The Chicago Journal

Blue Beetle stands as DC’s lone positive film in 2023

Blue Beetle — So far in 2023, the audience has witnessed a run of superhero film blockbusters and disappointments. While Marvel’s Ant-Man sequel film and Secret Invasion series were largely disappointing. However, the most recent Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse episodes were significant attractions.

Meanwhile, DC Studios has yet to achieve equivalent success. Shazam: Fury of the Gods and The Flash have been unimpressive, falling short of the expectations set by its predecessors. Blue Beetle’s debut, on the other hand, may be prophetic, with rave reviews flooding in.

Read also: Theaters witness renewed interest in 2023 with Barbenheimer success

Good news for DC Studios

As previously mentioned, DC Studios has had a disappointing year, with Shazam: The Fury of the Gods mostly forgotten. The reviews that have come out have been harsh, attesting to DC’s failure to sell the film.

The Flash had the potential to be a huge smash, but years of production troubles, as well as personal disputes surrounding lead actor Ezra Miller, have prompted calls to boycott the Scarlet Speedster’s solo feature debut. Many individuals have also raised concerns about the use of CGI and the frequent cast changes.

The Blue Beetle crew may have remained silent in the run-up to the premiere due to the timing of the Hollywood strikes, but the feedback has been favorable thus far. In fact, of DC’s big-screen movies in 2023, Blue Beetle has the greatest Rotten Tomatoes rating.

Reviews for the film

The latest DC film is best described as “entertaining,” with many complimenting the Cobra Kai star’s portrayal as “fresh.” Some of Blue Beetle’s positive reviews are highlighted below.

Armchair Auteur: “It’s a miracle that this film survived the leap from ‘throwaway streaming vehicle’ to ‘bonafide blockbuster release.’”

But Why Though?: “Blue Beetle is a film that earns a… grito. As a story, it knows who Jaime is and leans into the character beyond his suit and powers… While some characters have just become a mantle you can change from one person to the next, Jaime Reyes is Blue Beetle.”

Digital Spy: “There is a future for Cobra Kai star Xolo Maridueña’s DC superhero, and fortunately, the entertaining Blue Beetle leaves you wanting to see more – even if it can’t help suffering from familiar superhero issues.”

Guardian: “There’s a perkiness that’s hard to resist and a base-level competency that’s hard not to appreciate, a small beam of light in an otherwise dark time for superheroes.”

Punch Drunk Critics: “Quite simply the best DC movie in years, and should be the blueprint for James Gunn as he moves forward with the new DCU.”

The Independent: “Blue Beetle is broad and endearingly kid-friendly in its humor. It is also precise in its homages to Mexican culture.”

TheWrap: “A self-contained and smartly crafted film that ranks among the DCEU’s very best. Even though, admittedly, that doesn’t say nearly as much as it ought to.”

Total Film: “Stand down the undertaker: this spirited outlier shows there’s life in the old DCEU yet. Over to you, Aquaman 2.”

However, not everyone was delighted with the latest DC film, with some saying Blue Beetle simply maintained the history of underwhelming DC films.

Telegraph: “The emotional beats are strenuous yawns, the crashing lack of novelty disguised desperately, but not well. It’s dim, and it’s dull.”

Uproxx: “It’s the kind of thing we’ve all seen way too many times before and felt extra disappointing here because there’s a lot in this movie that does feel unique, but then it feels squandered.”

What is the film about?

Blue Beetle’s debut in the theaters is more than another attempt by DC to counter Marvel’s once-unmovable box office dominance. It has been marketed as both an origin tale for Xolo Mariduea’s Jaime Reyes and a new chapter for James Gunn and Peter Safran’s new DC Universe.

Younger audiences are introduced to DC’s first prominent Latino superhero on the big screen in this action-packed film. The Cobra Kai actor portrays a budding hero who comes face to face with an all-powerful alien Scarab that attaches itself to him, choosing Jaime Reyes as its new host.

Blue Beetle is marketed as a family-friendly comedy, distinguishing it from the last batch of DC films that turned out to be box office flops. Although it takes itself apart from the old, afflicted DC universe, the film establishes that its universe is already home to superheroes such as Superman, Batman, and the Flash.

Blue Beetle’s score

Blue Beetle has received an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes taken from 109 reviews, a massive improvement from Shazam: The Fury of the Gods’ 49% and The Flash’s 64%.

When compared to last year’s batch of DC films, it’s a long way from Black Adam’s 39%. However, it is somewhat lower than The Suicide Squad’s impressive 90% critics rating.

DC Studios finally has plans revealed

DC Studios: Ever since James Gunn and Peter Safran became the new senior executives of DC Studios, they have been preparing to push DC in a new direction.

They recently presented a new lineup of movies and TV series, which includes a few projects.

Superman is anticipated to resume flight in 2025, while Themyscira, Wonder Woman’s home island, is projected to have conflict comparable to that of Game of Thrones.

Damian Wayne will also make his long-awaited debut in a Batman film.


Since taking over DC Studios three months ago, Gunn and Safran have been very active combining the film, television, animation, and gaming sectors of DC IP.

To create a story that would unite the DC Universe, they started from zero, broke ties with subsequent projects and creators, and set up a writers’ room.

One of the supposed plans is marketed as the beginning of their ultimate objective.

The outcome was Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters, which gave rise to other projects.

What the DC executives really revealed on February 1 was a combination of staple heroes and lesser-known characters.

“One of our strategies is to take our diamond characters – which is Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman – and we use them to prop up other characters that people don’t know,” said Gunn.

“To build those lesser-known properties into the diamond properties of tomorrow,” added Safran.

They did, nonetheless, also publish a warning that the proposed Chapter 1 plan may be revised.


The most recent proposal for the new DC universe, which was developed by the group of writers that included James Gunn’s friends and other writers he admired, includes:

  • Drew Goddard (The Martian)
  • Christina Hodson (The Flash)
  • Jeremy Slater (Moon Knight)
  • Christal Henry (Watchmen)
  • Tom King (Batman)

Before the group’s efforts can be realized, four DC movies are also slated to be released this year, including:

  • Shazam! Fury of the Gods (March 17)
  • The Flash (June 16)
  • Blue Beetle (August 18)
  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (December 25)

The four films received the former leader Walter Hamada’s endorsement.

According to James Gunn, the four leading actors could eventually return to their roles in subsequent DCU projects.

“There is nothing that prohibits that from happening,” he said.

Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters

The following is a list of the first wave of movies DC will make.

Creature Commandos

James Gunn wrote the script for the seven-episode animated series Creature Commandos, which is now in production.

Although the voice actors have not yet been selected, they will most likely portray the live-action equivalents in later films and television programs.


Viola Davis will return to the screen in the acclaimed Peacemaker spinoff series as the ruthless titular character.

Christal Henry and Jeremy Carver, the creator of Doom Patrol, will pen the show’s screenplays.

Superman: Legacy

Another James Gunn-written picture, The Superman movie, will introduce the brand-new DC Universe.

“It’s not an origin story,” Safran assured. “It focuses on Superman balancing his Kryptonian heritage with hsi human upbringing.”

“He is the embodiment of truth, justice, and the American way. He is kindness in a world that thinks that kindness is old-fashioned.

Superman: Legacy will be made available to the general public on July 11, 2025.

Read also: Matt Reeves to hold talks with Gunn and Safran


Greg Berlanti’s creation of the Green Lanterns TV series will be replaced with Lanterns, a fresh vision of the interplanetary organization.

“Our vision for this is very much in the vein of True Detective,” described Safran. “It’s terrestrial-based.”

Lanterns, one of the most prominent television programs currently in development, will feature a number of notable characters, including Hal Jordan and John Stewart.

“This plays a really big role in leading into the main story we are telling across film and TV.”

The Authority

A band of superheroes who take extreme measures to protect the planet will be the focus of the movie’s narrative, which will be similar to that of Guardians of the Galaxy.

“One of the few things of the DCU is that it’s not just a story of heroes and villains,” said Gunn.

“Not every film and TV show is going to be about good guy versus bad guy, giant things from the sky come, and good guy wins.”

“There are white hats, black hats, and gray hats.”

“They are kinda like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men,” said Safran. “They know that you want them on the wall. Or at least, they believe that.”

Paradise Lost

The Wonder Woman movies are set several years before the Themyscira-based television series.

According to Gunn and Safran, Paradise Lost is a Game of Thrones-style political intrigue drama.

The Brave and the Bold

The Grant Morrison Batman series, which made Damian Wayne famous, was used as a template for the movie.

“This is the introduction of the DCU Batman, of Bruce Wayne,” said Gunn.

“[It] also introduces our favorite Robin, Damian Wayne, who is a little son of a bitch.”

“It’s a very strange father-and-son story.”

The Batman Part II

On October 3, 2025, the Matt Reeves film, which is based on the Elseworld storylines, will be released.

Robert Pattinson will embody the Dark Knight of Gotham City in the sequel.

Booster Gold

The HBO Max series will center on the lesser-known hero from the future.

“It’s about a loser from the future who uses basic future technology to come back to today and pretend to be a superhero,” they described.

Booster Gold was referred to by James Gunn as “imposter syndrome as a superhero.”

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow

Supergirl makes her first appearance since Helen Slater in 1984 movie.

“We will see the difference between Superman, who was sent to earth and raised by loving parents from the time he was an infant, versus Supergirl, raised on a rock, a chip off of Krypton, and who watched everyone around her die and be killed in terrible ways for the first 14 years of her life and then come to earth,” the DC Studios heads said.

“She is much more hardcore, and not the Supergirl we’re used to.”

Swamp Thing

The horror film that ends DC Studios’ debut—not to be confused with the television series—will be Swamp Thing.

DC Studios finds not one but two Co-Chairs and CEOs in James Gunn and Peter Safran

DC Studios officially names James Gunn and Peter Safran as new CEOs and Co-Chairmen after looking for Walter Hamada’s replacement.

DC Studios

The announcement means Gunn and Safran are the new leaders overseeing all future DC production.

Their additional responsibilities include creating a 10-year roadmap for DC projects across film, television, and animation.

Gunn and Safran will ensure that every upcoming project falls under the same banner.

DC Extended Universe

The Batgirl movie was canceled in August while it was in post-production.

The decision came from the renewal of Warner Bros. Discovery for their essential IPs following the company merging.

The merger was the reason Walter Hamada stepped down as DC Films president.

James Gunn and Peter Safran’s new roles fill the void Hamada left.

Read also: Henry Cavill is still Superman, confirms return on Instagram

James Gunn

Gunn moved from Marvel to DC and handled The Suicide Squad, earning critical acclaim and praise.

The film’s success led to the equally successful Peacemaker series on HBO Max.

Both projects achieved milestones that gave Peacemaker approval for a second season.

A spin-off series is also in development.

It revolves around Amanda Waller, with Viola Davis returning for the role.

James Gunn’s new role at DC Studios means he will oversee DC Films and pave the way for a more cohesive cinematic universe.

Peter Safran

Safran has been producing DC projects for several years now.

Two of his most significant contributions are Aquaman and Shazam!

Their success came at the box office as DC sought to distance itself from the Snyderverse.

Peter Safran produced The Suicide Squad and served as executive producer on Gunn’s Peacemaker series.

He is currently producing new projects like Shazam! Fury of the Gods, Blue Beetle, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

Read also: DC drops final trailer for Black Adam, more of Justice Society shown

Gunn and Safran’s roles in DC Studios

Gunn and Safran will report directly to the president and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav.

The two will also work closely with Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy, co-presidents and CEOs of Warner Bros. MovieGroup.

Zaslav looks forward to working with the duo and says:

“DC has among the most entertaining, powerful, and iconic characters in the world.”

“I am thrilled to have the singular and complementary talents of James and Peter joining our world-class team and overseeing the creative direction of the storied DC Universe.”

Zaslav praised their experience, deep ties to creative communities, and track record with fans.

He says their achievements helped them get their new positions.


James Gunn & Peter Safran named heads of DC Studios