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The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Cinema with Sam: ‘Blue Beetle’ hits all the right beats

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Xolo Maridueña stars as the titular character in DC’s “Blue Beetle” (2023). (Photo courtesy of IMDb)

After the box office failure of “The Flash” (2023) this summer, DC Studios needed a critical and financial success if it wanted to catch up with the likes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thankfully, “Blue Beetle” (2023) fulfills that need. Angel Manuel Soto’s energetic and lighthearted film brings all the laughs, action and emotion you want from a blockbuster.

Taking place in the fictional Palmera City, the film follows Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) as he encounters a piece of alien technology that completely changes his life, gives him special abilities and forces him to take action and protect his family.

The cast of the film is absolutely fantastic. “Blue Beetle” features the entire Reyes family as it juggles the problems Jaime is dealing with. All are standouts, including Jaime’s sister, played by Belissa Escobedo, his father, portrayed by Damián Alcázar and Jaime’s uncle, played by George Lopez, who contributes most of the jokes that appear throughout the film. Some other notable cast members in the movie include Susan Sarandon, Bruna Marquezine and Adriana Barraza. 

Soto and screenwriter Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer somehow take an obscure character from DC comics, only known to diehard fans, and make him as likable and heroic as other prominent DC characters. The score was composed by Bobby Krlic, who is better known by his stage name, The Haxan Cloak. For “Blue Beetle,” Krlic, who also composed the score for Ari Aster’s horror film “Midsommar” (2019), uses a mix of cyberpunk and techno music for the action-packed scenes, but when the emotional scenes take over, he goes into a more orchestral score.

Speaking of emotions, I did not expect to cry as much as I did during my viewing. Some scenes that speak to the film’s overall themes of family really tug on your heartstrings.

The only criticism I have with the film is that I did not enjoy the action sequences. Going into the movie, I heard that the action choreography and camera movement were excellent and I left massively underwhelmed. I could not follow most of the action that took place throughout the film. There were many quick cuts and shaky camera work.

Overall, however, I really enjoyed “Blue Beetle” and was genuinely surprised about how much I cared for this character walking out of the theater. I’m very excited to see Xolo Maridueña continue as Jaime Reyes in the DC universe and to see what James Gunn decides to do with Blue Beetle next.

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About the Contributor
Sam Cohen, Movie Columnist
Sam Cohen (he/him/his) is a junior majoring in Film and Media Studies. He won the Special Grand Jury Prize for his Comedy short film “The Gum Run” at the 2019 Montclair Film Festival Emerging Filmmakers Competition. Sam writes weekly reviews of recent TV Shows and Movies while occasionally reviewing older, forgotten classics. When not reviewing, discussing, or watching films, Sam is also a part of many extracurriculars on campus, including being a co-captain of the Ultimate Frisbee team, a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity, and an officer of the Film Society.

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