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Blue Beetle (IMAX in some cinemas)


Stars: Xolo Mariduena, Bruna Marquezine, Susan Sarandon, George Lopez, Elpidia Carrillo, Belissa Escobedo, Raoul Max Trujillo, Damian Alcazar, Adriana Barraza

Director: Angel Manuel Soto

Another superhero makes their bow but, although it disintegrates into the usual slam-bang action by the end, this one is often quite fun; and it offers something a little different in the shape of the Reyes family, a closely-knit Mexican clan who live in run-down Edge Keys, gazing across the river at Palmira City, a swish new urban development run by the Kord Corporation, whose boss (Sarandon) is secretly developing a 'one-man army' which, of course, she plans to expand into a multi-man, invincible horde.

The action begins as the Reyes family prepares to welcome home son Jaime (Mariduena) - pronounced Hymie - as the first in the clan to graduate from university. Despite his degree, Jaime finds it hard to find work, and he and his sister (Escobedo) end up in menial jobs at the Kord HQ.

A chance association with Jenny Kord (Marquezine), who hates what her aunt is doing, leads to her passing to him the blue scarab which she has just stolen. Ignoring her instruction not to open its box, let alone touch the scarab, the Reyes find their son rapidly transformed into the Blue Beetle, with wings, antenna and all the usual superpowers.

'It can't be activated by just any person,' Jenny tells a shellshocked Jaime. 'It has to choose you.'

All of the family turn out to have talents of their own, which leads to Nana (Barraza) wielding a massive space gun as they take on Kord and her chief henchman (Trujillo), who have kidnapped Jaime, in a final showdown.

Veteran Sarandon relishes her role as a super-villain, especially with such time-honoured lines as 'The power of the scarab will be ours!' Otherwise the acting is pretty standard. Though a sequel seems pointless, a scene at the end of the main credits promises us that one is on the cards.

David Quinlan

USA 2023. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Colour by Fotokem.
126 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 16 Aug 2023