At a top-secret, mysterious dig site, we meet Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon), a wealthy CEO of a tech company known as Kord Industries. Victoria is searching for a rare Scarab artefact with alien technology inside it. With this artifact, she will step closer to creating an unstoppable, human weapon. Successfully locating the mysterious artifact, she begins to test it further. Meanwhile, Jaime (Xolo Maridueña) returns home to Palmera City after successfully obtaining a law degree. While Jaime is excited to be home and be reunited with his family, it’s not long until he receives disheartening news. Jaime’s family have been financially struggling, and the beloved home he and his family have always lived in will soon be taken away from them.
Keen to earn money with hopes of saving the family home, Jaime accepts work cleaning with his sister at a luxury home owned by Victoria Kord. When Jaime gets involved in a family disagreement between Victoria and her niece, Jenny (Bruna Marquezine), he instantly loses his job. Taking pity, Jenny offers Jaime a job instead, which he accepts. However, on the first day of his new job, Jaime finds more than he bargained for when he is given a mysterious box containing a Scarab that looks like a Blue Beetle. Upon opening the box, the Blue Beetle takes over his body and chooses him as its new host. Now, they must find a way to work together. When the Blue Beetle’s disappearance is discovered, Victoria Kord and her elite soldiers will do anything to regain it, including attacking Jaime’s family. Now Jaime must do everything they can to protect those close to him and take down Victoria and her soldiers.
Xolo Maridueña as Jaime is quite enjoyable here. He successfully brings a significant amount of heart to the screen, particularly when it comes to his concern and worry for those around him, including his family. As a superhero, he’s passionate about not harming others, even though the Blue Beetle may beg to differ. The costume design and visual effects are most impressive, as is the futuristic synth soundtrack by The Haxan Cloak (aka Bobby Krlic).
Sadly, while the film’s lead is enjoyable and the aspects of family throughout are also a treat for audiences of all ages, I can’t deny how familiar this entire film is, even more so when compared to famous Marvel superheroes such as Iron Man and Peter Parker (aka Spider-man). At times, I also can’t deny that the themes come over as preachy or repetitive, but it’s evident that the creative team are passionate about their message.
A familiar process of introducing a new hero who discovers their new abilities and the creation of a new villain, and so on is followed. Again, it’s familiar, but those new to the character (like me) will still be invested to know more. Pacing, for the most part, is fine, but sadly, it is too long, clocking in at over two hours, which is felt in the third act. The third act and showdown were disappointing and failed to leave audiences on a high. Instead of feeling like I wanted to see more, I found myself keen for the film to wrap up, given both the predictable and familiar story.
Overall, Blue Beetle is a light-hearted superhero film that will strongly appeal to younger audiences and families. While the main character and the aspects of Blue Beetle as a superhero are fun and brainless, a lot here is sadly familiar. DC and Marvel buffs will find it nearly impossible not to compare this with the likes of Iron Man and Peter Parker. Sure, the visuals and the futuristic 80s synth soundtrack are welcoming; however, the biggest flaw is its runtime. The runtime felt far too long given the premise, and the third act and showdown felt uninteresting and lacking in excitement. Ultimately, the film has a fun appeal with minor laughs, but I can’t deny it: I wanted Blue Beetle to impact me far more. Instead, it’s another passable story for DC buffs.