Arts & Media

We Are So Back: Blue Beetle’s Revival of 2000s Shitty Superhero Movies

Carah Allen ’26

Contains spoilers for Blue Beetle.

Oh yeah, we’re back, baby. Amid superhero fatigue, Blue Beetle shakes the world awake much like the cardiac-arrest-inducing lattes from the Motley and gives us what we’ve oh so desperately been missing — shitty 2000s-reminiscent superhero movies.

Gone are the days of 20-year lore, dreary color-grading, and seemingly homoerotic tension between Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, and welcomed are the days of good, old-aged, silly movies! Angel Manuel Soto’s Blue Beetle brings back the lovable nature of superhero movies with a perfect combination of lovable and relatable characters, questionable acting, boring love interests, and a movable plot.

With Marvel and DC attempting to get the next big money hit at the box office, the name of superhero movies has been lost for the better part of a decade. In recent superhero movie releases, it seems corporations have preferred quantity over quality. Most Marvel and DC movies haven’t reached over 80% on Rotten Tomatoes in the past couple of years, with some movies (ahem — Dr. Strange: Multiverse of Madness (2022)) even reaching as low as 38%.

I’ve been a superhero movie lover since the age of eight when my dad took me to watch Avengers (2012) at a drive-in theater in the middle of country bumpkin Texas. Over the last decade, I’ve witnessed the really high highs of superhero movies but also the really low lows the past couple of years have brought.

In my own opinion, DC Extended Universe movies have never been the most promising. Justice League (2016) was a disgrace to humanity and movie creators worldwide, Batman v Superman (2016) was a snoozefest, and Suicide Squad (2016) was a bit bland. Even with James Gunn and Peter Safran taking over DC Studios, I still didn’t have much faith in the studio to give DC the big push they needed.

My worries were strengthened even more with the release of The Flash (2023) and the mess of a rollout that movie presented. Going into Blue Beetle, it’s safe to say I was scared and had severely low expectations.

The trailers looked great and the main actor, Xolo Maridueña, is gorgeous. But a pretty face can only go so far in movie-making. With my apprehension towards the quality of the movie, you can imagine my shock when I was the loudest one laughing in the theater and even caught a few tears rolling down my cheek.

Blue Beetle was a refreshing take on superhero movies. Instead of the rich, white playboy or the loser white man we see in most superhero movies, Blue Beetle focuses on Mexican-American Jaimes Reyes — a recent college graduate (first of his family) and his venture back home to Palmera City. One of the movie’s most moving storylines centers on the effects of gentrification on low-income Latinx families — a surprising and rare-to-find plotline within superhero movies.

The emotions in Blue Beetle are amplified by how lovable each character is. The Reyes family is incredibly tight-knit, and their love for each other radiates to the audience with the chemistry between each family member. The sister-brother dynamic between Jaimes and Milagro is your typical sibling relationship, with playful bantering covering copious amounts of unspoken love and care.

Everyone in the Reyes family is a core member, and with one member not present, the audience can physically and emotionally feel their absence. This is exemplified by how heartwrenching the death of the father was. I’m not usually one to cry during movies, but the loss of Alberto Reyes broke my heart to the point a few sniffles and multiple tears were shed. The grief presented by all of the family members was intense and felt unbelievably real.

Blue Beetle also brings back the comedic tone of superhero movies that has been missing. Some of the jokes are knee-slapping and tear-jerking good that had me cackling like a hyena. Jaimes’s first transformation into the Blue Beetle is possibly in my top 10 of the funniest scenes in a superhero movie. George Lopez also adds a ridiculous amount of charm to each scene that is absolutely undeniable.

The constant back-and-forth between characters generates hilarious conversation and even better one-liners. Other jokes and scenes in the movie are a bit more cringe-y, but they’re enough to make you let out a little giggle behind your hand rather than a cringe that has you retract in your seat out of pure shame and second-hand embarrassment.

The movie falls short with the love interest (as most superhero movies do). Brazilian model and actress Bruna Marquezine plays Jennifer Kord, Jaimes’s love interest and the deuteragonist of the movie. Compared to her counterparts, Marquezine’s acting isn’t strong, and to be frank, it seems she graduated from the Gal Gadot School of Acting.

Her chemistry with the Reyes family is weak, and the audience isn’t able to feel as strong of a connection to her as they do with the family. Specifically, the romance between Jennifer and Jaimes is flat, with no real buildup or tension throughout the movie. The end kiss between the two felt so off-putting I had to look away at one point. However, even if Jennifer and Jamies aren’t Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone levels of sexual tension that have you rearranging your Pinterest mood boards at midnight, the on-screen awkwardness between the characters adds to the cringe-worthy comfortableness of the movie.

With the change in figureheads at DC, I was more than skeptical about the state of the corporation. But James Gunn and Angel Soto, I have to apologize. It seems I was unfamiliar with your game.

At the end of the movie, I was thoroughly pleased with the results of Blue Beetle. The lovable nature of the Reyes family, in addition to the perfect mix of genuinely hilarious jokes and some more cringier moments, is enough to oversee the flatness of Jennifer Kord’s character and her romance with Jaimes. Blue Beetle successfully brought back fun to the movie theater – a feeling I haven’t experienced with superhero movies since the release of Deadpool (2016) and the original Spider-Man movies. From the bottom of my heart, I recommend everyone to give Blue Beetle a watch and enjoy the sheer fun you have while watching.

Rating: 3.5/5

Image Source: Warner Bros.