Charles Merritt is excited to see a childhood comic hero brought to life and believes you too will enjoy the outcome
The Film: Blue Beetle
Watch if you liked: Shazam!, Coco, Iron Man
Running time: 127 minutes
Genre: Superhero, Comedy, Family
Overview: When Jaime Reyes becomes fused to an alien war suit he discovers that the powers he now holds are nothing compared to the power which comes from his family.
What you liked:
I would forgive you if you’d never heard of Blue Beetle. For me, he is one of my favourite superheroes, having been introduced to him in the animated series ‘Young Justice’ and then again in various comics and video games.
When they announced a film was being developed for HBO Max, I was excited but apprehensive. He is such an obscure character, would anyone other than me be interested in watching it? Would they capture the charisma and fun he represents?
It was later announced that it would d no longer be a film for streaming but would release in cinemas instead. They must have felt pretty confident in the movie to do so - my hopes grew but the realism of DC movie history was very much on my mind.
I am so glad to report that this movie is great. Blue Beetle continues to be one of my favourite superheroes and I’m delighted that his movie does him justice.
Every actor pours their soul into this film. No one treats it as an easy pay check - even the smallest of roles are elevated by the performances given.
Ángel Manuel Soto directs the film brilliantly with an 80s/90s vibe that I quickly became a fan of. The score by Bobby Krlic also adds to this and the music helps sell so many moments.
I was surprised at how emotional the film made me feel. Not just in seeing a character I love be brought to the big screen but also through the representation of Latino family and culture. There are also gut wrenching emotional beats that I won’t spoil but definitely tugged at my heart strings.
Ultimately, this movie was a lot of fun, with plenty of heart and humour.
What you didn’t like:
I’ll be honest, the opening scene worried me slightly as it doesn’t open strong. I’m not sure whether it was the delivery of the dialogue or the dialogue itself but something was off…
There are also moments where you can tell it was originally planned for streaming. Some of the VFX are dodgy and a little needless. The biggest example are some very fake looking flamingos. They weren’t needed and I wish that the budget had been used to plump up some other more needed CGI moments.
Thoughts for parents:
There’s some mild bad language, a blood splatter, and some pretty upsetting war imagery. I’d say 12 and up is about right for this - on par with Jurassic Park or Indiana Jones in terms of family vibes.
The main theme of the movie is about family. What I love about Jaime’s origin story in this movie is that his family are witnesses to it. There’s no sneaking around trying to pretend he’s not a superhero. And the Reyes family are very much a part of Jaime’s superhero journey. They support him and even risk their own lives to help save the day. It’s a beautiful thing to see multi-generational heroes on the screen who each bring something unique to the table (Jaime’s nan steals the show in several scenes…).
Jaime realises that his love for his family is his superpower (plus the alien tech…) and that it’s his love for his family that motivates his actions and forms his character. I wonder whether we see our families as a source for strength?
There’s a beautiful line which Jaime’s love interest says to him whilst he’s sat in her mansion (a far cry from his small home). She says, ”This house is full of stuff. Your house is full of love.”
I wonder whether we take for granted the love we find in our families - whether that’s our blood relatives or our family in Christ. How can we refocus what holds real value in our lives?