It’s hard to believe that when the Arrowverse first started on the CW, Ted Kord was supposed to debut in the third season of Arrow, played by Brandon Routh. However, Warner Bros. wanted to bring Blue Beetle to the movies, so the CW couldn’t use that character; which is why Routh ended up becoming Ray Palmer/The Atom. Before that, I remember Blue Beetle making his TV debut in Smallville. It was always pleasant to see lesser-known DC Characters debut in that show.
Now, finally, we have Blue Beetle with his own movie, and I’m happy with it.
(Light spoilers ahead. To learn more about the Blue Beetle, check out our guide to the character.)
The Blue Beetle
After languishing in development hell for years, Blue Beetle is here, and it’s one of the best DC films in the last couple of years.
Xolo Maridueña shines as Jaime Reyes and brings a youthfulness that the DC franchise has been missing. Freshly back from college, Maridueña brings a puppy-dog-eyed look to the character that is reminiscent of Tom Holland’s portrayal of Peter Parker in the MCU, and whatever you thought of it there, you’ll like it here. In a world where most superhero films feature older and more seasoned actors, Blue Beetle gives us an actor whose genuine exuberance radiates on the screen.
The Reyes Family
Angel Manuel Soto brings a lighthearted family adventure to the pantheon of DC films; one filled with Latino culture and a star-studded cast. At the core of the movie is family; you can’t have Jaime without his family, and vice versa. They’re as central as he is. Each family member is essential to the plot and helps move it along.
Plus, there isn’t a single character in this family that makes you think, “God, I’d like less of this person and more of our hero.” George Lopez brings perfect comedic timing as Uncle Rudy — “The Mexican Doc Brown,” as Jaime calls him. Jaime’s mom, Rocio (Elpidia Carrillo), and dad, Alberto (Adriana Barraza), are the optimists of the group; and his sister Milagro (Belissa Escobedo) is a free-thinking rebel.
His Grandma (Adriana Barraza), especially, is an unsung hero of this movie. Seemingly just a prototypical sweet old lady, there’s so much more to her than he, or we, know — for instance, she was once apparently part of a team of freedom fighters. She steals a few laughs in some scenes, and nothing about it is forced.
The Kord Family
I’m a big DC fan. I know more about Ted Kord and Dan Garret’s versions of Blue Beetle than I do of Jaime Reyes, so I was honestly surprised to see so many easter eggs in this movie for all the iterations of the Blue Beetle. From the suits to news headlines to tech, fans of any version of Blue Beetle will have a lot to enjoy.
The essential background that the film gives us is that Ted Kord is missing, and his sister, Victoria Kord, is the current CEO of Kord Industries. His daughter, Jenny Kord, is trying to sabotage her aunt running the company. Through her, we learn that the Scarab, the source of Blue Beetle’s powers, is of alien origin, and that her dad and his lead scientist could never get it to work because the user must be chosen.
Jenny Kord (played by Bruna Marquezine, from Breaking Through) kind of works and kind of doesn’t in this movie. She serves as a bridge between Jaime’s world and her world, and is obviously a love interest for him in this feature. There are some scenes where I feel like she just sort of shows up; but ultimately, her character is useful to the plot as she helps the Reyes family understand this thing that has burrowed into Jaime’s spine.
DC’s Iron Man Looks Good
The VFX is pretty solid throughout this movie, from the very first transformation scene; when Jaime touches the scarab, it’s honestly pretty freaky, playing out like a demonic possession.
The fights are fun and easy to follow. Blue Beetle’s look is, as always, very similar to Iron Man, with the suit and weapons, including the energy blasts that shoot out of Jaime’s hands. The actual power itself, meanwhile, works more like Green Lantern’s than Iron Man’s, with the Scarab, Khaji-Da (voiced by Becky G, a Latina actor, from Saban’s Power Rangers) explaining that anything Jaime thinks of, she can create.
As you can see, with that information, Jaime creates a sword that looks a lot like Cloud’s from Final Fantasy 7.
Blue Beetle‘s Underwhelming Villain
Victoria Kord (played by Susan Sarandon from Thelma & Louise) is your typical real-world CEO, bent on local domination via a giant real estate scheme. But, this is a superhero movie, so she also wants to build super soldiers powered by the Scarab.
Susan Sarandon is probably the weakest part of this movie for me. Ironically, she has a bodyguard named Conrad Carapax, played by Raoul Trujillo; and his character is both a lot more threatening than Victoria Kord, and a lot more fleshed out, as throughout the film we see more and more of Carapax’s humanity and discover that he’s more like a broken hero than a villain.
Props to Blue Beetle for that: it’s not often that a film spends the least time and effort on a White character instead of on any of its Latino ones.
Conclusion: Blue Beetle is Worth Watching
Overall, Blue Beetle is a solid film. I enjoyed it. Yeah, it is a pretty generic “I found a thing and now I’m a superhero” plot.
But that’s okay. This movie has a lot of heart, making it a great starting point for the new continuity of DC films. And in general, I think it’s what we need in not only the DC side of comic book films, but overall.
- THE GOOD
- Xolo Maridueña is perfect in the role.
- Great supporting cast
- Stunning visuals
- THE BAD
- Generic villain in Victoria Kord
Blue Beetle is a solid DC film that features a fun family adventure at its heart.