Plot: “An alien scarab chooses Jaime Reyes to be its symbiotic host, bestowing the recent college graduate with a suit of armor that’s capable of extraordinary powers, forever changing his destiny as he becomes the superhero known as Blue Beetle.” -Blue Beetle
Review: After three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a stumbling DC Extended Universe, audiences are sending a simple message to Disney and Warner Bros. They are voting with their feet and box office returns are painting a vivid picture of a cinematic landscape that feels formulaic and void of new ideas. Audiences have grown fatigued. Anything that fails to break new ground or doesn’t wow in a way that demands a trip to the cinema is best skipped and saved for a night at home.
Blue Beetle is evidence of this truth. This is yet another film from the team at DC that collapses under the weight of its own mediocrity. So much so that even centering its story on a Hispanic family, something rare in this space, cannot save it. On the surface, this is a decent film that feels completely average in every regard. It could use 50% less George Lopez, but its story is acceptable. But we’ve seen all this before. We’ve seen heroes and villains reckoning with the power that comes with a new suit. We’ve seen a villain lured to the dark side by pursuing power and money. We’ve seen heroes wrestle with purpose and blindly answer the call of vigilantism. We’ve seen this all before and the formula is boring audiences (this critic included).
The one saving grace for this film is the family surrounding Blue Beetle/Jamie Reves (Xolo Mariduena). In their wishes and hopes for Jaime, we see an immigrant story defined by gentrification, and the power of education to break generational poverty. Their love and support of him gives the film an emotional arc that rivals almost any other story in the DECU, nevertheless, this is not enough. This cinematic event is not a must-see. It is just another superhero film.
I am fearful of what the future holds for DC and Warner Bros. James Gunn and Peter Safran have an impossible task before them. They must break new ground and they must give people solid reasons to fall in love with these characters and stories. Anything short of that will mean dwindling box office returns continues to be the story.
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