Star Cast: Xolo Maridueña, Bruna Marquezine, Damián Alcázar, Belissa Escobedo, Susan Sarandon, Raoul Max Trujillo, Adriana Barraza, George Lopez, Becky G
Director: Ángel Manuel Soto
What’s Good: A lot! It’s a brilliant film when it doesn’t do the routine superhero film sh*t
What’s Bad: It’s a superhero film after all & it’s destined to do the routine superhero film sh*t
Loo Break: Just the interval!
Watch or Not?: Even if you’re suffering from superhero film fatigue, this won’t ‘bug’ you
Available On: Theatrical Release
Runtime: 127 Minutes
Just like every origin superhero story, we have a billion-dollar tech cooperation that shows to do something good for the country but is internally working on a secret project to take over the world. Named The Kord Industries, it’s Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon) who badly wants this Scarab to work to make Soldier uniforms and make sure to remain filthy rich.
Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) slides in, commenting on the US schooling system upon dreaming to buy a house with an infinity pool but ends up working for Victoria, who owns such properties. Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine) becomes the odd woman out of Kords who is not as greedy as them, doing good things for humanity. She gets the scarab, Blue Beetle’s artefact, and somehow gives it to Jaime, asking him to not touch or see it. But of course, with the outspoken & lovely family he has, you know he’ll try it, and what happens next forms the crux of the story.
Blue Beetle Movie Review: Script Analysis
Amidst the chaos of Marvel VS DC trying to redefine the genre of superhero films, filmmaker Ángel Manuel Soto tries hard to give you that one different thing to prove that it’s a fresh one. With a Latino family’s quirks, a young underdog Mexican superhero, class politics & social commentary on the great American Dream, this DC film surely has a new perspective on dodging the superhero-movies fatigue, but how much of it lands? Let’s figure it out!
The decision to keep the superhero’s adorable family in focus all the time is a good one, as it not only instils some really funny lines but also the heart-wrenching emotions work majorly in its favour. Making a Mexican writer Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer pen the script has helped to retain the Latino essence; the dialogues are nicely synced between Spanish & English, with not just a single language dominating the flavour. The references to the superhero parody series El Chapulín Colorado & Telenovela María Mercedes also add to things you won’t usually find in other superhero movies.
But, talking about things you’d find in other superhero movies, there are quite a few, from the underdog superhero fighting a world-destroying entity fed by a multi-Billion dollar tech company to proving the baddie who said “The love you feel for your family makes you weak” wrong. It plays with some generic tropes but doesn’t let them become its identity, a mistake Sony did with Venom (franchise). Ari Aster’s favourite cinematographer
Pawel Pogorzelski (Hereditary, Midsommar) gives us some cool-looking shots like going the First-Person View (FPV) of the kid turning the superhero for the first time & more.
Blue Beetle Movie Review: Star Performance
The lock, stock and barrel of Cobra Kai, Xolo Maridueña makes an endearing superhero debut. The “one of us” feeling is almost as strong as Peter Parker’s Spidey, all thanks to Maridueña’s charming presence.
He gets into one of the most ‘useful’ suits of all time in superhero movies & has amazing chemistry with the suit’s operating system Khaji-Da (voiced by Becky G). Again, choosing a singer for voicing an OS is a pretty slick decision because it’s not robotic to make you feel like it’s all AI.
Becky’s character is so good that she has way better chemistry with the lead without any visuals than the film’s leading lady Bruna Marquezine. She walks on an extremely generic path leading to the predictable haven of nowhereness. Even Susan Sarandon as the villain doesn’t really get a fleshed-out character to balance the villainy side of things, helped majorly by a decent performance of Raoul Max Trujillo’s Conrad Carapax.
Coming to Jaime’s family, the conspiracy theorist Uncle Rudy played by George Lopez, takes the cake of being the most hilarious uncle you must have seen in superhero films. He’s raw, he’s real & he’s f*cking funny. Belissa Escobedo is outstanding as Jaime’s sister Milagro as her arc ranges from cool to gloomy (during a moving sequence), and she nails it all.
Adriana Barraza’s grandma Babel gets an astonishing treatment in the second half as she comes out of the Blue with a handheld Gatling gun & that’s an electrifying visual to watch. Damián Alcázar playing Jaime’s father, gets too little but too good & he delivers it with a genuine smile on his face throughout.
Blue Beetle Movie Review: Direction, Music
Ángel Manuel Soto does all the superhero movie things while choosing a different route to convey the routine message. He somewhere surely plays a homage to Jarvis & Tony Stark with Khaji-Da & Jamie but keeps the conversations natural.
Another member from Ari Aster’s crew, musician Bobby Krlic composes a just-about-okay background score & soundtrack, some of which at the start really sounded like Star Wars’ theme to me for some reason. His best decision was to include Mötley Crüe’s 89’s banger Kickstart My Heart, which syncs well with the sequence it’s used in.
Blue Beetle Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, this should be a part of James Gunn‘s DCU for all the right reasons & how well Xolo Maridueña’s Jamie would perfectly fit in the new-age Justice League. A revivifying superheroic watch!
Three and a half stars!
Blue Beetle Trailer
Blue Beetle releases on 18th August, 2023.
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