‘Blue Beetle’ Delivers a Riveting and Heartfelt Origin Story

This film is the light at the end of DC’s dark tunnel.

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the film being covered here wouldn’t exist.

Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle has flown under the radar at DC since his first appearance in 2006. While he’s popped up in shows like Smallville and Young Justice, as well as video games like Injustice 2, the character hasn’t gotten much attention from general audiences. Director Ángel Manuel Soto is here to shine a light on Jaime’s story, one that has been in the making since 2018.

The film was originally announced as a MAX exclusive before the executives at Warner Bros Pictures believed in Soto’s vision, and the potential to release it theatrically. While DC’s latest big screen projects, Shazam! Fury of the Gods and The Flash received less than desirable scores on Rotten Tomatoes, 49% and 64% respectively, Blue Beetle debuted with an 88% amongst critics. The long wait for is worthwhile as Blue Beetle delivers an emotionally-driven story centered around family and identity with some entertaining action to tie it all together.

Blue Beetle review: The cast is the glue that holds everything together

Belissa Escobedo, Elpidia Carrillo, Bruna Marquezine, Adriana Barraza, and George Lopez in 'Blue Beetle' | Agents of Fandom
Not your typical supporting characters. Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures.

Xolo Maridueña makes his leading role debut in a feature film as Jaime Reyes, the titular hero. Those who have watched Cobra Kai are familiar with his talent, but Maridueña steps it up here, commanding the screen with his charm and charisma. Throughout the film, the 22-year-old actor displays a full range of emotions, from cheeriness and compassion, to anger and worry. By exploring these different feelings, Jaime is presented as a multidimensional character that audiences can resonate with and root for.

The supporting cast does a standout job as well. Bruna Marquezine plays Jenny Kord, niece of Kord Industries CEO Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon) and daughter of Ted Kord, who has been missing and presumed dead for years. Jenny is focused on giving back to the community, while her aunt is constantly taking from them. Jenny’s passion for the people of Palmera City is felt through Marquezine’s dynamism, and the layers written for her character. She is not reduced to being only Jaime’s love interest, but fully capable of handling matters on her own, and has her own arc dealing with her father’s legacy.

The chemistry between the Reyes family, especially Jaime’s dad, Alberto (Damián Alcázar) and Jaime’s uncle, Rudy (George Lopez), is authentically sincere. Although these two male figures serve different purposes for Jaime, they both impact the young hero’s journey. Lopez delivers comedic relief ever so naturally, never overselling it.

The Blue Beetle movie takes on relatable complications and personal stakes

Conrad Carapax, Victoria Kord, and Jenny Kord in 'Blue Beetle' | Agents of Fandom
(Left to right): Conrad Carapax (Raoul Max Trujillo), Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon), and Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine). Image Credit: Entertainment Weekly.

One of Blue Beetle’s refreshing aspects is its smaller focus and the risks involved. DC’s last three films deal with gods, the multiverse, and time travel, but this entry is much more grounded. That isn’t to say there’s nothing worth fighting for. The use of real-world issues like social disparity and the stresses of being in a middle-class immigrant family add to the weight and make the film more relatable. Latinx culture and their family dynamics is present throughout, truly celebrating what it means to be part of this community.

Blue Beetle isn’t overshadowed by trying to set up future stories, or forcefully connecting back to what has come before. The narrative is very standalone, devoting ample time to the characters’ journeys. It does falter when it comes to the Scarab that powers the Blue Beetle suit, Khaji-Da (Becky G), and the villains, Conrad Carapax (Raoul Max Trujillo) and Victoria Kord. These characters aren’t explored enough to leave an impact.

A clever sequence is shown about the Scarab, but the symbiotic relationship between Jaime and Khaji-Da would benefit from focusing on the Scarab’s purpose, and why it chooses Jaime as a host in the first place. The villains are just formulaic obstacles for our hero, not being fleshed out enough to understand their motivations when it matters.

Blue Beetle is unstoppable

Blue Beetle blasting enemies away | Agents of Fandom
Blue Beetle blasting away DC’s past three films. Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures.

When the first set pictures for this project were released, fans, including myself, were amazed at the head-to-toe practicality of the Blue Beetle suit. It’s astounding to watch in motion, especially when it comes to close combat fight sequences. Each attack leaves a literal and figurative impact. Since Khaji-Da can create any weapon the user thinks of, the action is dynamic and well-shot.

While the narrative structure isn’t anything superhero fans haven’t seen before, Blue Beetle highlights important themes, celebrates representation, and balances a fun and emotionally-driven story with great action and stellar performances. Make sure to stay through the credits, not just to see what they tease, but to take in all the people involved in bringing this film to life. With James Gunn confirming the character will return in the DCU, a new corner of the universe has officially been introduced.

What are your thoughts on Blue Beetle? Let us know on the Agents of Fandom socials, and stay tuned for more superhero content!

'Blue Beetle' Review

'Blue Beetle' Review
4 5 0 1
4.0 rating
Total Score

The Good

  • Xolo Maridueña and Bruna Marquezine give strong performances
  • Practical suit looks amazing
  • Genuine family dynamic
  • Fun ride throughout

The Bad

  • Weak villains
  • Needed to expand on the origin of the Scarab
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