Review by Camden Ferrell
The DC Extended Universe might have ended for all intents and purposes with this year’s The Flash, but DC is back with a new movie that will connect to their new cinematic universe. Blue Beetle is finally reaching the big screens after years of development. This new superhero movie is directed by Angel Manuel Soto whose most recent feature film was 2020’s Charm City Kings. This is a fun and simple superhero origin story that has enough heart and charm to make up for its shortcomings.
Jaime Reyes is a recent college graduate who is ready to make his mark on the world. Unfortunately, once he returns home, he finds his family is suffering through tough times and that finding a job is harder than expected. However, a chance encounter with an ancient Scarab, he finds himself turned into the superhero Blue Beetle. Even though this is a beloved superhero, it’s an old-fashioned origin story that will appeal to fans of the character while also introducing him to those unfamiliar with his story.
Written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, the script’s biggest flaw is also what makes it so endearing. The movie doesn’t take narrative risks at all, and it follows familiar beats while adhering to specific superhero tropes. But this isn’t a movie that needs ambition and subversion to succeed. When the movie is about the bonds and strength of family and coming into one’s own, it doesn’t always have to be fresh and exciting to satisfy viewers. It’s a story we’ve seen many times before, but it’s the characters and their unique relationships that give the movie its soul.
Xolo Maridueña leads the film as Jaime, and for his first starring role in a movie, he does a decent job. He has the good looks and youthful charisma to pull the character off. It’s not a particularly complicated role, but it is one that will make or break the film. The only other character that really stands out is George Lopez who plays Jaime’s cousin. It’s no secret that he’s a naturally funny person, and this movie gives him a chance to make audiences laugh with his over-the-top antics and reactions. The rest of the cast is passable at best and noticeably lacking at worst. Susan Sarandon, who has delivered many iconic performances in her career, appears to phone it in as this movie’s villain.
The movie is never astounding, but it’s also never bad. It’s an enjoyable and straightforward superhero movie that all audiences are going to enjoy. The suit itself looks fantastic, and there’s some decent fights and choreography throughout. It can feel the slightest bit too long, but it’s so crowd-pleasing that it’s forgivable. At its core, it’s a movie about family, and I think many viewers will resonate with that message.
Blue Beetle is a strong introduction for the titular character to the big screen. It may not hold much rewatch value, but for one viewing, it’s quite entertaining. Some of the acting is subpar, and the story is as predictable as they come, but for those looking for a fun and relaxing time at the movies, this isn’t a bad choice at all.
Blue Beetle is in theaters August 18.