🎞️ When is Blue Beetle out: In cinemas now
⭐️ Our rating: 3/5
🎭 Who's in it? Xolo Maridueña, George Lopez, Susan Sarandon, Harvey Guillén, Damián Alcázar, Adriana Barraza
👍 What we liked: Blue Beetle has a lot of heart. Hanging out with the Reyes family is a delight, especially George Lopez as Uncle Rudy.
👎 What we didn't: Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle, has little character development while Susan Sarandon is wasted as the villain.
📖 What's it about? Jaime Reyes accidentally becomes the symbiote host to an alien technology that grants him superpowers…
⏱️ How long is it? 2 hours 7 minutes
New superhero movie Blue Beetle arrives amid some confusion. James Gunn and Peter Safran — the new heads of DC Studios — have called the titular hero, Jaime Reyes 'the first DC Universe character' yet their new franchise officially starts next year with Superman: Legacy, and Blue Beetle was made under a different regime at Warner Bros...
Read more: What you need to know about Blue Beetle
Whether you care or not, Blue Beetle doesn’t directly answer any questions about connectivity. Instead, director Angel Manuel Soto tells a self-contained story – minus a few fleeting references to Superman and Batman – that’s a throwback to the superhero movies of the noughties, for better and worse.
We follow Jaime Reyes (Cobra Kai's Xolo Maridueña) as he returns home from college to find his family facing the threat of eviction. However, soon enough, the entire Reyes family are entangled with the Kords — a family of entrepreneurial businesswomen — after Jaime accidentally steals a piece of alien technology and becomes symbiotically attached to it. As a result, Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon) hunts down Jaime while Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine) helps him.
Soto and screenwriter Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer borrow liberally from other superhero flicks. The symbiotic relationship between Jaime and his talking exoskeleton steals from Venom, though is not as comical, while Maridueña’s performance takes inspiration from Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. Meanwhile, the action is well-choreographed but unremarkable.
And yet, Blue Beetle has an important, unique element: family.
Jaime gets his powers in front of his sister, mother, father, uncle, and grandmother, and each family member becomes integral to the plot, saving the day as much as Jaime. Uncle Rudy, a conspiracy theorist and brilliant inventor, is fantastically funny thanks to George Lopez’s performance, while Belissa Escobedo is a highlight as Jaime’s irony-laden sister. Even Adriana Barraza’s Nana gets her moment after she finds an oversized machine gun.
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Perhaps unintentionally, the Reyes family’s various members become more interesting than Jaime, who falls into the trappings of being a two-dimensional heart-of-gold do-gooder.
The family fun also takes away from Sarandon’s villain, who’s given little development, and Marquezine’s Jenny, a love interest missing any screen presence. Then there’s both Harvey Guillén and Raoul Max Trujillo as Kord henchmen, neither given enough to do.
Yet, while there are too many peripheral characters, it’s hard to overstate just how entertaining the Reyes family is.
If Gunn and Safran decide to keep Blue Beetle in their DC Universe, maybe they should ditch the rest and give us a Reyes family sitcom. It would be a wildly good time.
Blue Beetle is in cinemas and IMAX now. Watch a trailer below.