Blue Beetle ticks all boxes except originality

Blue Beetle is rated M for mature themes and violence.

The latest DC and Warner Bros. film, Blue Beetle, is out now. Stefan Bradley and former Gippsland Times reporter, Tom Parry went to check it out.

In Blue Beetle, recent college graduate Jaime Reyes returns home full of aspirations for his future, only to find that home is not quite as he left it. As he searches to find his purpose in the world, fate intervenes when Jaime unexpectedly finds himself in possession of an ancient relic of alien biotechnology: the Scarab.

SB: Hey Tom, hope you’re enjoying your new role in Bendigo, I hope there’s good cinemas over there. Thanks for joining us as a guest to discuss Blue Beetle. What did you think?

TP: It’s good to be with you again, Stefan! To be honest, I think superhero fatigue must be starting to hit me, because I found Blue Beetle rather bland.

SB: Honestly, I liked this much more than I was expecting. It ticks all the right boxes, except for one, and that’s originality. The visual effects, the characters, acting, action scenes, plot, the superhero suit, emotional weight, music, its direction and cinematography – they were all executed very well, but you’ve seen it all before. It moves at a steady pace, and I welcome that it was two hours, and not any longer.

TP: I think the key difference is that Jaime Reyes has a supportive, extended family behind him, which is rare to see in a superhero movie. Usually they’re orphans, or full-grown adults who have to hide their secret identities. Here, the family is contributing to the journey of the hero and his character development, which is welcome. Otherwise, this feels like every other superhero from the past decade.

SB: I agree, the family dynamic is the main thing Blue Beetle has going for it. And through their involvement in the story, you learn more about each member’s past as well, so it doesn’t feel shoehorned in. There’s a good balance of humour and drama, with high emotional stakes for the Reyes family. The third act once again sees Blue Beetle fighting a villain with essentially the same powers, which has been done to death.

TP: As for the cast, they’re all wonderful. Xolo Maridueña is very charming as Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle – you may remember him as Miguel from Cobra Kai. The electronic soundtrack had an ’80s vibe, which was a nice touch. What’s more, I found Blue Beetle to be an interesting superhero, and I’d like to see Maridueña in that role again.

SB: There were two villains here, played by Susan Sarandon and Raoul Max Trujillo, who I thought had interesting arcs and motivations, unlike many superhero baddies.

TP: Trujillo’s character, Ignacio Carapax seemed like a pretty one-note mute and muscly man at first; but you learn about his backstory later on, it becomes hard to not feel sorry for him by the end.

SB: Last thing I’ll say is that I think the cast and crew were keen on making the best family and superhero movie they could. Even if a line in the script was a bit clichéd, it was delivered earnestly by the actors, so you do care about the story and characters. And it also answered the one question I had, which was ‘who, or what is Blue Beetle?’ – so if you’ve never heard of this superhero, the film is a nice introduction. And I’d re-watch this over many other recent superhero movies, that’s for sure.

TP: Yes, and Blue Beetle is fairly standalone, so you don’t have to watch any other DC movies. Despite that superhero fatigue, I did enjoy it. Somewhat.

Blue Beetle is now showing at Sale Cinemas. Images: Warner Bros

Blue Beetle is rated M for mature themes and violence.