Blue Beetle movie review (2023)
In the midst of life’s struggles, Jaime Reyes aspires to uplift his family from their hardships. His father, Alberto (Damián Alcázar), despite his heart condition, remains optimistic and loving. With the help of his sister Milagro (Belissa Escobedo), Jaime lands a modest job looking after the mansion of Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon), the formidable CEO of Kord Industries. Fate leads him to Victoria’s niece, Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine), and their instant connection is undeniable. However, Jaime’s path takes an unexpected turn when he inadvertently forms a bond with a biotechnological alien scarab named Khaji-Da.
Xolo Maridueña delivers a captivating performance as Jaime Reyes and Blue Beetle, infusing the character with intensity and charisma. His portrayal breathes life into Jaime, making a remarkable debut in the DC Universe. Susan Sarandon adds her unique flair but is somewhat confined to a generic power-hungry villain role as Victoria Kord. In contrast, Carapax (Raoul Max Trujillo) shines as an antagonist with tragic motivations, although the emotional depth wanes when the masks are on.
“Blue Beetle” truly shines when it centers on the Reyes family dynamics and their intricate relationships, rather than the broader villain-centric plot. Director Angel Manuel Soto pays homage to Latin American culture, infusing the film with family values that give it a distinct tone. Each family member plays a pivotal role, gaining their well-deserved moments in the spotlight. George Lopez’s comedic prowess adds delightful moments, while Adriana Barraza’s formidable portrayal of the grandmother is a standout.
Admittedly, resemblances to other origin stories are apparent, drawing inspiration from previous films. Yet, this is not necessarily a drawback, as the Reyes family dynamic adds a fresh twist. However, the film grapples with the conventional third-act climax issues often seen in similar movies. Some visual effects appear unfinished, notably in a crucial scene. Thankfully, the superhero’s design and suit are visually striking, and the transformation scenes effectively capture the essence of the narrative.
While the film doesn’t entirely reinvent the wheel when it comes to origin stories and leaves some questions about its place in the DC Universe’s reboot, “Blue Beetle” is an enjoyable introduction to this new character. With its blend of family-centric values, cultural celebration, and superhero intrigue, it successfully crafts a unique space for itself in the expansive world of comic book adaptations.
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