career was just beginning to develop. This only makes his eventual portrayal of a Superman-style character in Samaritan a much wilder career turn for him. Stallone’s path to the role of the Man of Steel may not have been linear, but many years after he failed to make it with Superman, he finally ended up with Samaritan.