Blue Beetle


‘…despite the aspiration to create Cronenberg for kids…Blue Beetle is typically juvenile fare…’

It’s beginning to feel like a repeated cycle; a new superhero movie gets publicised with over-excited pull-quotes about how this is surely the ‘best superhero movie since…’ Then we finally get to see the actual movie, and it’s just the same as all the other ones. The point is, while expensive fantasy movies for kids still generally make money, they don’t create the game-changing financial or cultural spike that we got from Barbenheimer. Angel Manuel Soto’s Blue Beetle, despite good intentions, is just another wannabe Spiderman, adapted from an IP that began way back in 1939. Given that we’re already in double figures for movies featuring Spiderman in the last couple of decades, never mind the Sony verse of villianous characters from the same universe, the well of passing interest outside devoted fan-boys ran dry some time ago.

Hitchcock said of 3D; ‘it was a nine day wonder, and I arrived on the ninth day’. The same might be said for Blue Beetle and superhero franchises; it’s the familiar story of Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña), a graduate looking for work in all the wrong places when he visits the Kord conglomerate, headed by the sinister Victoria Kord (yup, they dragged Susan Sarandon into this). Jaime has the hots for another Kord, Victoria’s niece Jenny (Bruna Marquezine), who is trying to locate a Scarab device that bestows super-powers on whoever it burrows itself into, and when she smuggles the device out of the Kord building, Jaime is the one who finds that with great power comes great responsibility…

Blue Beetle has a nice colour palette, lots of purple and neon, and there’s a neat angle on Jamie’s eccentric family in the style of Everything, Everywhere All At Once, including a machine-gun toting granny and an OTT support performance from George Lopez (Beverly Hills Chihuahua) as Jaime’s bonkers uncle Rudy. Despite the aspiration to create Cronenberg for kids, as if that’s something kids would want, Blue Beetle is typically derivative fare that anthologises the usual tropes of teenage wish-fulfilment without putting much of a spin on them.

Blue Beetle is decently made, and probably an easier casual watch than the DCU’s Black Adam or The Flash, but that’s a low bar that even a beetle might crawl under. Such films feel like hangovers from a pre-Covid era, when any flashy, shiny product was just-about assured a box office landing. But even if it makes its money back, public enthusiasm for Blue Beetle is likely to be somewhat squashed by comparisons to the superior product that’s currently out there.

Thanks to Warner Bros. Pictures for big screen access. Only in cinemas from August 18.


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    • Well, I dug The Batman, but that was all about the director having a fresh take. But only the trimmings are fresh here…

      • To be fair, The Batman was okay, it seemed very self aware and had something to say about the character. I just didn’t like how long it was. I prefer those sorts of DC movies to this universe stuff all the studios are trying to pull.

        • Yes, it could have dropped 30 mins or even an hour. But right now, it’s all origin stories, multiverses and team-ups, and it’s boring to watch.

    • It was impressive to realise an origin story in 2002, but it’s so old hat now, and a different ethnicity doesn’t stop cliches from grinding…

  1. Quick nope. Couldn’t even be bothered to watch the trailer. Even the costumes look the same. Wasn’t the selling point here the world’s first Hispanic superhero? Yay.

    palette not palate

    • Thanks for the typo!

      The Hispanic superhero angle would feel like a bigger deal if this wasn’t so similar to every non Hispanic superhero.

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