It isn’t easy to create something that stands out in a world full of superhero movies. Blue Beetle, however, chooses to focus strictly on the family. Sure, we’ve gotten superhero films where a family of superheroes fights the good fight—like Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania or The Incredibles. However, Blue Beetle is the first superhero film to focus on a hero and his non-powered family. The film celebrates Latino culture, so it makes sense that Jamie Reyes and his family are the central focus of Blue Beetle. The Reyes family dynamic is easily one of the film’s best aspects. Their interactions and chemistry are off the charts, and it genuinely feels as if they’re a real family. I’m not Latino, but the Reyes reminds me of my family, and I’m sure they’ll remind you of yours too.
First of all, like every family, every member of the Reyes family has a distinct personality. While their characters may be vastly different, they mesh together so well. There’s a familial love that’s palpable throughout. At the forefront is Xolo Maridueña, and he’s fantastic as Jaime Reyes. He embodies the superhero role effortlessly since his character, Miguel Diaz from Cobra Kai, translates perfectly to Jaime Reyes. However, he’s not the only one who delivers a spectacular performance. Belissa Escobedo offers a surprisingly entertaining and captivating performance as Jaime’s sister, Milagros. Even though Jaime is the main character, I found myself caring a lot about Milagros. At the same time, Damían Alcázar, Elpidia Carrillo, Adriana Barraza, and George Lopez bring a ton of heart and laughs to the film. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the others; this is one of the movie’s most significant issues.
Blue Beetle is the first solo film for a Latino superhero that lovingly celebrates its culture. Those things should’ve been a breath of fresh air, but it doesn’t automatically make for a good flick.
Angel Manuel Soto gives the film a visceral Miami palette that’s beautiful to look at. Sadly, it’s more style than substance and does more to mask the paper-thin plot than add meaningful depth. Blue Beetle is a film packed with superhero origin cliches that make the film feel generic. Writer Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer mimicked tried-and-true origin stories rather than offering something original. As a result, some of the characters suffer. Although the Reyes family is great, the rest of the cast of characters is uneven. Jenny Kord is bland, and Conrad Carapax is one-note. Worst of all, Susan Sarandon’s Victoria Kord is a forgettable and stereotypical villain. As one of the most accomplished actors in the cast, Sarandon’s performance is surprisingly monotonous.
Overall, Blue Beetle is a mess—possibly due to the various changes at Warner Bros during the film’s production. In many ways, the movie should be commended as progress. It’s the first solo film for a Latino superhero that lovingly celebrates its culture. Those things should’ve been a breath of fresh air, but it doesn’t automatically make for a good flick. It’s a shame because hanging with the Reyes family for one more adventure would be nice.
Rating: 3/5 atoms
Blue Beetle hits theaters on August 18th.