PG Score: 7/10
Blue Beetle was released in theaters on 8/18/23
There is one certainty that can be taken away when you leave Blue Beetle after its two end-credit scenes; this is a Dominic Toretto-approved film. It’s all about family, in this case, the Reyes family, led by the former revolutionary badarse grandmother, Nana Reyes.
Blue Beetle "Inspiration"
A touch of the absurd, Blue Beetle comes off as an amalgamation of many of its comic book predecessors. Not just the story, but the suit as well. I know in the comic world that a lot of origin stories are going to intersect and become very familiar and that sometimes names and costumes might be too similar. However, even with a fresh face like Xolo Mariduena (Cobra Kai) filling out the costume, it is eerily similar and a cross between Iron Man and the Ant-Man villain Darren Cross’s Hornet costume. If you can look past that though, you can see that Xolo brings a lot of youthful charm, as Jaime Reyes, the recently graduated college student with no prospects for a job.
Man, that sounds familiar. Oh right, that was me 20 years ago. Minus becoming a superhero, though I do have the extraordinary ability to sleep anywhere and at any time. I digress.
The early Marvel films in the MCU did a great job of keeping things grounded and as realistic as possible while having superheroes in them. That hasn’t been DC’s strength and Blue Beetle is no exception. Separated from the other DC films, the setting never quite seems believable. Perhaps it is due to made-up cities and places, but in this film, while the family is grounded, the huge futuristic city they can see from the front of their house doesn’t quite resonate.
The movie is fun and can be quite funny at times while hitting the bullet points on being an origin story, although the acting leaves a lot to be desired. Xolo and Bruna Marquezine have decent chemistry together, but Bruna’s acting is a bit wooden and forced, taking away from some pivotal moments. George Lopez as Uncle Rudy just looks ridiculous throughout the film and although the comedian has some funny lines laced throughout his dialogue, it’s obvious he wasn’t hired for his serious acting ability.
Action wise we get some cool fight scenes but nothing we haven't seen before. Susan Sarandon (Bull Durham) as the evil Victoria Kord seems to be having a lot of fun playing the villain, though the story does little to explain her motives. She embraces the evil, but it comes off very superficial and even Sarandon's acting prowess is not enough to make this a memorable villain.
The Beginning And The End?
Blue Beetle as a whole plays it safe. Its future is in doubt, as we have heard from James Gunn (Peacemaker) that the character Blue Beetle will be joining his DCU, but the movie will not be. Does this mean Xolo will be joining the new universe? That is yet to be determined. This is a fun movie that doesn't take any chances and doesn't break the mold. It's a fun, family movie that goes a long way to show that, as a superhero, having a family isn't a weakness (Spider-Man might disagree) but a strength. Like The Flash before though, nothing separates this from the pack and Blue Beetle ends up being just another run-of-the-mill comic book film. I love the theater, so I think it is worth seeing, but you are not missing out if you wait for this to be streaming a few months down the line.