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BLUE BEETLE review – An enjoyable (and stand-alone) comic book movie

Director: Ángel Manuel Soto
Starring: Xolo Maridueña, Adriana Barraza, Damián Alcázar, Elpidia Carrillo, Bruna Marquezine, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon, and George Lopez
Movie Length: 2 hours 7 minutes

What it’s about: An origin story for the Jaime Reyes version of the superhero. The movie highlights how he came to be the title character while at the same time focusing a bit on his Hispanic family and their culture.

What Dan thought: I throughouly enjoyed it. It delves into a lot of Hispanic culture (El Chapulín Colorado, Vicks VapoRub curing everything, telenovelas) while showcasing the origin story for this Blue Beetle. The movie does delve a bit into the previous incarnations of the character that dates back to the Charlton Comics days a bit, but the main focus is on Jaime and his family.

The supporting cast was terrific, but Adriana Barraza as Nana (Jaime’s grandmother) stood out in the scenes she was in. I wouldn’t mind a prologue short film with her showing her backstory. George Lopez got to show off a lot of his comedy skills, which helped the movie not be as dark as some of the other DCEU movies have been.

While parts of the movie seemed telegraphed, it was still an enjoyable movie that showcases the familial aspect of a Hispanic family while letting Xolo showcase his acting skills as the title character.

Dan’s rating: A-

What Darren thought: After years of struggling to equal Marvel’s success, Blue Beetle is the closest approximation to Marvel’s blend of action and comedy to date. It’s fine, but it doesn’t really bring anything new to the comic book genre. In many ways, it feels like a cross between Ant-Man and Iron Man, from the Blue Beetle suit that looks a bit like a reskinned Iron Man suit to the “bad company making its own bad guy version of the good guy’ plot.

After the wonky CGI of The Flash, Blue Beetle seems to do more with less. While not wholly original, the Blue Beetle suit mostly looks pretty good. The Blue Beetle Mobile (I think it’s called The Bug) looks cool and is responsible for one of the best sequences in the movie – my only quibble with the scene is the choice of music, which chose a song with a beat that was too fast for the action in the scene.

Blue Beetle himself didn’t really do much for me, as Xolo Maridueña’s portrayal didn’t flash much range. The blandness of the main character was more than offset by his colorful family, which was given much more to do than your average comic book movie supporting cast. George Lopez brings so much humor and charisma to his role that I forgive the ridiculousness of his character and what he’s able to do. In a landscape where villains are given a humanizing backstory or relatable reason for their plot, Susan Sarandon goes full over the top baddie.  

Blue Beetle is a movie that probably didn’t need to be made, but it’s an enjoyable comic book adaptation. You don’t have to know anything about the character or the comics to enjoy the movie and perhaps most welcome, this is a standalone movie so you don’t need to have seen any of the earlier DC movies.

Here is the Through the Lens podcast version of this review:

https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/darren-shulman/episodes/Blue-Beetle-Review-e28al3i

Darren’s rating: B-

Are you going to watch the movie? Feel free to leave a comment below or chat with us on Twitter at @TheConCollectve!

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Dan Berry
Dan Berry
Dan Berry is a man of mystery, an enigma that flits from convention to convention like a spectre, like a spirit. His interests range far and wide: he cannot be determined, he cannot be defined, he cannot be contained. He's like the wind. He also is a Sagittarius and enjoys a nice Italian.

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