Courtesy of Warner Bros

Movie Review: Blue Beetle

07:00 August 31, 2023
By: Fritz Esker

I wonder how I'd feel about Blue Beetle if I hadn't seen roughly 232,456 comic book superhero origin story movies in the last 15 years, but I have. While not a bad film, it just reeks of movies past while failing to bring anything new or exciting to the genre.

Cobra Kai's Xolo Mariduena plays Jaime, a recent college graduate and child of Mexican immigrants living in a fictional city. He is trying to get a job at a corporation run by Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon) when Victoria's rebellious niece Jenny (Bruna Marquezine) hands him a mysterious package and tells him not to open it. Jaime of course does open it and a strange beetle called the scarab crawls into his body and gives him superpowers. Victoria and her own cyborg warrior (Raoul Max Trujillo) try to capture Jaime, and Jaime's family is endangered in the process.

This is all very familiar territory as the film has elements of Venom, Black Panther, and Iron Man. Mariduena is charming in the lead, but the movie even at its best feels like a rehash of other films. Sarandon is a great actress, but does not make for a particularly scary villain. There's not even a cursory explanation of why the scarab exists and does what it does. At 127 minutes, Blue Beetle does not ramble on as long as other recent superhero efforts have (The Flash was almost a full 2.5 hours). But like many other superhero films, it does peter out in its climax. And Blue Beetle's climax feels like it goes on forever.

Children between ages 8-12 are likely the best audience for Blue Beetle as they might not be endlessly reminded of other, better films. If Blue Beetle disappoints on the heels of The Flash's flop, combined with the year's two biggest hits by far being films about toys/video games instead of comic books, it will be interesting to see if the superhero stranglehold on cinema starts to fade.

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