HOLLYWOOD—Let’s be frank, I had never heard of the superhero, “Blue Beetle,” but apparently the character is part of the DC universe. I went into this movie with no expectations, but I had a ton of fun in the process. This is the very time in the comic-verse that I can recall a flick focusing quite heavily on the element of family and it works to perfection. It also is a plus to see a superhero with a bit of diversity highlighting a Latino family. I’ve yet to see such a thing in my lifetime watching superhero flicks adapted to the big screen.
That diversity element might not seem like much to others, but for those who want to see superheroes that look like them on the big screen this is a major selling point. At the core of the film is recent college graduate, Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña), who is returning home and ready to begin his career but discovers a lot has been unfolding with his family that he has no clue about. His father suffered a heart attack, the family business tanked, and the family home is in the midst of being foreclosed on.
He manages to get a job working for a titan, Victoria Kord portrayed with delicious villainy by Susan Sarandon. I have to be honest I haven’t seen Sarandon in such a role, but I loved every single minute of it. She was great as the villain in this movie and her scenes with her niece, Jenny (Bruna Marquezine) were fantastic. It is Jenny who catches Jaime’s eye when his sister, Milagro (Belissa Escobedo) gets him a job. Escobedo delivers exceptional comedic timing. Yes, I know plenty of people are going to argue that George Lopez as Uncle Rudy takes the cake, but he doesn’t; he is George Lopez being George Lopez in my opinion.
The gist of the narrative revolves around an ancient alien artifact known as the Scarab that was located by Victoria and her cronies while in Antarctica and uses the artifact to fund her company’s projects. That doesn’t bode well with Jenny who is at odds with her aunt ever since her father, Ted Lord dies. Remember that name because he plays a big role in the comic-verse people.
When Jaime finds himself in possession of the artifact, he opens it, and it becomes embedded to his body developing this unique armor and nifty tools where he becomes the Blue Beetle. I will admit the film does have some slow moments after the end of the first act entering into the second act, but the narrative does find a way to pick up that boredom with some high-octane action sequences that are an absolute treat to watch on the big screen.
It is a bit cliché with the nobody who becomes a superhero and has to learn to navigate his new skills, while fighting the villain and balancing his family life. However, the family element is a potent part of the narrative that works so well. It is heartening to see such a thing on the big screen because it tends to be absent in so many movies, but “Blue Beetle” embraces that element to the absolute fullest, which is why this film works so well to me. It balances action, witty comedy, amazing special effects and unique characters of the Reyes family who all standout for their own reasons. Hell, you even have grandma who picks up a gun and takes out a few bad guys when needed.
“Blue Beetle” is a solid entry into the DC comic-book universe. It is not the best, but it is nowhere near the worst. It entertains with the action sequences fans come to expect, gives you one-line zingers, has a superhero you can root for and side-characters that are present when they need to be.