Blue Beetle Review “Iron Meh?”
The current state of Warner Brothers DC Universe is dare I say it, "Dire straits!" With previous films failing to make a dent at the box office and a shakeup changing of the division being met with both praise and skepticism, not to mention the WGA and SAGFRA strike still ongoing, how will the studio that gave us 1989's Batman, will overcome the odds?
I can't answer that, but for now here is the latest offering from Warner Brothers DC division, Blue Beetle.Although Xolo Mariduena was one of the highlights from the popular Netflix series Cobra Kai but can even his star power help to pull Warner Brothers from out of their Superhero slump?
Directed by Ángel Manuel Soto Blue Beetle centers around Jamie Reyes, a college grad who becomes infused with a symbiotic scarab thingamajig. Jamie comes off, optimistic i.e. naive, and believes he can achieve the American Dream by being a successful attorney and to get his impoverished family from out from their unsavory conditions to the "promised land “but as always, reality bites as his expectations are crushed.
That is, until an unexpected incident involving a magical scarab well not magical for lack of a better term fuses with Jaime, encasing him in an armored exoskeleton with of course superhuman powers, with CEO Victoria Kord of Kord Industries who has very ambitious plans for scarab, will go through extreme measures to retrieve it for her OMAC project, (no, not that OMAC )to which this “Beetle” is in for a “Hard day’s night!” *Rimshot* and basically, that’s the MacGuffin for DC’s first Latino superhero led adaptation.
Okay with that out of the way, Blue Beetle like the previous DC films, are not as exceptional when it comes to being the breakthrough many of us had hoped. While Comedian George Lopez delivers several great comedic timings as Uncle Rudy, however, most of the film's humor is a bit undercooked and uninspired.
The flaws of this film should be pointed at the screenwriters for handing in a generic origin story that could've been better and then there's the all too familiar tropes y'know, the hero's journey and how a tragic event defines purpose. But I give credit where credit is due for Carapax's tragic backstory that will pull a few heart strings while critiquing "foreign diplomacy. " There are scenes that shamelessly borrows from Iron Man, Bio Booster Armor Guyver, 2018's Black Panther and the first two Blade films the latter refers to the ole "fighting henchmen while needledrops are playing." In my opinion, Most of the DCEU films have that Me-Too thing going on, as in whatever Marvel Studios does, DC be like hey, "Me too!"
To balance out the comedy, there was some fatalities not limited to a supporting character, but I won't be giving away spoilers, like effing "Turkish delight."
The scarab suit or rather " Khaji-Da" itself is more like Iron Man especially when comparing blatant similarities including an automated interface like Jarvis. So goes originality but to be fair, Knight Rider and before that, Marvel's Deathlok did it first.
The visual effects are okay, but the soundtrack is dull and lacks any dramatic impact and speaking of dull, Susan Sarandon phones in her performance as Victoria Kord. Aside from Lopez, Brelissa Escobelo as Jamie's sister, Milagros was serviceable as comedy relief and less annoying than Aquafina in Marvel's Shang-Chi. Nana also had her share of whimsical moments.
As a rule of dumb, you just can't have a DCEU movie without needledrops. There's one or rather two, that was not music to my ears. Either because it was a poor selection choice, or the fact that I'm no fan of Motley Crue nor Air Supply. But I digress.
While the cultural aspect and the importance of family added some depth to the story, the execution during the final act comes off like a bigger budgeted Spy Kids movie. And speaking of which, I would've preferred seasoned director Robert Rodriguez to direct and add his own input, since DC Warner Bros wanted to go in that route. Although I wasn't too familiar with Blue Beetle outside of Justice League International, his appearance in Brave and the Bold or INJUSTICE 2, I hoped that this film would finally break the losing streak, but again, Blue Beetle relies too heavily on comic book movie tropes, to emerge as a thing of its own as far as originality is concerned. While not a "Dung Beetle" this DC project is just another casualty, albeit a marginal one.