[Review: Movie] Defendor

Defendor! He is a middle-aged man who is mentally handicapped and believes himself to be a necessary superhero. Played by Woody Harrelson, who also starred in Zombieland (2009), Arthur Poppington takes the form of the soldier like Defendor by night and searches for the infamous Captain Industry. He believes that this specific villain killed his mother during his early childhood and thus vows revenge. At the beginning, he swoops down upon an undercover cop about to enjoy his time with a hooker, who is played by Kat Dennings.

The police chief talks with Poppington and sends him on his way, only to encounter him again many more times throughout the 1hr and 40min movie. During the film, Arthur starts off as a simple, slow man, but soon reveals himself to be an unfairly delusional superhero wannabe with the best of intentions.
Defendor, the movie, comes across a bit strong at first with the hooker, Kat, taking advantage of Poppington, and even a judge treats him as a child. All the insults and tones of these vile, nasty citizens only boosts Harrelson’s character as someone the audience can cling to and root for all of the way. It becomes a breather every time Harrelson appears on screen to balance out the grim overtone of life that engulfs the unnamed city. This is truly a brilliant movie when it comes to making an excellent main character.
Unfortunately, side characters, such as Kat and Paul and even the main villain are left without much depth and feel hollow at times. Paul being the generic caring character that worries about his mentally handicapped friend, and Kat is generic in that she starts out sour and selfish and soon opens up to Poppington. While it is not necessary for these characters to be overly important, it would have been nice to have more than one to grip viewers.
Besides the characters, Defendor has a great story that takes a realistic look at a believable superhero including all his trials and hardships. At times it almost feels too oppressive, especially when there is no true uplifting moment. Instead Poppington is met with failure after failure, with quite a few touching moments placed in between. Being an overall depressing movie for over half the film will simply bum some viewers out who enjoyed films such as Spiderman, Ironman, or even Batman. This is not a “good guy wins in the end” movie, but is instead something else entirely. For all those who wanted to be a superhero as a child, saw Zombieland last year, or just enjoy superhero movies, stick with Defendor all the way through and receive a memorable experience like no other.

Only the trailer can say it better than I can!

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