Reviewed by: Mike Klamecki
Based on a DC comic book
#14 in the DC Extended Universe
Ancient alien biotechnology
Becoming a symbiotic host
Importance of being close as a family
Xolo Maridueña (Xolo Mariduena) … Jaime Reyes / Blue Beetle
Bruna Marquezine … Jenny Kord
Susan Sarandon … Victoria Kord
George Lopez … Uncle Rudy Reyes
Harvey Guillén (Harvey Guillen) … Dr. Sanchez
Becky G … Khaji-Da (voice)
Yuli Zorrilla … Carapax Mom
Raoul Max Trujillo … Conrad Carapax / Carapax the Indestructible Man
Elpidia Carrillo … Rocio Reyes
Damián Alcázar … Alberto Reyes
Adriana Barraza … Nana
Belissa Escobedo … Milagro Reyes
See all »
|Director||Angel Manuel Soto|
The Safran Company
See all »
|Distributor||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,
In Ephesians 1:5 it reads,
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!
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.