14 films into the DC Extended Universe and we are already seeing a reboot of sorts. Rushing to assemble the Justice League on a very weak foundation was always an interesting choice - and now, 10 years since 'Man of Steel', it's easy to see where it all went wrong. From poor box office performance and even worse reviews, if there was any chance to salvage this franchise, it had to be shaken up. While the Snyder-based films won't completely be over until 'Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom' stumbles into the cinemas this Christmas, 'Blue Beetle' is the first to fully created under James Gunn's reign - so does it succeed as DC starts its rebrand?
Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña, Netflix's 'Cobra Kai') has just returned home to Palmera City after graduating college. He catches up with his family, Nana (Adriana Barraza, 'Dora and the Lost City of Gold'), his father Alberto (Damián Alcázar, 'The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian'), his mother Rocio (Elpidia Carrillo, HBO's 'Euphoria'), his sister Milagro (Belissa Escobedo, Disney+'s 'Hocus Pocus 2'), and his Uncle Rudy (George Lopez, 'Rio 2'). He learns that things are looking grim for the Reyes family, as they are facing an eviction from their home. His sister gets him a job a Victoria Kord's (Susan Sarandon, 'Maybe I Do', 'Thelma & Louise') mansion cleaning, but quickly gets fired. Kord is the CEO of Kord Industries and is in search of the Scarab to revolutionise her One-Man Army Corps, but her niece, Jenny (Bruna Marquezine, 'Breaking Through'), is at war with her for ruining the family name by making weapons. When Jaime visits Jenny, she enlists his help to protect what he doesn't know to be the stolen Scarab. When home, he opens the box and the Scarab chooses him and transforms him into the Blue Beetle, and now he has to become a superhero.
'Blue Beetle' is a fun venture in the superhero genre. With its family focus it adds a really fresh energy to the film, with Nana particularly being a favourite. The love and humour from their dynamic does make this a standout from the rest of DC's offerings, but at the end of the day this is a superhero film and those parts weigh it down. The action is pretty bland and forgettable, there are chunks that are just CGI suits fighting each other which I found very unengaging. Every time the superhero tropes would come in, I just wanted to spend time with the Reyes family but the film never really balances the two. It was really exciting to see them have as much weight as they did - especially in the final battle - but the superhero elements of the film and what the film is about just don't live up to those other parts.
'Blue Beetle' is a fun venture in the superhero genre. With its family focus it adds a really fresh energy to the film, with Nana particularly being a favourite.
The film is very early 2000s in its superhero approach; it's an evil corporation wanting to make a weapon and only a suited hero can stop it... which has its charm, but it never really rises above it. DC has roped Susan Sarandon in to play the villain and she can be campy and fun which is delightful, but most of the time it's just a bland villain cut-out. How has DC gotten Helen Mirren in 'Shazam! Fury of the Gods', Dame Julie Andrews in 'Aquaman' and now Sarandon... leave these icons alone!
'Blue Beetle' is the fun reset DC needed - it's not tied down by franchise-building but still suffers from superhero fatigue. The family alone is reason to see this but everything else is not bad nor good; they are the heart and soul of the film and save it from falling into a more forgettable category.