The new movie, which is Warner Bros.’ second to last DC Comics film before James Gunn’s big franchise reboot, follows Xolo Maridueña’s Jaime Reyes as a mysterious alien artifact chooses to bond with him, essentially making him a superhero in the process.
While the movie might be a ton of fun, this good time doesn’t come without its caveats.
Meet Jaime Reyes and His Family
When it comes to the best part of Blue Beetle, it’s unequivocally Xolo Maridueña’s Jaime Reyes. Palmera City’s hero is easy to connect with and understand. He is simply a joy to watch.
Maridueña is the perfect pick for the titular role, and his charismatic young superhero will be a fan favorite for years to come.
It’s also worth noting how his Blue Beetle super suit is one of the best-looking costumes in the entire genre—and that’s going against some stiff competition.
Hardcore fans might be disappointed not to have the original Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, be in the spotlight. But rest assured, the hero that came before Reyes is honored and respected properly.
Hopefully, his story is one that a future DCU project might tell.
Alongside Jaime is his close-knit family, all of whom have a fantastic dynamic with one another. Everything about their interactions feels genuine and honest.
Despite the movie being all about Blue Beetle, the family isn’t actually ever sidelined and is always involved in the core plot in some way.
The film also does a fantastic job at organically weaving the family's culture into the proceedings, which helps to give the movie a little bit of its own flair.
A Fun, MCU-Like Crowd-Pleaser
Blue Beetle fosters a very vibrant, fun, and light-hearted tone. MCU fans will feel right at home. It’s not afraid to get emotional, but it never gets lost in the darkness like some previous DCU outings have.
The film will undoubtedly get caught up in plenty of comparisons to the likes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only does it feel like the majority of Marvel Studios’ work, but there are a handful of similarities specifically to Iron Man and Spider-Man’s stories.
The troublesome Kord Industries could easily be swapped out with Stark Industries, and situations like Jaime learning his suit’s new quirks and its accompanying virtual assistant could be right out of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
While it’s impossible to ignore those parallels completely, thankfully, Jaime Reyes is still good enough to stand on his own.
It’s also worth noting that the action scenes throughout the movie are quite stellar. They fit the bill for what a comic book movie should have and are entertaining to watch, though some sequences might easily start to look like every other fight scene for certain people.
Blue Beetle’s Villains Fall Flat—Hard
While Blue Beetle’s hero is clearly the strongest part of the movie, the film falls victim to a common comic book movie flaw, its villains are no good.
The physical threat to Jaime Reyes is Raoul Max Trujillo’s Carapax. At the end of the day, he is not much more than a silent, brooding henchman that grunts and puts on a super suit.
The film tries to throw in abrupt and heavy character development for him in the final act, but by the time it arrives, it’s a little too late.
Then there’s Victoria Kord (played by Susan Sarandon), who is simply the stereotypical power-hungry Rich CEO. Not only is this antagonist extremely dull, but Sarandon’s performance is a notable weak link of the film.
Transitioning to James Gunn’s New DCU
Well, it fits in quite well. While heroes like Superman, Flash, and Batman all get name-drops, everything is left vague enough that Blue Beetle’s continuity could easily fit right in with whatever Gunn is planning.
For all intents and purposes, Blue Beetle might as well be the first proper DCU film—especially since Gunn confirmed Xolo Maridueña’s hero would be sticking around. What that means for the events of Blue Beetle and its smaller details are unclear.
Either way, this is still a win for the DCU (its first of the year). While the villains are less than lackluster, and it isn't the most unique comic book movie ever, Jaime Reyes and his family really bring heart and fun to this family adventure.
Here’s to hoping Blue Beetle can start crossing over with other DC characters sooner rather than later.
Blue Beetle lands in theaters on August 18.