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MOVIE REVIEW

Blue Beetle

also known as “Besouro Azul,” “Kék Bogár,” “Плава Буба,” “Синий жук,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for sequences of action and violence, language, and some suggestive references.

Reviewed by: Mike Klamecki
CONTRIBUTOR

Moral Rating: Average (somewhat offensive)
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: • Teens • Young-Adults • Adults
Genre: Superhero Sci-Fi Action Adventure Adaptation IMAX
Length: 2 hr. 7 min.
Year of Release: 2023
USA Release: August 18, 2023 (wide release)
DVD: October 31, 2023
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Companyclick photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company

Based on a DC comic book

#14 in the DC Extended Universe

Ancient alien biotechnology

Becoming a symbiotic host

Exoskeleton armor

Importance of being close as a family

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company
Featuring Xolo Maridueña (Xolo Mariduena) … Jaime Reyes / Blue Beetle
Bruna MarquezineJenny Kord
Susan SarandonVictoria Kord
George LopezUncle Rudy Reyes
Harvey Guillén (Harvey Guillen) … Dr. Sanchez
Becky GKhaji-Da (voice)
Yuli ZorrillaCarapax Mom
Raoul Max TrujilloConrad Carapax / Carapax the Indestructible Man
Elpidia CarrilloRocio Reyes
Damián AlcázarAlberto Reyes
Adriana BarrazaNana
Belissa EscobedoMilagro Reyes
See all »
Director Angel Manuel Soto
Producer DC Entertainment
The Safran Company
See all »
Distributor Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures. Trademark logo.Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company

DC’s “Blue Beetle” has been accused of being a typical superhero blockbuster movie with the usual three common qualities… Big, Loud, and Dumb. Well, guilty as charged. Are there any good qualities or surprises in “Blue Beetle” that may make it worth your while? I think so.

First, I have to say, as a life-long superhero fan and Marvel-head, I have had several issues with DC’s direction and thought process over the years. DC movies have gone from the surprisingly good (“Wonder Woman”) to the amazing awful (“Wonder Woman 1984”) and many just being “Meh” (like the “Shazam” franchise). I had pretty low expectations walking into“ Blue Beetle.” Walking out of the theater, however, I was surprisingly pleased if not impressed.

This is the very first Latino-based superhero movie (which I found hard to believe it took so long for one to emerge), and it relishes in the fact that it is. It leans heavily on Latino culture/values as part of the overall story arc, namely, how family is one of the most important things in life. It stars Xolo Maridueña (from Cobra Kai fame) as Jaime Reyes who has just graduated college (first in the family) and is shocked to find, as he comes home, that his family’s house is about to be foreclosed on due to forced gentrification by the militaristic Kord Industries.

The small house is occupied by big personalities: frustrated father Alberto (Damián Alcázar), worried mother Rocio (Elpidia Carrillo), loving but tough Nana (Adriana Barraza), rebellious sister Milagro (Belissa Escobedo), and outspoken comic relief uncle Rudy (George Lopez) who has all the gadgets.

Through a failed employment opportunity keeping house for the rich but power-hungry Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon playing her best Cruella de Vil), Jaime runs into her much kinder niece, Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine), who volunteers to help him get a job so he can support his family. Jenny is against Kord Industries’ power-grabbing ways that revolve around futuristic military tech for profit in war-torn areas around the world. As a matter of fact, the design of the deadly tech is very similar to an ancient, alien blue scarab that Jenny has stolen from Kord Industries and given to Jaime for safe keeping with a warning—“Don’t open the box!”.

You can guess what happens. Jaime, at his house surrounded by his family, opens the box. The scarab bonds with Jaime’s body causing him to immediately look like Spider-Man’s Iron Spider armor in “Infinity War” (although a lot more goofy) complete with a AI female-voiced computer in his head (voiced by singer Becky G) ala Tony Stark’s AI voice Friday.

After some immediate power testing maneuvers including flying into space and sawing a city bus in half as the suit’s main protocol of “protecting the host” enables (and lots of yelling done by Jamie inside the suit), the rest of the movie goes about it’s paces of a typical superhero origin story. This includes rejecting the power at first, then embracing the power because of a threat, and finally engaging in combat with said threat. The threat this time is Carapax (Raoul Max Trujillo), an ex-military thug with nothing to lose, and he himself is installed with Kord’s military tech.

As far as superhero stuff goes there is nothing new in “Blue Beetle.” However, the film won me over with the incorporation of Jaime’s family into the overall effort to save society from the evil Kord Industries and Susan Sarandon. Thank goodness I could suspend my belief enough to accept that his crazy uncle was up to date on futuristic technology and his elderly Nana could wield deadly weapons like an expert.

The family aspect, and the importance of family, permeates this movie from end-to-end and that’s not a bad thing. There’s a lot of Zip-Zap-Booms along the way, but the personalities and comical quips kept the pacing from bogging down mid-movie. Jaime and Jenny Kord have a romanic side story, of course, but it’s up to the viewer to judge whether she is attracted to him personally or to his family overall since she has all but abandoned her evil namesake. For comic book fans there are references to the older iterations of Ted Kord’s “Blue Beetle” (and his gadgets) which are used to hint at a possible Beetle franchise (although with James Gunn as the new head of DC that’s doubtful). The CGI is good (better than “The Flash” for sure) except for a few wonky parts.

Warning: Bad language permeates the movie—12 S**t, 7 A**, B*tch, 15 H***, 3 D***, and Oh my G*d, and G*d d*mn. No nudity or sexuality except Jaime appears naked when the suit is removed, but he’s only visible from waist up and a joking reference to his privates. There is a reference to two guys on a park bench waiting for their acid trip to take place. The violence is pretty pervasive with shooting deaths and one instance where the “Beetle-moble” impales one of the bad guys.

In Ephesians 2:18-19 it reads,

“For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the family of God… .”

In Ephesians 1:5 it reads,

“He predestined us for adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will”.

I have always found it amazing that God uses the language of “adoption” and “family” in reference to believers in Jesus. We are not just followers or subjects but actual family… family that will never be cast out or unloved but family that will be with God one day face to face forever in a perfect familial and loving relationship for all time. That is God’s grace on us and for us which will never ever leave us. Amazing!

One last note: my wife comes from a latino background, and I asked her impression of the very first latino superhero movie and did it show her culture and heritage in a good light. She gave it a thumbs up and appreciated the importance of the family aspect, although some of the tropes were a little exaggerated (as Hollywood does,) but overall she appreciated this first effort and is hoping for more in the future. Marvel has been kicking around introducing the Robbie Reyes (no relation) version of “Ghost Rider” for a few years now. Maybe if “Blue Beetle” hits the box office hard enough it’ll “bug” Marvel, and we could finally see it happen. Here’s hoping!

  • Violence: Heavy
  • Profane language: Moderate to Moderately Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Moderate
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Mild
  • Nudity: Minor
  • Sex: None
  • Occult: None
  • Wokeism: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—All Profane language aside. This Blue Beetle film was very edutaining. We see a great awareness of racism, capitalism, and financial inequality. There is outstanding detail of blunt police force—that is abuse of power—and how the police turn the family against one another. Xolo Maridueña was very talented, youthful, handsome and helped us get engaged; that is, have our eyes glued to the big screen. The film also did a good job of portraying moods such as happyness, sadness, anger and romantic.

With the racism, I could make a conection to the book Wretched of the Earth by Franz Fanon. I also like how the film portrays Jamie Reyez as a 22-year-old who just finished graduate school. In conjunction with post-secondary school, the characters within point out the topic of debt and if it’s even worth attending. I, as a person of color myself, could really relate to these characters. This film definately needs a sequel.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Elliott Mills, age 23 (Canada)
Negative
Negative—My kids saw commercial and wanted to see the movie. I stopped watching Disney or Hollywood in general, but this one… I thought, what could go wrong? I’m sure there will be some wokeism, and there was, I’m pretty sure there will be one or two veiled curse word, but in general it should be a fun superhero movie. Oh boy was I wrong. Wokeism—has DC hired a Mexican company to make a movie? Movie making quality, and actor performance—Bollywood. Cursing—way too much, and in both languages. Cringe factor—Seeing an old Mexican woman shooting a machine gun with a smirk is so off putting, I start disliking all three categories of people now. Narrative—written by a child. Character development—in the wrong direction.

Even esthetical appeal of the “Blue Beetle” is non existent. It’s like an awkward slug on your back that acts like a Venom, but with moral judgement inconsistency, and lagging soft.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Vlad, age 46 (USA)
Negative—I was so bored with this movie, I had to stop watching it. I tried but it was just so much talking and talking. And it was just so far-fetched and ridiculous what was happening with this kid. Not worth the time to watch it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
Stephanie, age 49 (USA)

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Secular Movie Critics
…The best film DC has put out in a while, “Blue Beetle” offers fun, heartfelt action and comedy. Xolo Mariduena shines as Jaime Reyes, while director Angel Manuel Soto succeeds in delivering an ode to Latin American culture in a superhero outfit. …
Daniel Pacheco Muñoz, We Got This Covered
…DC’s Iron Man with a spray-paint job is powerfully boring… The studio behind The Flash badly needs a hit. Unfortunately this tiresome, cliché-ridden VFX-off isn’t it… [1/5]
Tim Robey, The Telegraph [UK]
…Tucked safely away from most of the cinematic universe shenanigans, “Blue Beetle” is a self-contained and smartly crafted film that ranks among the DCEU’s very best. Even though, admittedly, that doesn’t say nearly as much as it ought to. …
William Bibbiani, The Wrap
…Most of DC Comics’ dreadful movies deserve to be violently squished, but not “Blue Beetle,” a refreshingly spry new film featuring the lesser-loved, bug-shaped superhero who’s been crawling around in some form since 1939. …
Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post
…Nearly everything about it is stale and derivative, all the way to the teasing extra scenes during and after the end credits. Instead of feeling like the birth of a thrilling new franchise, it feels like the last gasp of a worn-out old one. …
Nicholas Barber, BBC
…“Blue Beetle” never loses sight of the community it seeks to honor, not once pandering nor offering surface-level representation of what it means to be Latino. Latinidad is complex — it's more than where you were born, what language you speak, or what food you eat. But one thing it's full of is heart, and Blue Beetle has plenty of that to go around. Animo! …
Yolanda Machado, Entertainment
…it is the likable interplay between its down-to-earth characters that gives the film oomph, making it more than just a Shazam-style romp. …
Mark Kermode, The Observer
…“Blue Beetle” is so singularly fresh and fun that Jaime Reyes and his family deserve to be front and center of whatever comes next. …
Alonso Duralde, The Film Verdict