In the world of superheroes there are the originals and the newer ones...the "Rockstars" and the minor sidekicks. In the DCU the heavy hitters are Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman to name a few. Then there are the lesser-known characters like Robin (and Nightwing), Black Adam, and Blue Beetle. While Nightwing (Brenton Thwaites; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) was one of the main characters on the television series Titans, Black Adam, portrayed by Dwayne Johnson (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) became a feature film last year. This month Blue Beetle, starring Cobra Kai's Xolo Maridueña, heads to theaters.
Jaime has returned home to his family in Palermo City after just graduating from college. Unfortunately, he is just now finding out about all the family problems that they were hiding from him while he was away at school...His father had a heart attack, they lost the family business and they are about to lose their home. Jaime and his sister, Milagro (Belissa Escobedo; Hocus Pocus 2), get jobs working for billionaire Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon; Thelma & Louise) but lose them when Jaime stands up for Victoria's niece, Jenny (Bruna Marquezine; Women in Love) who was being harassed by Victoria's bodyguard.
As a thank you, Jenny invites Jaime to the Kord Offices to see about a job. When he arrives the next day, Jenny can't be found until he sees her hurriedly walking across the lobby, When she sees him she gives him a food container but tells him not to open it. Of course, with his family's encouragement, he does and finds a jeweled scarab. As Jaime holds it, the scarab comes to life and embeds itself inside Jaime, making him its "host". Infused with newfound superpowers that he can neither control nor understand, Jaime must fight the evil forces trying to kill him and take the scarab for themselves.
As a young actor cast to portray a Latino Superhero, Maridueña is a strong choice. He is easily recognizable from his character on the popular Netflix show and comes across as friendly, likable, and intelligent. While Marquezine offers some appeal as Jenny Lord, she exudes a maturity that Mardueña doesn't, making their "romance" highly improbable. Sarandon also shouldn't have been cast as the villain because, while she portrays a strong female well, she doesn't easily pull off the maniacal, scheming traits typically exhibited by villains.
Director Angel Manuel Soto (Charm City Kings) gives Blue Beetle a modern slant while embracing the old-world traditions cherished by Hispanic families. He also keeps the pacing of the film moving steadily from start to finish so the film doesn't drag partway through. Writer Gareth Dunnet - Alcocer (Miss Bala) pumps several jokes into the script to help lighten the mood and they land perfectly offering laugh-out-loud fun for the audience while still maintaining the energy and action of a superhero movie. Unfortunately, one of the downfalls of Blue Beetle is the special effects. They look - in one word - fake, which is disappointing.
Blue Beetle is the first Latino superhero to hit the big screen so it will do reasonably well at the box office in certain pockets of the United States and globally. It also has several moments that will make the audience, which is always a good thing. However, it also uses every superhero movie trope and throughout the film, I had flashes of other superheroes, especially Iron Man. With the subpar special effects and the lack of originality in the script, Blue Beetle will only do ok at the box office which is a shame. It has heart, it focuses on the message of family, and it has some very funny moments but all of that isn't enough, in my humble opinion.