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Blue Beetle Review: Xolo Mariduena Shines In This Wholesome Superhero Movie By DC

Written By: Dishya Sharma

Last Updated: August 18, 2023, 09:06 IST

Blue Beetle Movie Review: Let’s face it, superhero movies have not been impressive in the recent years. Be it DC or Marvel Cinematic Universe, I could count the movies that I had fun watching. Shazam! Fury of the Gods aka Shazam 2 being one of them. So when my expectations from Blue Beetle weren’t high, considering the superhero isn’t as popular as other superheroes of his age. However, I must admit, I found myself shushing people who were talking in between the climax scene and realised I was invested in the Angel Manuel Soto directorial.

Starring Xolo Maridueña and Bruna Marquezine in the lead, Blue Beetle is DC Extended Universe’s third theatrical release this year. Unlike the previous two films, Shazam 2 and The Flash, Blue Beetle did not walk into the DC’s big screen superhero universe with a baggage of the remains of will there-won’t there Zack Snyder universe the filmmaker was making over the years. This detachment from the past allows Blue Beetle to explore any tone that they like. Director Angel Manuel Soto took a familiar path, resorting the usual tricks of the ’80s and ’90s film and banked the film highly on emotions which worked in the film’s favour.

Blue Beetle revolves around a 22-year-old Jaime (Xolo Maridueña) who comes across a dangerous beetle looking gadget. His family’s curiosity in the gadget results in Jaime turning into the host of the said beetle and his life takes a turn. Not only does this transformation put his family at risk but his love interest Jenny, played by Bruna Marquezine, under major threat. Jaime is forced to lock horns with Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon) and Conrad Carapax (Raoul Trujillo). Whether he saves himself and his family or Victoria manages to extract the ‘Blue Beetle’ out of him is the crux of the film.

On paper, the film doesn’t have anything great to offer. It is pretty much linear, with the story being told through Jaime’s perspective and minimal layering is involved. However, the screenplay, the dialogues and the performances help Blue Beetle standout. Angel Manuel Soto offers a crisp narration and yet manages to give every character its spotlight. Although Blue Beetle is the star of the show, you find yourself invested in Jenny, looking forward to what Rudy (George Lopez) could do next, and curious about Nana’s (Adriana Barraza) history. Each character is given enough meat to leave a mark and yet not overshadow the superhero.

The dialogues play a key role in the film. While it was understandable that the film is in English, the director did not hold himself back to give the script the much-needed Latino lines. This helped me connect with the film’s core emotions and motive. Xolo Maridueña shines as Blue Beetle. He is warm to the eye and sincere with his performance, almost reminding me of the first time I watched Tom Holland as Spider-Man.

Bruna Marquezine matches his vibe in most places but the character is not well-written. There are times, especially in the climax, that I almost forgot that she was there. I wish the writing for her character was stronger. The stars of the show are undoubtedly the supporting cast, especially Adriana Barraza and George Lopez. While George has everyone’s attention in the first half, Adriana steals the show in the second half. Personally, I also loved how Angel Manuel Soto subtly blended the fear of immigrants and the concept that migrant families express better in their home language. It plays a key role in showing representation of Latinos living outside their hometowns and countries.

The VFX was better than most DC movies we’ve seen lately. However, the film does make you think of several Marvel and DC films. I found myself drawing parallels with Batman, Spider-Man, Ant-Man, and Iron Man. As a fan of both the universes, I had no complains but it could bother DC fans. Another issue that fans might have is that Blue Beetle is pretty basic of a superhero film. If you compare it with other DC movies, it is not among the best films. It doesn’t dazzle you like a Man of Steel or Wonder Woman did. However, as a standalone film, Blue Beetle is a fun watch.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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