Blue Beetle

Despite the filmmakers' best efforts to create a divisive snore-fest, the deeply flawed, Blue Beetle manages to entertain.
Xolo Maridueña, George Lopez, Susan Sarandon
Angel Manuel Soto
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Superhero
Release date
August 18, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Overview
Rating Summary
The Blue Beetle has always been a second-tier hero, which is fitting because everything about this film is second-tier. From the performers to the script to the effects (still better than The Flash), the entire film almost feels like an unintentional parody of an 80s action flick. Its busted logic and rampant inconsistency should be more than enough to ruin it, but Fast and Furious levels of family and a pleasant lead drag Blue Beetle across the finish line.

Blue Beetle emerged from Fox Comics during the Golden Age of comics in 1939. Initially powered by “Vitamin 2X,” the character was later revamped to draw strength from a “magical scarab.” In his penultimate rendition, his writers forsook superpowers to adopt a crime-fighting persona akin to Batman, relying on combat skills and technology. This brings us to 2011’s DC Comics’ nigh disastrous reboot, known as The New 52, and one of the only marginally likable characters to survive it, Jaime Reyes (aka The Blue Beetle)

Blue Beetle

Xolo Maridueña, who is best known for his role as Miguel Diaz in the Netflix series Cobra Kai, plays Jaime Reyes (pronounced HI-may – get it right, racist!), a recent college graduate who, upon returning home, discovers that his family (consisting of his mother, father, sister, grandmother, and an uncle with a head so big that he shall now be known as MODOKito) is in crisis. They are on the verge of being evicted from their home and have lost the family business.

George Lopez in Blue Beetle as MODOKito

When a stroke of good luck that lands Jaime an opportunity to work at Kord Industries quickly goes badly, Jaime finds himself inextricably merged with a piece of advanced alien tech that grants him powers far beyond those of mortal men. He will have to learn what it takes to be a hero to have any chance at defeating the evil head of Kord, who wants nothing more than to extract the tech from Jaime’s corpse and use it to create an army of super soldiers for sale to the highest bidder.

Deeply flawed, Blue Beetle has so much working against it that it has no right to be as entertaining as it is. It’s packed full of just north of mediocre actors, almost no character growth, clunky dialogue, an unimaginative and formulaic plot recycled from the 80s, more identity politics than an Al Sharpton news conference, and a dumb script written by someone whose only other full-length feature film writing credit is for the critical and box office disaster, Miss Bala.

Neither distractingly bad nor worthy of much praise, Xolo Maridueña’s Jaime has no identity or personality other than that of being a nice and well-mannered young man, and Maridueña’s performance is just as bland. He’s the cinematic equivalent of a fast-food burger; he has the form of a delicious burger, but he’s packed with soy and filler. Yet, even though his focus and commitment to the character occasionally falter, he manages to come across as a kind-hearted and sweet kid. It earns him a lot of goodwill, and that’s sort of the film’s special sauce.

Even when presented with a snarky and unpleasant sister, overplayed and underperformed by Belissa Escobedo, Jaime seems nice. When he’s confronted with rudeness and injustice, he seems nice. It’s hard not to root for him, and he’s helped by a family dynamic that should irritate you because it’s so overemphasized that even The Godfather thinks it’s a bit much. However, either through film magic or a genuine fondness felt by the cast for one another, there’s a compelling authenticity to their interactions, which carries the movie.

Many claim that a film is only as good as its villain, and if that axiom holds, Blue Beetle has no hope of pulling out of its opening weekend earnings nosedive. Carapax is so generic and uninteresting that, between his scenes, it’s easy to forget that he’s in the movie. Along those same lines, the talented Susan Sarandon turns in such a forgettable performance as the big bad CEO of Kord that one wonders if she owes back taxes. Not helped by screenwriter Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer’s inexperience, Sarandon, a powerhouse actress usually capable of making cereal ingredients sound compelling, phones it in via tin can and string.

Further complicating things is George Lopez. While a few years ago, he found himself in the middle of a feud in which he accused fellow comedian Carlos Mencia of stealing his jokes, in Blue Beetle, Lopez does his best to steal every scene. Unfortunately, 90% of the time, his paranoid Uncle Rudy schtick is more obnoxious than endearing. Not known for his acting chops, Lopez often seems to be doing a mediocre impersonation of a lovable goofball rather than internalizing his performance.

Again, with all of this going against it, Blue Beetle should deserve to be buried under the Warner Bros. back lot. Instead, by virtue of excellent pacing (for the second and third acts), effects that are at least better than The Flash microwave baby, and the aforementioned sincerity, Blue Beetle manages to eke out enough chuckles and smiles from the audience while delivering sufficient action to distract you for two hours. It might not be worth seeing in the theaters, but you could rent a lot worse.


It’s been so long since I’ve had a movie worthy of this section that I almost forgot that it’s something that we do.

  • Blue Beetle is nearly overstuffed with strong, loving, and  supportive family members, both men and women, who would and do put their lives on the line for one another. They are (for the most part) kind and caring, patient and understanding, as well as fierce and loyal. In a world where the word “representation” is bandied about to the point of meaninglesness, this (a healthy nuclear family) is the type of representation that we need in movies today.


For all that the movie preaches at the altar of identity politics, it promotes the importance of a loving and traditional family above all else. Further, the Catholic faith isn’t treated as a joke, and the existence of a meaningful afterlife is now DCU canon.

  • So much identity politics, like all of the identity politics.
    • The parents, grandmother, and uncle are illegal Mexican immigrants, and the movie ensures that you know it and that it’s America’s fault that they are here illegally.
      • Yet, despite their illegal status, they raised two children and sent one to college (the other didn’t want to go) while owning and operating a business of their own.
    • A crack about the government being well-practiced at caging Mexicans makes its way into the film.
    • There’s something so infuriating about listening to a middling comedian who came from nothing but has been able to amass a fortune of nearly $50 million with a tired “Chicanos be like” routine, spend two hours checking off every Left-wing talking point and bashing the country that fostered his success. George Lopez should be ashamed of himself.
  • Class politics are bludgeoned over the audience’s head almost as much as identity politics.
    • In one scene, in an effort to say “hello,” Jaime awkwardly interrupts a perfect stranger who is 60 feet away from him and in the middle of what is clearly an important business call. Instead of the film’s perspective being that there was no way that she could have even heard him, let alone how rude he was to interrupt, the stranger is portrayed as a self-absorbed rich white person (which she is, but that’s not the point). Jaime’s sister then dares to say, “We’re invisible to people like that.” Professional victim much?
  • The film is being marketed to kids, yet there is a lot of cussing in it, and not a single curse word feels organic. Who needs to protect the innocence of children when there’s money to be made?
      • “Crazy b!t@h.”
      • Countless “what the hells” and variations thereof.
  • The costumers dressed the Jenny Kord character in unattractive and mannish clothing throughout. However, it’s unclear if it was due to the film’s pervasive Miami Vice / 80s shoulder pad and blazer vibe or a woke attempt to eschew traditional femininity. Honestly, it could go either way.
  • There are so many cartoon instances of white people being racist.
  • First and foremost, every white person in the film is either evil or racist or a rich douché bag. Conversely, every Latino is either a superhero, a loving and charitable family member, a compassionate business leader, or a villain who experiences a redemptive change of heart.
  • There are numerous instances of white people mispronouncing Spanish names out of spite or ignorance.
    • No receptionist of a huge and posh company, regardless of how blonde her hair or blue her eyes, would continue to insult a registered guest of one of the board members intentionally by purposely and snarkily mispronouncing their name after she’d been politely corrected, especially if the board member’s last name was on the building.
    • I lived near central Mexico for a short time, and while I found the Mexican people to be mostly warm and well-meaning folk, they never got my name right once. Do you want to know what I did or said about it? Nothing, because I understood that we possessed very different accents and were raised with two wildly different languages.
  • There’s an instance in which Jaime stands up for a woman, and she says, “I appreciate the chivalry, but I can take care of myself.” Ok toots. If you can’t be gracious, next time, takes your lickins.
  • ***SPOILER ALERT*** Finally, because they’ve already established that a man saving a woman is problematic, the movie, in one of its more ridiculous yet heartwarming moments, sends four women with no combat skills and limited tech (with which they have minutes to familiarize themselves) to rescue a completely neutralized Jaime. Furthermore, the ladies in question consist of a 120lbs waif and three dumpy broads, one of which appears to be well into her 80s.***END SPOILERS***






James Carrick

James Carrick is a passionate film enthusiast with a degree in theater and philosophy. James approaches dramatic criticism from a philosophic foundation grounded in aesthetics and ethics, offering insight and analysis that reveals layers of cinematic narrative with a touch of irreverence and a dash of snark.


  • Em Zo

    August 21, 2023 at 11:19 am

    5 out of 5

    Lost all interest for this movie when I saw a preview for it in the theaters and one of the characters said “Batman is a fascist”



    • James Carrick

      August 21, 2023 at 12:14 pm

      Same. However, the character that says it is treated as a joke for much of the film, and that line is treated as being as ridiculous as it sounds rather than being treated like an actual commentary on Batman.


      • Em Zo

        August 21, 2023 at 12:29 pm

        Oh whew! At least they weren’t THAT delusional. Thank you


  • N. Tavares

    August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    5 out of 5

    It has some entertaining parts but in my opinion, this movie caters to the Latin X crowd. If you want to see a movie that is Pro-Mexican/anti-American, has mild racism toward whites, most wealthy people are evil, and mild support for communism then this movie is for you.

    I was really looking forward to this movie because I enjoyed the work of Xolo in Cobra Kai.



  • Pronouns soyjim

    August 21, 2023 at 5:32 pm

    5 out of 5

    Why is they/them called blue beatle? Why not black beatle? This film is racist and totally unwoke, I am so offended!

    Just kidding I’m not a libtard hahah. Fooled you


    • Bruely

      August 25, 2023 at 3:01 pm

      Not lantin “X”



  • Kurt

    August 22, 2023 at 9:10 am

    5 out of 5

    Thanks for your detailed descriptions of woke elements. While it is good that they didn’t mock their religious beliefs, I think you are being too easy on the film with a 55% non-wokeness score. That is a lot of identity politics to cram into one movie. Thanks again for your website.


  • Austin

    August 22, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    3 out of 5

    Score: 6-7
    This film wasn’t near as bad as I thought it might be. At least most of the woke outcries are contained within Uncle Rudy’s character, and the other characters don’t seem to be in agreement with him (they usually just ignore him or are like, “Come on, Rudy..”).

    Yes, all the white people are bad (the receptionist scene being the worse.. ugh!), but I was actually happy to see that a lot of Kord’s henchman were black; it’s nice to not have your skin color be the only one inhabited by villains lol!

    I thought Jaime’s father was absolutely precious. A warm, loving, hard-working man who is always optimistic and GRATEFUL!!! (An illegal immigrant character being grateful through hardships in a 2023 movie?! Is this real life?!)

    They did a really good job with the suit, IMO. It kinda reminded me of a Power Rangers costume. I love how you could tell they used it practically a lot and enhanced it with CGI. In fact, I thought the CGI was pretty great outside of the Flamingos. Were those a last-minute addition or something?

    I enjoyed the fight choreography, especially the hand-to-hand stuff! I thought it was choreographed well, and there were a low number of cuts.

    People who grew up in a Latino culture will be able to get more out of this film — there were a bunch of references I didn’t get. Thankfully, my wife is Brazilian, so she was able to fill me in on much of it!

    I do think Carapax got off easy at the end, and his retribution seemed way too easy.
    There was also one scene which bothered me. When they’re walking around in the Beetle mech, Rudy impales one of the guards, and everyone takes this as a joke. Jaime’s sister even shouts something like, “3,000 points!” Like, that’s a man who probably has a family, and y’all aren’t veterans of war (except grandma), so it just makes y’all seem like psychopaths. It also is out of sync with Jaime’s character, who is extremely against killing.


    • James Carrick

      August 22, 2023 at 3:13 pm

      Lol. I completely agree about the guard being impaled, and thought the same thing.

      ***SPOILER*** Not only did Carapax get off easy, but the “good guys” didn’t bat an eyelash at him straight up murdering an unarmed woman! She might have been evil but she was also defenseless. What happened to Jaime? He spent half of the movie overtly not killing armed people who were actively trying to kill him and his family, and now not a word. Not only that, but it took place one minue after Jaime stopped himself from killing Carapax and firmly establishing his boundaries and sense of mercy.


      • Austin

        August 22, 2023 at 5:42 pm

        Yeah, I totally agree. I thought the reason that Jaime told his family he would catch up was because he was going to stop Carapax from killing Kord. But instead he just sort of watches and then leaves. What was the point of that? Haha!


      • Robby

        September 4, 2023 at 4:18 am

        It’s that blasted superhero rule


  • bryan

    October 7, 2023 at 5:18 pm

    5 out of 5

    I have a question.. When Nana starts shooting and says something about “Imperialists” , just WHAT revolution did she fight in? (Consider that Victoria Cord at one point in the movie was selling Cord services to the anti-Communists )
    I’m wondering if Cubans in America should be royally pissed about this movie?


  • Mega-Matt

    October 26, 2023 at 11:37 am

    5 out of 5

    Hello James!

    I am new here and read all your articles how you pointed out some things.

    And I had with issues since Star Wars sequels crap and Netflix She Ra when all I had been forced to watch and wanted them to be non canon. Anyway when you pointed out how Jaime stood up for a woman that she blows him off that she can take care of herself as you said about how saving a woman is now seen as problematic but not for untrained women saving super powered man.

    The same how Finn goes to try to save Rey but get sabotage when Rey saves herself constantly. It makes me wake up and feel offended how it destroys a man’s pride in wanting to save someone and gets rejected and unappreciated.

    Also since you doing like cartoon articles can you do the He-Man CGI that was on Netflix. It was good and better than Kevin Smith version.


  • James

    October 26, 2023 at 9:33 pm

    4 out of 5

    It’s not really woke apart from the fact that there are few if any “good” white people in the movie (I believe a few come to help rebuild?) But really, that’s about it. It’s about family. Pro family is not woke.
    Not a pro commie movie. It’s not showing that they are satisfied with capitalism…nor are most non-woke people to be completely honest.
    It’s a good, decent movie. It should have shown better “white” and “Latino” relations; but otherwise, it was good and pretty fun.


  • Mike

    December 3, 2023 at 2:47 am

    Just watched and I thought it was funny that the only good white character is Jenny Kord, who is played by a Latin actress, so even though they had to have an insider from
    Kord steal the beetle, they couldn’t show a white person as a hero.


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