Sunday 20 August 2023

REVIEW: Blue Beetle (2023) - Starring Xolo Maridueña

Review by Jon Donnis
The film endeavours to soar with its impressive visual effects, seamlessly bringing to life the formidable armoured suit of the titular character. These visual spectacles, coupled with a competent soundtrack, contribute to an initial promise of an engaging cinematic experience.

However, beneath the surface lies a narrative riddled with discord. While the visual effects may shine, the choreography of action sequences often defaults to predictable CGI-laden skirmishes that lack the ingenuity necessary to truly captivate the audience.

A major stumbling block lies in the overt socio-political agenda that permeates the story, rendering it a veritable soapbox for "woke" messaging. The film's attempt to grapple with social issues and incorporate these themes into the characters' motivations often comes across as contrived and heavy-handed, overshadowing the underlying narrative.

Moreover, the film struggles with character depth and nuance. Almost every non-white character is depicted through the lens of victimhood, which curtails the opportunity for genuine character growth and complexity. Regrettably, this decision leads to a shallowness that hampers the film's emotional resonance.

A particularly concerning aspect is the depiction of white characters, who are uniformly painted as racist and intellectually deficient. This blanket portrayal perpetuates negative stereotypes and does a disservice to the potential for multi-dimensional characters that reflect a more diverse reality.

Adding to the film's challenges is its unwarranted protracted length, surpassing the two-hour mark. The narrative meanders through extended sequences that could have benefited from judicious editing, leaving the audience feeling fatigued and disconnected. In other words you will be checking your phone as you wait for the film to get to the point.

Turning to the plot itself, "Blue Beetle" follows the journey of Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña), a recent college graduate, who unexpectedly acquires superpowers through an alien scarab that fuses to his body, granting him an armoured exoskeleton. This newfound power becomes both a blessing and a curse as Jaime navigates a complex web of personal struggles, family dynamics, and a world-threatening crisis. Amidst the chaos, he forms a deep bond with Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine), the daughter of the previous Blue Beetle, who aids him in unravelling the mysteries behind the scarab's origins and purpose.

The Good
Great visual effects
Decent soundtrack

The Bad
Film feels like it was written by a woke left wing artificial intelligence.
Generic CGI fight scenes.
Every non-white character uses victimhood as part of their character.
White people are depicted as racist and stupid.
Over 2 hours long, way too long.

Blue Beetle attempts to soar but is hampered by the "woke mind virus". While commendable in its visual prowess and auditory accompaniment, the film is weighed down by its overt political agenda, lacklustre action sequences, one-dimensional characterizations, and unnecessarily extended runtime. The narrative potential remains untapped, warranting a rating of 4 out of 10 as a reflection of the missed opportunities to craft a more well-rounded and captivating superhero tale.

Out now in cinemas, but perhaps one to wait for until it hits digital at