‘Samaritan’ Ending Explained – Is Joe a superhero?

Samaritan Plot Synopsis

Samaritan isn’t your usual kind of superhero movie. It’s gritter than most and is more of a relationship drama about a reclusive man and a plucky teenage boy than it is a comic book spectacle.

That isn’t to say there isn’t any action, however, as bad guys still get beaten up and superheroic acts are performed. As such, you should still enjoy the movie, even though it’s not as grandiose as movies within the MCU.

What is Samaritan about?

The movie focuses on 13-year-old Sam and his neighbour Joe, who Sam thinks is a superhero that apparently died many years earlier alongside his evil twin brother, Nemesis. It soon becomes clear that Joe does have superpowers but is he the superhero that Sam thinks he is?

Who is Samaritan?

During the movie’s title sequence, we learn of two super-powered brothers, Samaritan and Nemesis (presumably not their real names), whose parents were killed in a house fire caused by local residents who were afraid of the boy’s destructive powers. The siblings survived the fire but instead of bonding together over the incident, they became sworn enemies instead.

Samaritan decided to fight on the side of good and protect the residents of Granite City whereas Nemesis, fuelled by anger, decided to take revenge on the city and on his brother. To this end, Nemesis planted bombs around the city to cause mass destruction. He also created a magical hammer; the only weapon that could harm his brother.

During the opening credits, we see Nemesis lure Samaritan into a trap but rather than get the upper hand over his brother, the two of them apparently die in a massive explosion.

25 years later, we get to meet Sam, the boy who is convinced that Samaritan is still alive. When he is rescued from a gang of thugs by Joe, the reclusive garbage man who lives in a neighbouring apartment building, he starts to believe that the trash collector is the legendary superhero.

Sam isn’t the only one to think that Joe is Samaritan. We also get to meet local crime lord Cyrus and his criminal gang. Cyrus wants to turn Granite City into a criminal empire and as part of his nefarious plans, he manages to acquire Nemesis’s mask and hammer after breaking into a police lock-up. When Cyrus’s men try and fail to kill Joe with a speeding car, they also start to believe that Joe is Samaritan.

But is Joe really Samaritan? Or is he just a guy that wants to be left in peace?

Well, we don’t get to find out his real identity until later in the movie, despite Sam’s attempts to get him to act like the hero. But when Sam is kidnapped by Cyrus, Joe is spurred into action and we finally get to find out the truth about his identity.

Is Joe the superhero that everybody thought was dead?

Joe appears to be Samaritan. After seeing him save Sam from thugs early in the movie, it’s clear that he has super strength. When he breaks into Cyrus’s lair to rescue Sam, we also see evidence of Joe’s superpowers. So, is he Samaritan?

Well, Cyrus certainly thinks so and he mocks Joe by calling him the “good man, Samaritan.”

However, Joe responds by saying “You keep calling me the good guy. I’m not the good guy. I’m the bad guy.”

So, does this mean that he isn’t Samaritan?

The movie takes a detour back into the past and the final battle between Samaritan and Nemesis. We see that Samaritan has the upper hand but when he is given the opportunity to kill Nemesis with the hammer, he refuses to do so and throws the weapon away. Unfortunately, the building they are fighting on starts to crumble away after an explosion and the ceiling collapses. Samaritan seemingly falls to his death leaving Nemesis as the last man standing. He removes his mask and reveals himself to be Joe!

As such, Joe isn’t the superhero that Sam and Cyrus believed him to be. He is, in fact, Nemesis!!

Back in the present day, Joe/Nemesis disposes of Cyrus and his goons and saves Sam from further harm.

But when Sam is interviewed about the person that saved him, he exclaims “Samaritan lives” instead of revealing Joe’s true identity.

So Joe isn’t a superhero then?

Well, he’s not the hero people thought him to be but he still proved his heroic credentials when he saved Sam. So, while Joe was/is Nemesis, it’s clear that there is good in him (despite the fact that we see him throwing Cyrus into a fire).

He tells Sam that “good and bad live in everybody’s heart and it’s going to be up to you to make the right choice.” This points to the hero/villain in all of us and it points to the blurred morality within Joe.

So, while Joe isn’t necessarily a superhero, he’s not exactly the evil villain that people assumed Nemesis to be.

Of course, after Sam outs him as Samaritan, Joe does have a choice. He could go back to his job as a garbage collector or he could take on the mantle of his dead brother and become Samaritan. If a sequel is ever announced, Joe could become a fully-fledged superhero, despite the darkness that still exists within himself.



Read More: Samaritan Movie Review

Feel free to check out more of our movie reviews here!

2 thoughts on “‘Samaritan’ Ending Explained – Is Joe a superhero?”

  1. No. Joe is more like Batman or The Punisher. Who often take the law into their own hands. A super hero usually works within the law. Vigilantes are not heroes. They have their own code.

Leave a comment