Blue Beetle

Certificate: 12A

Starring: Xolo Maridueña, Bruna Marquezine, Susan Sarandon, George Lopez, Adriana Barraza

Release date: 2023

3 out of 5


After two disappointing efforts in the first half of 2023 – The Flash and Shazam! Fury Of The Gods – DC Comics demonstrates that third time is the charm with the enjoyable comic book movie Blue Beetle.

It’s an origin story, of course, but don’t let that put you off – how young college graduate Jaime Reyes (Maridueña) becomes the Blue Beetle is dealt with pretty swiftly (he ends up in possession of a scarab that attaches itself to him and gives him powers such as flight and super strength).

He’s been handed it by Jenny Kord (Marquezine), who is trying to keep it out of the hands of her businesswoman aunt Victoria (a surprisingly lukewarm Sarandon) – quite understandable when you realise Victoria is only interested in the money and position the mysterious scarab can bring her and her company.

To be honest, her motives aren’t very original, and neither are Blue Beetle’s powers or how he acquires them (there are quite a few similarities with Marvel’s Spider-Man story), but it’s neither of those elements that make this adventure worth a watch.

With the exception of Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse, most superheroes don’t have much in the way of family or family life that is depicted on screen (and their identity is usually a secret from any relatives they do have), but Jaime has the entire Reyes family watching his back. They are there from the moment he transforms, and also get to join him on his adventure as Victoria attempts to gain possession of the scarab by any means possible.

This leads to some terrific family scenes and fun moments featuring George Lopez as Jaime’s uncle, Belissa Escobedo as Jaime’s straight talking sister and, best of all, Adriana Barraza as his scene-stealing Nana, all of whom get their own ass-kicking moments and witty dialogue, and make a believable group of bickering but beloved relatives for our hero.

Maridueña, meanwhile, makes for a watchable and likeable Jaime. And while his journey from regular guy to superhero doesn’t break any new storytelling ground, he and his lively, lovely family give this comic book movie more heart and joy than the last few DC efforts combined.

Is Blue Beetle suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

While this is a comic book movie aimed at older kids and adults, parents of younger children should note that under-10s may not enjoy the scene in which Jaime transforms as it could almost be described as body horror (the scarab emerges from his skin).

Victoria Kord has a henchman who is violent and dark, and may frighten younger viewers.

There is a scene in which armed men storm a house, capturing a family, and also a flashback scene in which a boy sees his mother killed in an explosion that may disturb the under-10s.

There is a brief moment in which it is inferred that a character is aroused, but younger children won’t notice it as it is a vague reference.

One main character is killed which may upset sensitive viewers.

If you like this, why not try: