Defendor

2009

Defendor

Critics Consensus

Defendor's reach occasionally exceeds its grasp, but this unique take on the superhero genre is held together by Woody Harrelson's solid performance.

70%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 20

58%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 14,358
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Defendor Photos

Movie Info

Woody Harrelson is construction worker by day, self-made superhero by night in Defendor, a comedy that takes aim at society's infatuation with comic-book mythologies. While the city is awake, Arthur Poppington (Harrelson) holds traffic signs, and is nearly invisible to all who pass; after hours, he assumes his secret identity (complete with homemade costume) and prowls the streets in search of his arch nemesis, "Captain Industry." Along the way, he saves a young prostitute (Kat Dennings) from an abusive undercover cop (Elias Koteas), a move that proves his commitment to fighting for the weak, but also turns him into a real live fugitive from the law.

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Cast

Woody Harrelson
as Arthur Poppington/Defendor
Elias Koteas
as Chuck Dooney
Kat Dennings
as Katerina Debrofkowitz
Michael Kelly
as Paul Carter
Sandra Oh
as Dr. Park
Lisa Ray
as Dominique Ball
Clark Johnson
as Captain Fairbanks
Kristin Booth
as Wendy Carter
Dakota Goyo
as Jack Carter
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Critic Reviews for Defendor

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (8)

  • Saving the day is Harrelson's low-key, rooted performance, adding an unexpected layer of poignancy when things take a decidedly darker turn.

    Mar 10, 2010
  • The conviction in Harrelson's performance sells the movie -- he and his character are both unsung heroes who give their roles everything they've got.

    Feb 26, 2010 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
  • Stebbings is more interested in deconstructing heroism than creating a concrete world, sapping the movie of the immediacy it needs to come alive. For all its aspirations, the film never meshes into something cohesive or substantial.

    Feb 26, 2010 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Likable but hardly memorable.

    Feb 25, 2010 | Full Review…
  • The low-budget movie continually shifts from comic-book spoof to gritty crime story to mental-health drama, the inconsistent tone preventing it from ever fully working as one or another.

    Feb 24, 2010
  • Modest but likable effort is packaged in a straightforward style.

    Feb 23, 2010

    Dennis Harvey

    Variety
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Defendor

  • Jun 23, 2013
    Defendor is a surprising treat for fans of superhero movies. The film has an impressive cast and a good storyline. Some may say that this is similar to Kickass, but it is very different. I personally feel you can't compare the two and both of them do something that the other movie can't. Woody Harrelson is great here, and he delivers a well executed performance that is fun and funny. The rest of the cast are fine as well and each brings something to the film that just makes this such an original and refreshing movie that is worth checking out. I can see why Kickass might be a similar film, but the plotline for this film is very different, and in many ways a bit better. Defendor seems a bit overlooked with the success of Kick Ass and if you've that film, you'll probably enjoy this other take on the superhero genre. Harrelson is great here and he manages to deliver a wonderful, humorous performance that makes the film what it is. Give this film a shot; it is definitely worth your time if you want something that is original and quite different from everything else that we've seen. Defendor is an underrated film that definitely is better than what the critics have said. Give it a shot, you'll surely enjoy it. Films like this are fun to see because they think outside the box, and offer something really good for viewers looking for something interesting to watch. Defendor is a gem of a movie, and one that successfully combines comedy and drama into one memorable movie.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Jan 05, 2012
    This was a rather enjoyable and strangely touching action caper, with moments of genuine depth and truth. Woody Harrelson proves once again that he's an incredibly versatile and emotionally astute actor, with an arresting performance that carries the story along with remarkable zeal and fun. And while the plot and direction skirt close to sentimentalism towards the end, Harrelson executes the last few scenes in a manner so as not to spoil the quirky edge of the film. A tragic action-adventure film about a mentally challenged man who works as a traffic sign holder by day, but who becomes Defendor by night. Armed with his club, marbles, firecrackers, and angry hornets, Defendor emerges from his secret hideout, helping others and stopping punks, in his effort to find Capitan Industry and bring him down. His exploits pique the interests of a girl, a family, and eventually a whole town. By his youthful wisdom, determined and fearless bravery, he gains many admirers who voice support for his cause. If you're looking for a little adventure or a touching story, take the time to watch Defendor, A very enjoyable movie with great lessons. Don't pass it up! Enjoy! Peace!
    Ovi G Super Reviewer
  • Dec 26, 2011
    The local police force in Hammertown? They're simply too overwhelmed to care about the recent wave of crime sweeping the city, those that aren't corrupt. And the bad guys, immigrant drug runners, hardly even care themselves, bored beyond tears with the good life, and killing and murdering. The only soul who does seem to care is a homeless guy (Harrelson, very sympathetic) who's got an I.Q. of maybe 80, tops, and may be a "retard", if not an idiot altogether. His only help is a crack ho, shining him for money for drugs ... can anything good emerge from this veritable shitstorm of filth? Yes, and that's the serio-comic message of hope that this work delivers.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    The premise of Defendor makes it an interesting movie, but not a very good one. It has its moments, the few that they are, but for the most part, it's a disappointment. The main problem with Defendor is the fact that the Woody Harrelson character, Arthur Poppington, is only likable when he is in the role of his superhero alias, Defendor. When he's just plain ol' Arthur, it's a bore. But when he's fighting crime and saying some cool one-liners, it's enjoyable. Problem is that the crime-fighting parts come way too few. It's a shame. I always thought Defendor would be such a good movie, from the moment I saw the trailer back in '09. It's categorized as a comedy, but it's not really all that funny. And though the title character is "slow" and a little insane, the movie isn't a character study. It's just... a movie. A movie that you watch to pass the time. You might smirk a time or two at a line of dialogue or maybe an action scene, and that's probably what writer/director Peter Stebbings intended to happen. But if you laugh, like actually full-out laugh, then you're giving him, and Defendor, too much credit.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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