Blue Beetle (2023)
August 20, 2023 8:13 PM - Subscribe

Recent college grad Jaime Reyes returns home full of aspirations for his future, only to find that home is not quite as he left it. As he searches to find his purpose in the world, fate intervenes when Jaime unexpectedly finds himself in possession of an ancient relic of alien biotechnology: the Scarab.

Although the movie is officially part of the soon-to-be-defunct DC Extended Universe, the character will be part of the replacement franchise, the DC Universe. The film contains many references to other DC Comics/DCEU characters and things, including the previous two Blue Beetles. The cast includes Xolo Maridueña (Cobra Kai) as Jaime Reyes, Elpidia Carrillo (Predator) as his mother, George Lopez (George Lopez) as his uncle, Raoul Max Trujillo (Sicario) as Carapax, Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows) as a scientist, and Susan Sarandon (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) as the villain. Directed by Ángel Manuel Soto.
posted by Halloween Jack (8 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Lol…Susan Sarandon (The Rocky Horror Picture Show)

This reminds me of the day I was riding the bus past the Neptune theater in Seattle (before it went back to live shows) and the movie marquee read John Cleese and Madonna in “Die Another Day”.
posted by sevenless at 9:00 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]

My impression from the trailer is it may be really fun or kinda lame. Just can not tell, hope former.
posted by sammyo at 6:21 AM on August 21

I'd put it in the category of "mostly fun." A lot of the story beats will be very familiar to anyone who's seen most of the major superhero stuff in the last 15 years or so, but the supporting cast is quite good, and even if some of the character beats are likewise predictable (George Lopez's character is basically "what if conspiracy nut, but good"), a couple of characters get some surprising (and in one case quite funny) late-act developments. I could stand to see this BB in future movies.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:11 AM on August 21

That was a ton of fun! I liked having the whole family involved, the immigrant experience, and all the gadgets from earlier Blue Beetles. I loved the little LCD animation on the watch that opens the gates, you could really believe that came from a 1980s Blue Beetle.

Also it seems like DC is getting more progressive than the MCU. Blue Beetle has immigrant heroes and a baddie from the School of the Americas. Black Adam had an indigenous fightback against colonialists.

In the MCU in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier", "Ms Marvel", "Secret Invasion" and "Wandavision" the baddie is an immigrant whose trauma turned them into a villain.

Down with the imperialists!
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:16 AM on September 1 [1 favorite]

Also it seems like DC is getting more progressive than the MCU. Blue Beetle has immigrant heroes and a baddie from the School of the Americas. Black Adam had an indigenous fightback against colonialists.

I'd say that that's about half right. The main villain of Black Adam is from Kahndaq, although he's got connections with an international crime syndicate and Amanda Waller gets involved via the Justice Society. I'd say that a much better example is The Suicide Squad, in which the big bad is a direct result of American interference in Corto Maltese for decades, and the reason for the Squad being there in the first place isn't to stop Starro, but to cover up American involvement.

In the MCU in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier", "Ms Marvel", "Secret Invasion" and "Wandavision" the baddie is an immigrant whose trauma turned them into a villain.

Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnot really, that's oversimplifying in just about every case:

- TFatWS: The Flag Smashers share villain duties with US Agent (the new Captain America until he flat-out murders a guy while dozens of people put it out on social media) and the Power Broker (former SHIELD and CIA agent who is still basically a villain at the season's end); also Zemo, although he also works for the quote-endquote good guys. There are also the medical experiments performed on African-Americans to try to recreate the super soldier formula. In fact, the whole point of the series seems to be that the roles "heroes" and "villains" are largely interchangeable over time and changing circumstances, except for Sam, which is why he ultimately deserves and gets the shield.

- Ms. Marvel: Is the child of immigrants (the actress, Iman Vellani, was herself born in Pakistan and emigrated to Canada), and the "baddie", Najma, ultimately seems less harmful than the Department of Damage Control, which (probably intentionally ironically) actually does a lot of damage in Jersey City; I suspect that, with this and their role in She-Hulk and the last Spider-Man movie, they're being set up as the MCU's resident villain group with badges.

- Secret Invasion: No real argument there, although I'd note that the season/series ends with the President of the United States issuing what amounts to a kill order for the Skrulls and the remaining Super-Skrull now working for British intelligence.

- WandaVision: yes, Wanda ended up breaking very bad, although that was largely the fault of SWORD (pretty much an American agency) and Agatha Harkness, who's so American that she predates the United States.

So... yeah.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:08 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]

I liked the developments for Nana.

Seeing the Bug Ship climb the wall, like a giant robot spider, made me check if Jon Peters was involved. He was obsessed with getting giant spiders in movies - he wanted a giant spider in a (cancelled) Superman movie, in a (cancelled) adaptation of Sandman, and there was one in Wild Wild West.
posted by Pronoiac at 7:38 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]

I thought this was pretty enjoyable, if pretty predictable to anyone who's seen a superhero movie in the last twenty years. It's funny: we were just talking about the absence of sex from modern film in a post on the Blue, and I feel like it says something that Jaime and Jenny -- young, conventionally hot people we're supposed to believe are into each other -- generate no sparks at all, but Victoria and Carapax smoulder, and are, I'm sorry, definitely fucking. Per Wikipedia, he is 68; she is, somehow, 77. Talk about a four-quadrant movie!

I'm as excited for James Gunn to take over the DCU as I can be, having little confidence that David Zaslav won't suddenly pull the plug to increase shareholder value, and I'm hoping this iteration of Blue Beetle crosses over. I liked it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:14 AM on November 28

Fun, with some really good character actors, but also extremely generic. It's an enjoyable iteration of the superhero formula, but it doesn't do anything new or exciting and seems to actively avoid going outside the box. There are slight hints of the body horror involved in the Blue Beetle transformation, and some extremely tenuous wisps of anti-capitalist rhetoric but the film moves on from both quickly and turns into a generic punch-em-up. I feel like it could have had 30 minutes trimmed and been better for it.
posted by riotnrrd at 10:40 AM on December 4

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