Blue Bettle

Directed by: Angel Manuel Soto

Written by: Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer

It’s no industry secret that DC Comics has struggled to reach the fan-frenzy Marvel has been able to achieve and capitalize on and over the last decade. For those familiar with the rival comic books, it’s slightly frustrating to see how the better character development and writing DC Comics were once known for still continue to fizzle out in the box-office in their film adaptations. Unfortunately, Blue Beetle has continued the lack-luster trend.

So, here come the spoilers.

Our lead Jamie Reyes (Xolo Mariduena), is returning home from university after earning a degree in pre-law. His sister, Milagro (Belissa Escobedo), helps him in his struggle to find a job by bringing him to work as a groundskeeper at Victoria Kord’s mansion. They’re both working to help out the family, as their father Alberto, (Damian Alcazar), recently lost his auto shop and whose home is under threat of being reprocessed by Kord Industry. The writers focus heavily on the have vs. the have-nots, painting Kord Industry as the imperialist power in the fictional city of Palmera. The Reyes family are type-casted as the disadvantaged minorities who can do everything right and still have their lives go wrong. They work hard, go to school, love each other deeply, start their own businesses, earn degrees, and yet are left struggling. On his first day on the job, Jamie intervenes between characters Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine) and her vicious aunt Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon). Victoria fires him, but Jenny swoops in with an offer for a job if he’ll meet with her the following day at Kord Headquarters.

If you stay awake long enough to see the following events that transpire, you find that Jamie eventually comes to possess the highly advanced blue scarab thanks to Jenny that lovely Aunt Victoria was planning to use to create a super-solider type army. The sequence ends with Jamie now clumsily being symbiotically linked to the blue scarab before we’re kicked off into yet another sequence of him now having to learn the ropes of his fancy new suit. I feel asleep somewhere here which to put things into perspective the last film I fell asleep in was The Arrival (1996) with Charlie Sheen due to boredom. Not only did I fall asleep once, but twice in this film. That should be the direct indicator of how this film will not do well with audiences.

The action scenes and attempted romance scenes didn’t really have enough “umph” to impress much, and the evil plans of Victoria seem to not quite reach the “world is ending” feeling most aim for when faced with truly dangerous villain. She does have an evil henchman Conrad, (Raoul Max Trujillo) who steps in a time or two to turn it up a notch. Yet Conrad ends up the redeeming anti-hero as his backstory was far more interesting than our protagonist. I simply don’t know what DC needs to do to attain the same status of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I think we need more intriguing protagonist stories and convincing villains that don’t always have to lose at the end of the film. Having an enduring villain is what I think is missing from the films that the original comics got right: Villains sometimes win. I think we need some changes, and perhaps switching up the typical script is the first place to start. Good movies start with better writing, and for Blue Beetle, it just wasn’t there this time.

With that, thanks for reading Writing Movie ‘WRONGS’.

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