The DC Universe gets back to basics in our Blue Beetle review!
Have you heard of Blue Beetle? Not many have, which is why this is the perfect film to kick off the new phase of the DC Universe! Although not officially the first movie under James Gunn (new head of the DCU) he stated that Jaime Reyes, aka Blue Beetle, is the first character who will feature in this new rebooted series.
Don’t have a staring competition with Blue Beetle.
This movie introduces the third Blue Beetle from comic book history, created in 2006 during Infinite Crisis. Jaime (pronounced hay-me) is a Mexican-American teenager living in Texas with his family and goes on to become a pretty substantial character, fighting alongside the likes of Superman and Batman. So, does Blue Beetle fly or get squashed like a bug? Find out in our Blue Beetle review!
The names Reyes, Jaime Reyes.
Blue Beetle Review – Story
We begin on an icy tundra somewhere in the Antarctic with a gigantic mysterious sphere and are immediately introduced to the obvious villain of Blue Beetle, Victoria Kord. Played by the commanding Susan Sarandon, she is the CEO of Kord industries that is slowly taking over Palmera City where Jaime’s family lives.
Surprise, I’m a superhero!
After years away at college and finally graduating, Jaime returns home to be greeted by his loving parents, sassy sister, eccentric Uncle Rudy and their doting Nana. It’s not long before he finds out they are losing the house and family business thanks to Kord so Jaime becomes determined to right these wrongs.
Just need a Beetle symbol now…
Some coincidences later and Jaime meets Victoria’s niece, Jenny Kord, who wants to take the company back and dedicate it to her missing father Ted (comic fans will notice this name). Instead of producing weapons he wanted to help and give back to the people. After chasing her down for a job interview, things go sideways, and Jaime ends up with the blue beetle, otherwise known as the scarab, in his possession.
Basically, just a superhero Karen.
Finally, the fun and action come to fruition in the second act of the film as the pace picks up dramatically. A hilarious conversion scene sees Jaime transform into the Blue Beetle in front of his whole family. After the Reyes family deals with a tragedy, they all team up to take on the generic bad guys, proving that the family is stronger together.
Nothing is stronger than Family… except the bad guy in a mech suit.
The final act follows a reasonably predictable path filled with some more action and featuring several comic callbacks to previous Blue Beetles. Although throughout the film Jaime gets told he can create anything he imagines as Blue Beetle, his potential never lives up to the huge expectations set by the lore of the story. Whilst a lot of elements are pulled from other superhero origin stories, this is one that has the most heart and shows that not every movie has to be completely original.
“What do you mean nobody has heard of Blue Beetle?”
Blue Beetle Review – Visuals
Unlike previous DC movies that have heavily relied on CGI to set the scene, either from a mystical realm in Shazaam or the speed force in The Flash, Blue Beetle prides itself on dialling that right back. Although some parts featuring Jamie in his suit are clearly computer generated, a lot of it looks super realistic and believable. The first few fight scenes seem like they are inspired by martial arts movies or even similar to the late DC tv shows.
Wait a minute… bugs can’t breathe in space!?
The hand-to-hand combat doesn’t last for long unfortunately as the action is also held back along with the CGI. Apart from a couple of sections, the rest of the fighting is left until the last act of the movie which ultimately ends up feeling a bit rushed.
A buster sword reference?
Blue Beetle Review – Music/Acting
To match the neon blue and pink vibes pulled straight from the 80’s, composer Bobby Krlic (Midsommar, Returnal) adds a perfect mixture of modern music and electric synth pop. However, the theme of past meets present is a bit too light on in the film and some more synth wouldn’t have gone astray.
Made (semi) famous by the recent Karate Kid spin off, Cobra Kai, Xolo Maridueña who plays Jaime does a fantastic job stepping onto the big screen. In some scenes he is still clearly a bit green, however, his emotion and range quickly make up for it.
The rest of the cast do a decent enough job although Susan Sarandon, as the power-hungry Victoria Kord, seems more like a nuisance than a world ending threat. The big scene stealer here is Uncle Rudy, with his anti-government conspiracy theories, is hilarious.
Played by George Lopez, (anyone remember the Geoge Lopez show?) a stand-up comedian, his humour is spot on every time. Uncle Rudy is quickly established as the ‘Mexican Doc Brown’ and becomes the man in the chair for Jaime and his family. His tech savvy, and somewhat thrown together, contraptions help out Blue Beetle on several occasions.
One big belly burger split 5 ways?
This superhero tale sets itself apart, not by keeping secrets from loved ones but including them. Jaime’s family is as much a part of the film as the titular character, himself. They go on this heartfelt journey with him, containing some heavy topics but still retaining the comic book charm.
It may not be the most innovative narrative, but the movie relies on what works. With no direct ties to any other DC movie, Blue Beetle is wide open to be apart of the new DCU future and should not be sprayed with bug spray, at least not yet.
So, why should you watch Blue Beetle?
- You’re a huge Superhero Fan
- Doesn’t ruin the typical formula
- Family orientated story
- Uncle Rudy
But why shouldn’t you watch Blue Beetle?
- Simple and basic characters
- Doesn’t add to the typical formula either
- Blue Beetle’s powers are under used
- Not as much action as current films of similar genre
A preview screening with kindly provided for the purpose of our Blue Beetle review. If you enjoyed this review, be sure to check out our other movie reviews and join the Qualbert Discord to chat with us about all the latest cinema releases!