Blue Beetle review: The best nap I’ve had in a movie theater
Aug 28, 2023
Blue Beetle was a snoozefest.
I recently went to watch Blue Beetle and felt very energetic and revitalized after, but that’s because I fell asleep for 45 minutes of the film, a personal record for me when it comes to snoozing in an AMC.
Blue Beetle has a lot of heart, but it’s unfortunately not enough to make up for the frighteningly dated CGI, extremely one-dimensional characters, one-note villains, and highly predictable storyline. In the end, I feel Blue Beetle simply added nothing to the cinema experience and will be forgotten in mere days, making it yet another rushed superhero slog that doesn’t need to exist.
Money is obviously the end goal of almost anything you consume, but you can tell the difference between a project that has passion and creativity behind it and one that is simply meant to make a quick buck.
And Blue Beetle falls into the latter category.
Blue Beetle tugs on heartstrings with family themes
Same as the DC comic itself, Blue Beetle is the story of a struggling recent college graduate, Jaime Reyes, who just wants to support his family but finds himself chosen by an alien scarab that gives him incredible powers against his will.
Throughout the film, Jaime must learn to embrace his new destiny and figure out how it can help his family, a wholesome and tight-knit Mexican family that’s about to lose their home. This storyline has a lot of potential thanks to the cast’s personable portrayal of the family and the constant references made to Mexican culture, family, and struggles. The audience clapped when Jaime’s mom gave him a passionate speech at one point, telling him to believe in himself. The relationships clearly hit home with a lot of people who went to see the film.
What I really enjoyed as well was the concept of his entire family being involved in his heroic endeavors. Most superhero movies have the main character hiding their identity and challenges from their family and friends, but Blue Beetle had his entire family crammed into a beetle mobile, fighting on the frontlines. This was a pretty refreshing change to the superhero genre, especially when Nana came out with a massive machine gun.
Unfortunately, that’s all the movie had going for it.
Family is not enough to redeem this otherwise forgettable snoozefest
Aside from the cultural references and strong family connections, Blue Beetle was a generic superhero film that felt so rushed and poorly constructed that it looked and felt worse than a TV series from the early 2000s.
The CGI was laughable to the point where it boggled my mind, especially as we viewed the world through his suit, and it looked like a retro video game screen lacking in any sort of technology. I doubt that was the intention.
Once you were done being distracted by the cheesy CGI action and settings — which really just kept reminding me of old Star Trek television shows — you were left with the dullest and most flat film to come out in the past few years.
Every character had one note. Jaime is a worry-wart who wants to please his family. His sister is a goofball who says sarcastic things (honestly, she was more deserving of the Blue Beetle powers since she at least was slightly entertaining). His uncle was the comedic relief who cared a lot about his car. The worst offender, however, was the villain.
Looking exactly like Hillary Clinton with her blonde, Karen-style hair and stiff smile, the evil woman who wanted to take over the world had just one character trait: She’s racist. And let’s be real — we all hate racists and rooted for her downfall. But think of all your favorite villains — they make you feel empathy for them, they make you wonder who is truly the bad guy, they have a tragic backstory you can cling to… But in Blue Beetle, we just got a blatantly ignorant rich woman with no regard for human life. She’s on a one-track mission to create a super army with the latest scarab technology, and that’s it.
Everything that happened throughout the movie was predictable, taking away from any suspense, tension, emotion, or surprise. You knew what would be said or what would happen at every turn. This was true even down to the jokes. You knew every punch line coming your way, every snide remark, every one-liner…
I woke up from my sleep and noticed one key character had died, but I didn’t feel anything. My friend and I had already predicted they’d die a few scenes into the film based on interactions and, well, movie tropes.
I will admit, however, I did get a bit emotional later on during a scene about family and believing in one another. If this aspect of the film wasn’t pounded into you at every single moment with on-the-nose dialogue and over-the-top cutscenes, I would have truly loved this aspect of the film. Unfortunately, it felt like a big pandering mess, with the director hoping nobody would be cold enough to poo-poo this film after witnessing the strong love of the Reyes family despite all their struggles at the hands of greedy, racist rich corporations.
But I’ll admit it — I hated the greedy, racist rich corporations and this movie.
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