Blue Beetle

Not bad, not bad, a guilty pleasure at best - 6/10

by Jad Sammour

Blue Beetle is a film I shouldn’t have enjoyed. The trailers were underwhelming and showed a cookie-cut film that utilizes the same old super-hero film formula… and it is a superhero film that utilizes every single superhero trope fused with an unoriginal plot, yet it surpassed my extremely low expectations and I came out of the theater happier than I got in, and sometimes this is all you need from a movie.

The story is Iron Man (2008) mixed with Ant-Man (2015) and a heavy focus on family love. The first 40 minutes are not really good, but once the second act starts, the film sets off on a good direction that leads to a predictable third act. And yes, you can see every twist and story beat coming before they happen but the secret to Blue Beetle’s success is its cast of characters and their diverse personality. Focusing on the latino heritage of the characters and fusing it with the themes is the film’s saving grace. At first they come off as annoying, I won’t lie, but they grow on you and they are what gives this “should-be-stale” film a jolt of life and character which is really missing from a lot of studio films. Xolo Mariduena is a good and relatable protagonist. Bruna Marquezine is a good actress playing a good character and she has sufficient chemistry with the lead. The entire family works well together and there’s a lot of synergy between them. Susan Sarandon’s character is a horribly written villain who’s one-dimensional and not interesting. What surprised me most is Raoul Trujillo’s Carapax who was set-up as a morally interesting and sympathetic antagonist throughout the film – and kudos for the director who was capable of hinting at his backstory through insert shots and small moments with him without telling his story (now they give you a montage at the end to explain his story, but I think the visuals told the entirety of his story making the montage unnecessary). The dialogue is not really good and the screenplay suffers from story conveniences, worn-out tropes, and a general predictability.
The humor in the film is forced. There is always a character saying a random quip or a joke in the wrong moment and not all of them land. The visuals aren’t bad. The CGI does not feel unfinished or dated (looking at you, The Flash). The VFX were never distracting and they were properly used in the film. The musical score is really good, and the composer uses, for the Blue Beetle motif, a cue from The Imperial March (and also The Batman (2022) used the same thing… what is it with DC films sampling The Imperial March?). I personally do not really like the design of the Blue Beetle; it reminds me of Ben10 for some reason, and the villain’s final form was laughable when he showed on screen.

Blue Beetle is nothing special or memorable, but it was a good time and I had a blast – unexpectedly so.


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