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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

CineHawk review: Blue Beetle

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GRAPHIC: MINDY CHOI ’25 /THE HAWK

“Blue Beetle” is the familiar but fun tale of a young adult infused with otherworldly powers that make him the target of a powerful corporation set on weaponizing his unique gift. Directed by Ángel Manuel Soto from a screenplay by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, the superhero film stars Xolo Maridueña, Bruna Marquezine, Becky G, Adriana Barraza, Elpidia Carrillo, Damián Alcázar, George Lopez and Susan Sarandon. It is currently playing exclusively in theaters.

The story follows Jaime Reyes, played by Maridueña, a recent college graduate desperate to provide for his struggling family. A chance encounter with Jenny Kord, played by Marquezine, lands Jaime a job interview at Kord Industries. Instead of a job, however, he acquires an otherworldly artifact known as the scarab, voiced by Becky G, which transforms him into the latest DC Superhero, the Blue Beetle. When Kord’s villainous CEO Victoria, played by Sarandon, sends her forces to retrieve the scarab, Jaime must master his new abilities to protect his family and new friend.

Compared to the blandness and nostalgia-saturation of the last several DC installments, “Blue Beetle” manages to squeeze a lot of fun and heart out in its paint-by-numbers script. Dunnet-Alcocer’s screenplay comes across as a comic book origin checklist: evil corporations, super-soldier ambitions, exalting the power of family and, most face-palming of all, a supervillain with identical super-powers to the main hero. If there is a positive, the story is not catastrophically dependent on the wider lore of the DC Universe.

Thus, the burden of quality fell to the cast and crew. Maridueña is perfect for the role, as are the supporting performances of the Reyes family. Barraza, as Nana, is an astounding treat, both in her comedic and action beats. Lopez is as funny as ever but really shines in the more dramatic and emotionally tense segments of the film. As for Soto, it would be incorrect to say he reinvents the wheel, but his direction more than delivers in providing the kind of stylistic, fast-paced action that superhero fans will expect.

Ultimately, “Blue Beetle” may play it just a little too safe, but it is nonetheless a solid superhero offering.

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