by Alexis Penalver
Of all the DC movies to have been released this year, it may come as a surprise to learn that Blue Beetle has racked in the highest score from the critics at Rotten Tomatoes.
Xolo Maridueña's Jaime Reyes is a recent college graduate who comes into contact with a piece of alien technology known as the Scarab. The Scarab is an artificially intelligent weapon that chooses Jaime as a host, bestowing upon him unbelievable power, strength, and protection. Jaime is now faced with the obstacle of protecting not only himself but those around him, from the power-lusted Victoria Kord, who wants the scarab to herself in order to weaponize it. Victoria, stopping at nothing to retrieve the Scarab, sends a biologically enhanced soldier, Conrad Carapx, after Jaime and those he loves.
Despite this film's high rating on Rotten Tomatoes, here are some reasons why many fans thought it fell short.
The seemingly primary criticism of the film is its genericness. It is no secret that the market for superhero movies has become increasingly saturated, leaving many fans feeling like every movie is held up by the same skeleton. In Blue Beetle, this looks like the story arc of Jaime Reyes learning about his purpose to be a hero. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with this arc, and in fact can make for great movies, it's just nothing new. So many hero films such as Spider-Man (the first of the trilogy), Batman Begins, Man of Steel, and more all embody this archetype of a man assuming his responsibility as a hero.
Another common criticism brings the film's antagonists into the conversation. The villains of the movie, Victoria Kord and Conrad Carapax, just do not have enough depth in order to draw the audience deeper into the plot. Kord's depiction as a power-hungry tyrant who will stop at nothing to acquire the Scarab is quite frankly shallow. There are no events in her backstory that are significant enough to invite the audience to sympathize with her, or at the very least, understand what motivates her behavior (aside from basic jealousy). On the other hand, Carapax does have a deeper backstory that engenders more sympathy than Kord's. However, that all seems to be wasted given the fact that Carapax essentially serves the role of Kord's pawn and only builds a sense of individuality at the film's conclusion.
Regardless of Blue Beetle's flaws, there is still so much that the film got right, and it is definitely not the DCEU's biggest failure.
All in all, fans of Blue Beetle should not be too disappointed, but instead focus on the upsides, like the well-executed action scenes, costume design, and positive underlying messages.
Hopefully, fans will get to see an improvement on these flaws in a possible Blue Beetle 2.