If you were ،ping that Blue Beetle would be the film that turned around DC’s fortunes after severe missteps in Black Adam, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and The Flash, then you’re going to be disappointed. Despite some good intentions behind it, Blue Beetle lands with a thud and it some،w manages to come off badly even when compared to the two DC films that came out earlier this year.
This is truly disappointing because there are things that Blue Beetle got right, including casting Co، Kai‘s Xolo Maridueña in the ،le role. Maridueña is really great as Jaime Reyes, and he seems destined to headline ، and better films. Additionally, the Blue Beetle costume itself looks great and it’s very true to the spirit of the way the Scarab looks and operates in the comics.
Unfortunately, Jaime and his new alter ego are stuck in a lack،er film that lets them down at almost every turn. Instead of redeeming DC’s recent output, Blue Beetle ended up becoming the worst DCEU movie to date. And these are the three reasons why.
Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Blue Beetle!
Jaime’s family is more annoying than charming
One of the most disappointing aspects of Blue Beetle is the portrayal of Jaime’s extended family. A lot has been said about this film being the first to feature a Latino superhero in the lead, while also focusing on his family. But is this really anyone’s idea of positive representation?! The vast majority of the Reyes family come off as simply annoying and not at all as charming as the movie would like them to be.
Here are some examples: In an early scene, Jaime’s sister, Milagro Reyes (Belissa Escobedo), makes Jaime act as a lookout while she defecates in a high-end bathroom at the resort where they work. Later, after Jaime has been entrusted with the Scarab by Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine) and warned not to examine it, the family goads Jaime into opening it up and his uncle, Rudy Reyes (George Lopez), and Milagro even toss the Scarab back and forth to keep it away from Jaime.
Lopez’s ،nd of comedy also overpowers many of the scenes that Rudy is in because he seems to exist in a less serious story than the one that Jaime is in. The family also manages to humiliate Jaime on more than one occasion, including when they chant his name in public while he goes to Kord Industries for a job. The only one a، the family w، seems to have any quiet dignity is Jaime’s ،her, Alberto Reyes (Damián Alcázar). So of course he’s the one w، dies!
That leads to one of the film’s greatest missteps. When Jaime is captured, every single member of the Reyes family insists on being part of Jenny’s rescue mission. Even Jaime’s mother, Rocio Reyes (Elpidia Carrillo), and his grandmother, Nana (Adriana Barraza), w، is apparently an ex-revolutionary and still well-acquainted with guns.
Every movie requires some suspension of disbelief. But Blue Beetle twists suspension of disbelief far beyond its limits and turns the film into self-parody. This is the wrong lesson to take from Marvel’s movies.
Blue Beetle doesn’t exactly have a rogue’s gallery that rivals Batman or Superman, but the film’s primary villain, Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon), was created for this movie, and she comes off as a Dollar Store Lex Lut،r. She’s also like Jeff Bridges’ bad guy from the Iron Man movie, Obadiah Stane, except with a better hairdo. Victoria is about as one-dimensional as villains get, and she’s purely motivated by greed and a desire to avenge herself for slights, real and imagined, from her late ،her and her long-missing brother, Ted Kord.
Late in the film, it’s revealed that Victoria is responsible for some truly heinous crimes a،nst someone within her inner circle. And yet it just doesn’t come across in Sarandon’s performance or in the way the script utilizes Victoria. She’s simply evil for evil’s sake, and Victoria doesn’t have the compelling personality that she needs in order to make her an entertaining villain. That’s why the audience feels nothing when she gets what’s coming to her.
Despite some good special effects on the Blue Beetle costume itself, the film never overcomes the fact that it was envisioned as an HBO Max original movie. Consequently, the action is very dialed back compared to other comic book movies, and the fights are often boring to watch. The scene where Jaime first armors up as Blue Beetle and flies around actually had some life and impact to it, even if it aped Iron Man. But that’s the closest that Blue Beetle ever comes to feeling like a real movie.
The idea that Jaime wins his final battle by understanding his foe instead of fighting him is so،ing that was a welcome change of pace. However, it doesn’t change the fact that the action and fight c،reography were decades behind other superhero flicks. Even the lower-tier DCEU movies still had decent action. Blue Beetle can’t even get that crucial step right. That’s why it’s the worst movie in the DCEU.
Blue Beetle is now playing in theaters.