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Review: Blue Beetle -“A solid fun story”

While superhero fatigue has started to set in, Blue Beetle has come in to stand apart from the others and hold its own. Balancing between mature and family-friendly, the film is fun, cheerful and sets up a new hero who will hopefully carry over into others.

Jaime Reyes is chosen by an alien weapon known as the Scarab to be its symbiotic host, becoming a powerful robotic suit of armour called the Blue Beetle. Jaime is played by Xolo MaridueƱa of Cobra Kai fame. Xolo is well suited to being the likable, naive protagonist. Accompanied by his intensely loving family – the real stars and drivers of the film – Xolo bounces off them with a winning charm and smile.

Jaime is being chased by Susan Sarandon (who is completely wasted as an underdeveloped and cliche villain) for his Scarab so she can use it to develop her own superweapon armour to sell. If this sounds familiar it’s because that is the plot of the first Iron Man movie which is not a bad thing at all. A mix of the plot of Iron Man with the youthful energy of Shazam and the emphasis of family from the Fast and Furious franchise brings a cocktail that is refreshing yet familiar.

Jaime’s family is unapologetically Latino, but it’s an immigrant story that anyone can recognise. Jaime is the first of his family to go to university and hopes to become the breadwinner for his family, taking them out of their financial worries into something stable. Without the superhero antics, this is a film about staying positive against so many struggles, economic, physical and social.

As Blue Beetle is planned to be part of the new DCEU, I hope that plan remains because I really enjoyed Jaime and his family. It may not be in the same league as Man of Steel or Iron Man, but it’s not meant to be. It’s a solid fun story, cliche at times but much better than most recent offerings that have triple the budget.

Blue Beetle hits cinemas on 18th August 2023.

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