Blue Beetle | Review by: Amanda Guarragi

 This year has been an interesting year for comic book films. To say that it has been hard for comic book movies out there is an understatement because, for some reason, they aren’t generating the same turnout as in previous years. We’ve learned this year that it’s not about the repetitive use of the conventions in the genre that is turning audiences away from watching the films. It’s because the characters are not connecting with audiences for them to come back and watch them. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and Across the Spider-Verse are the exceptions. And now, we can add Blue Beetle to that list. The emotional connection to the characters is the glue that holds these films together. This is an introduction to Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña), and there is a familiarity to his character’s journey that instantly makes you root for him. 

Director Angel Manuel Soto was the perfect choice to bring Blue Beetle to the big screen because he incorporated his distinct style to create the world for Jaime Reyes. Over the years, comic book fans have gotten to know Jaime Reyes through the comics, animated series of Justice League or even the Injustice games. Manuel Soto pulled a bit of something from every piece of media we’ve seen Blue Beetle in while adding himself to the mix. The importance of showing Latino culture with Jaime Reyes adds a layer of community and family that is integral to the character development of Jaime Reyes. Without the Reyes family, he would not become the hero he needed to be. The family unit is the most important aspect of this film. The love they have for each other is what will keep audiences invested in this journey. The banter between the Reyes family and the connection Jaime has with his Uncle Rudy (George Lopez) is the beating heart of this film. Without them, this wouldn’t have been as enjoyable. 

Sadly, the main issue with Blue Beetle is the script and how they developed the villain Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon). Kord Industries is developing a new wave of robotic technology to create an army. Victoria had stolen the design from Ted Kord, who has mysteriously vanished. He had found this alien scarab that he studied and made technological weaponry to compliment his suit. Victoria has used this for evil and needs the energy from the scarab to complete the process. Unfortunately for her, the scarab chooses Jaime Reyes, fresh out of law school and trying to find his purpose in life. He becomes the symbiotic host who has to adjust to the technology by working with it. Much like Eddie Brock and Venom becoming one. The story with Victoria was weak and repetitive, which led to the third act feeling overly long. What was sprinkled in effectively was the fight sequences with Reyes for him to get to know the symbiote.

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