Home Blue Beetle: The IMAX Experience

Blue Beetle: The IMAX Experience (12A)

Cast: Susan Sarandon, Harvey Guillen, Xolo Mariduena, Yuli Zorrilla, Raoul Max Trujillo, Bruna Marquezine
Genre: Action
Author(s): Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer
Director: Angel Manuel Soto
Release Date: 18/08/2023
Running Time: 127mins
Country: US
Year: 2023

Jaime Reyes graduates from college and excitedly returns home to his close-knit family. Fate propels Jaime onto a different course and an ancient relic of alien biotechnology known as the Scarab chooses him as its symbiotic host. He is transformed into the superhero Blue Beetle, who is protected by an incredible suit of armour. Powerful businesswoman Victoria Kord is determined to acquire the Scarab and she dispatches hulking bodyguard Conrad Carapax to realise her diabolical vision.


LondonNet Film Review

Blue Beetle (12A) Film Review from LondonNet

The sprawling DC Universe inhabited by Superman, Batman, The Flash and members of the Justice League welcomes its first leading Latino superhero with the introduction of a human-alien symbiote, who unleashes hell to protect his Mexican American family from corporate skulduggery. Adopting a knockabout tone closely aligned with the rival Marvel Cinematic Universe, Blue Beetle barrels along at a brisk pace, establishing a strong emotional hook between the eponymous crusader and his resourceful clan on which to hang the obligatory special-effects laden set pieces. Like Iron Man, the acrobatic title character is encased within polished, hi-tech armour, which threatens to reduce battle sequences to video game-style cut scenes…

Director Angel Manuel Soto intersperses these slickly choreographed skirmishes with close-ups of actor Xolo Mariduena’s eyes within the Blue Beetle helmet as he communicates with an extra-terrestrial entity (voiced by Becky G) that is now hard-wired to his brain. Screenwriter Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer abides by well-worn comic book tropes, including a tragic backstory that will set a fledgling hero on the path to a righteous destiny, and he elicits bountiful chuckles with snappy dialogue between family members. An outlandish and overblown second half, when the clan’s grandmother (embodied with twinkly-eyed delight by Adriana Barraza) exposes her revolutionary past and galvanises her kin into heavily armed response, is a hoot.

Twenty-two-year-old Gotham Law graduate Jaime Reyes (Mariduena) excitedly returns home to his close-knit family comprising proud parents Alberto (Damian Alcazar) and Rocio (Elpidia Carrillo), sassy younger sister Milagro (Belissa Escobedo), grandmother (Barraza) and conspiracy theorist uncle Rudy (George Lopez). He is the first member to go to college but Jaime’s prospects are still painfully limited. An ancient relic of alien biotechnology known as the Scarab chooses Jaime as its symbiotic host and he is transformed into a superhero with an incredible suit of armour.

“It’s some kind of world-destroying weapon,” helpfully explains Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine), whose Machiavellian aunt Victoria (Susan Sarandon) is a powerful businesswoman determined to acquire the Scarab to realise her vision of a mechanised army. Victoria dispatches her cyborg bodyguard, Conrad Carapax (Raoul Max Trujillo), to neutralise Jaime and claim the Scarab. Jenny is fiercely opposed to her aunt’s plans to weaponise the company that bears their family name and she defies blood ties to align with the rebel-rousing Reyes in their hour of need.

Blue Beetle doesn’t break the comic book mould but Soto’s picture comfortably meets our expectations of turbo-charged entertainment between clearly delineated powers of good and evil. Sarandon’s boo-hiss villainess feels undernourished as a worthy adversary to Mariduena’s noble protector and a romantic subplot is largely superfluous. However, the tone see-saws pleasingly between spectacular thrills and humorous introspection and an additional scene nestled in the credits teases a welcome potential sequel.

– Jo Planter


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