HCA Gradebooks: ‘The Last Voyage Of The Demeter’June 25, 2023
HCA Gradebook: ‘The Equalizer 3’June 28, 2023
Film: Blue Beetle (2023)
Plot: An alien scarab chooses college graduate Jaime Reyes to be its symbiotic host, bestowing the teenager with a suit of armor capable of extraordinary and unpredictable powers, forever changing his destiny as he becomes the superhero Blue Beetle.
Cast: Xolo Maridueña, George Lopez, Bruna Marquezine, Becky G, Damian Alcazar, Adriana Barraza, Susan Sarandon, Melissa Escobedo, Elpidia Carrillo and Harvey Guillén
Director: Angel Manuel Soto
Studio: Warner Bros.
Number of Graders: 26
Average Grade: B
As colorful as the action and family banter are, Blue Beetle isn’t without its moments of grounded realism. There’s a scene where Jaimie’s house is raided that feels eerily real. It’s intense enough to be in a Kathryn Bigelow crime thriller, but the shift in tone doesn’t feel out of place. Far too many people can identify with the sudden jolt of hanging out with your family one second and looking down the barrel of a gun the next. The rest of the movie never quite reaches the same level of gravitas, instead opting for safe comedy. This, coupled with a straightforward villain and predictable plot, prevents Blue Beetle from being one of the greats. Nevertheless, this is a film that should leave an impression. Many will walk out feeling seen. Others will walk out feeling satisfied.
Happy to report that Ángel Manuel Soto’s Blue Beetle is definitely a great time at the movies. Not only is it a fantastic introduction to Jaime Reyes as a character/hero, but also a love letter to the Latino culture, that focuses on family as its foundation. Funny, full of nifty action, with great visual effects (suit looks/feels amazing), and plenty of heart, Blue Beetle’s first live-action film is a win for longtime fans, and for the future of the new DCU. Xolo Maridueña kills is as the lead, while Belissa Escobedo and George Lopez shine as part of Jaime’s familia. Loved Bobby Krlic’s electronic/synthy 80’s-vibed score. It’s a blast. Definitely want to see what Soto does next with Blue Beetle.
Its flaws exist in the same way they do in most of these types of movies, but a unique power set being handed over to the kinds of folks who do not often get to be seen in this sort of spotlight helps it stand out as worthwhile.
Paul McGuire Grimes
There may be a familiar blueprint here, but every member of the Reyes family is so lovable that you can’t help but cheer them on. There’s a fresh start here as it doesn’t rely on pointless cameos from other DC characters to fit in. It trusts these characters and knows the audience is looking for something new and exciting.
Maridueña brings warmth, charisma, and sincerity to Jaime and it is expressed in the way he cares about making his family proud and getting them out of their situation. The film would not work if Maridueña was not able to encapsulate all these different aspects of the Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle character. For a superhero, it was nice to have the hero be saved instead of doing the saving – at least for a little bit.
Maridueña is the guiding light in this dysfunctional tale of family and provides an intriguing first entry to what hopefully equals more appearances in the DC Universe.
Ángel Manuel Soto’s Blue Beetle is the cinematic VICKS Bibaporrú for the DCU! Oozing Latin pride and authenticity, Blue Beetle is an inspiring and heartfelt journey that embraces its Latin American roots while forgoing the universe-building entanglements that have tarnished the genre for quite some time.
Touching on gentrification, Hispanic culture, heritage, and the tense political landscape, Blue Beetle has its heart in the right place and as a late summer tentpole targeted towards children and a vastly underserved audience, DC has seen worse. And yet, its generic storytelling, laughably dull battles, and not-so-subtle attempts at leaning into nostalgia with a variety of tepid needle drops, also hold it back from rising above the latest crop of live-action superhero flicks. Sure, Blue Beetle proves this genre is probably here to stay, but the targeted audience shouldn’t have to settle for mediocrity.
Blue Beetle does a great job showcasing the vulnerability and bravery of its main character. It also boosts a strong family identity that brings laughs, tears, and an authentic connection with the story. This superhero film powerfully conveys that all stories need to be told and authentic.
The film’s biggest strengths lie in its depiction of Latino culture & family dynamics, but it suffers from horribly uninteresting antagonists & a lack of creativity. It’s entertaining enough, but George Lopez’s wacky uncle is the only thing I’ll remember.
Jana N Nagase
Blue Beetle is amazing! I had so much fun watching & speechless of how cool the film is. Xolo Mariduena’s energy on screen is contagious. Bruna Marquezine shines as Jenny (love how much screen time she has). Xolo & Bruna’s chemistry is unreal and truthful. I can’t forget to mention the Reyes family, which has a spectacular dynamic.
Joel D. Amos
Blue Beatle should serve as the tonic for the under-performing Flash for DC and WB. It is fun, relevant, action-packed, and filled with familial messages that should resonate with everyone. Director Angel Manuel Soto could not have made a better choice casting his titular hero with Cobra Kai star Xolo Maridueña. That charm he exhibits in the Netflix hit is taken to a whole new level with Blue Beatle and should serve as a breakout role that will make him a bonafide star. The entire cast is game for this origins story, that Hollywood pundits think audiences are tired of experiencing. Thing is, if one makes an origins story as solid and enjoyable as Blue Beatle, no one would ever tire of them.
While Blue Beetle tells a familiar story, it still manages to stand out putting the focus on the lead character’s family. Blue Beetle’s family aren’t just side characters in his life or the movie. They are crucial to him and thus integrated into the entire film. This alone makes the film feel different from other comic book movie films. Though by giving the family so much focus it also means Blue Beetle himself is a bit underdeveloped. While the story beats are a bit generic, the movie still delivers a good bit of heartfelt fun.
As the summer movie season comes to a close, Blue Beetle will emerge as my biggest surprise. Fun, charming, heartfelt & my favorite DCU film to date. It also fully embraces Latino culture proudly & that representation comes out as the real hero in the end!
After three back-to-back would-be tentpoles, DC has delivered on perhaps its best offering in a long time. Blue Beetle is the movie that they should have been promoting all along, ahead of The Flash and Black Adam. It is a stellar showcase of Latino representation, but more than that, a spectacular, heartfelt endearing superhero story about family, that feels a lot more genuine than much of what we’ve seen from the studio in a while. Charming performances from a cast led by Maridueña, in a star-making role, combined with fun heroics and poignant moments, Blue Beetle is the biggest surprise of the year, and the one DC fans have been waiting for!
Blue Beetle should turn things around for the Warner Bros. comic world. It features an actor who understands how such roles should be played. Toss in a fun supporting cast and the Blue Beetle can save the DC comic book movie world from a serious case of the doldrums.
The story of Jaime Reyes and his family is where the heart of Blue Beetle is centered and their family bond gives the movie an authenticity that’s completely missing every time Jaime suits up as Blue Beetle. The superheroics are copies of copies of what we’ve seen before, with elements of multiple franchises added together to form several generic action scenes. While it’s a shame that the superhero part of this superhero movie is a letdown, it’s good to see Jaime Reyes and his family in the spotlight. I hope they inject that same freshness and warmth into the superhero elements next time (if there is a next time).
I think a big part of the enjoyment of this film goes into expectations. It’s not some comic book masterpiece, but it’s cute, and the cast is likable.
Blue Beetle doesn’t do much to move the needle as a superhero film, but it works as a family dramedy. I love that it celebrates the Latino community while highlighting the importance of family. Xolo Maridueña’s performance is strong as well as all of the younger female cast. I think the bloated runtime and generic story hurt the overall film. The villains are also pretty terrible, especially Sarandon. I hope there will be another film with Blue Beetle as a character because I would like to see where this character goes from here.
Blue Beetle is a FUN and FUNNY superhero movie showcasing our Latin community and culture in inclusive and honest ways while telling an engaging, touching, thrilling, and fantastic superhero origin story!
Xolo Maridueña commands your attention as Jaime Reyes from the moment he’s onscreen. He is complimented by a fantastic cast playing the Reyes family, who do more than worry for Jaime, with each getting a moment to shine. Angel Manuel Soto has a confident hand here as a director and rises to the occasion. There are some third-act issues, but not enough to sink the film. In the end, the powerful message about family (biological or otherwise) being the true wealth in this world is delivered with some fantastic and genuine emotion.”
An A-level performance from star Xolo Maridueña elevates a mid-level DC hero. Blue Beetle has heart and humor, with an appealing backstory that’s rife for further exploration. The third act risks getting subsumed by the usual superhero CG sky beams, but the appealing cast and central “family first” storyline are enough to carry this critter up and away.
Lupe Rodriguez Haas
The film is far from perfect, with questionable visuals at the start, but this wholesome superhero comedy will have you cheering, laughing, and crying. The three essentials needed for a great time at the movies.
Maridueña is a stand-out as Jaime Reyes, which is no surprise if you’ve watched Cobra Kai. He brings a very human energy to the role and exudes an innocence that immediately endears you to the character. BLUE BEETLE should catapult his career from here on out. Lopez, Barraza, and Belissa Escobedo (HOCUS POCUS 2) also steal the show with high-energy performances. A-
Blue Beetle is this year’s best DCEU film. With a heart of gold and themes of family, leadership, and culture – it DELIVERS. The Latino culture is well embedded into this exciting, action-packed ride. Xolo and George Lopez are incredible, and the family dynamic ROCKS!
Blue Beetle is a zany and electric story about everyday superheroes that’s full of heart. Boring villains weaken it, but Sarandon ate the crumbs she was given. It has many similarities to other superhero movies, but its strong theme of family makes it stand out. Maridueña is a star!
While a little MEH in parts and a superhero movie you’ve seen before, Blue Beetle is amplified by more than just Alien technology. The overall film has heart, a great cast, and showcases refreshing representation on-screen, and it makes for a decent 1st entry into the new DCU.
Blue Beetle thrives due to its anti-colonial and anti-imperialist nature. Overflowing with culture and a beautiful message about how family strengthens us, it wouldn’t work without its specificity. It is unapologetically representative of Mexico, Puerto Rico, and so many other beautiful countries present. Xolo Maridueña can carry an entire cinematic universe on his back, no problem. Ángel Manuel Soto is a visionary with a clear eye for spectacle, delivering a multi-layered, textured piece. Reminiscent of Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids, I can’t wait to see many kids grow up to this and adults reminisce on their power thanks to where they come from.
Blue Beetle has the idea of making a family a foundation for the film, with a phenomenal Mexican cast like Damián Alcázar y Adriana Barraza. The superhero action is there for comic fans. Xolo Maridueña did a great job portraying Jaime; I can’t say the same for Burna Marquezone, who sometimes felt stiff. George Lopez was his usual Lopez. The film made me shake my head a little in scenes that seemed to have no boundaries when it came to portraying Mexican stereotypes that just exceeded. Perhaps their attempt to make it comedic, however, made the “family cast” look like a joke or caricature. But I do see there being potential for more of the Blue Beetle.