There was a time for superhero origin stories. A moment where every studio wanted to bombard us with hero after hero before merging them all into one giant word-saving blob.  A time where we genuinely were intrigued to see power began where: a spider-bite, a radiation disaster, or a trust fund – usually.

That time was almost twenty years ago.

Now that time is over. The story seems to have exhausted all of its configurations. We know the patterns, we know the rhymes, and we are most certainly fatigued.

It’s a shame because a film that is as buzzy as Blue Beetle deserved its heyday, but sadly now it feels too dated.

Directed by Angel Manuel Soto, Blue Beetle revolves around Jaime Reyes, a young graduate who has returned home to Palmera City only to discover his family are in dire financial straits. After losing his job cleaning Kord Industries CEO Victoria Kord’s home, Victoria’s niece Jenny offers Jaime a job. After appearing at the offices for Kord industries, Jaime unwilling takes home an ancient artifact known as the Scarab. When the blue beetle shaped thing attaches itself to Jaime, he becomes an unexpected superhero, but the new powers come with a hefty price.

Blue Beetle has a lot of good moments in it. Xolo Maridueña’s performance as Jaime is genuinely delightful to watch. He could give Tom Holland a run at playing a character who is sucked into the crime-fighting world, rather then seeking it out. As he learns the ropes of the scarabs and his new gifts, it feels like we are authentically watching some poor dope try to figure out these ancient cosmic powers, rather than having sudden incredible skills at working these new skin suit. Maridueña is endearing to watch.

And by extension, so is the Reyes family. The pretty much only refreshing aspect of Blue Beetle is having the family onboard from the beginning. Too often we are shown superheroes trying to disguise their new abilities from their loved ones but here they not only know about the scarab, but they are also integral to helping Jaime figure it out AND at the humungous fight scene towards the end. From paranoid, weed smoking tech-nut Rudy, Jaime’s uncle (played by the exceptional George Lopez) to Adriana Baraza’s funny grandmother who hides a secret past, Team Reyes is a joy to watch. Enthused with heart, and the vibrant Latino culture, I could happily watch more of their antics.

This is where the film falters because every time the movie steers away from Reyes to match the origin story tropes beat for beat, the movie sags. From the emotional twists to the battle at the end, Blue Beetle is predictable and that casts this dark shadow over the entertainment. There’s also this very eighties throwback to equipment, songs, and even the title treatment which, again, feels repetitive It feels lazy and tired and tested.

Speaking of lazy, Susan Sarandon as the bitchy greedy CEO Victoria Kord is just so entirely lacklustre. She never feels like a big enough threat and, truthfully, how her story ends is also something you could tick off from a villain bingo card. She is much more interesting as the evil Queen Narissa in Enchanted.

There is a lot of heart in here and truthfully, I’d be interested in seeing where the character goes. If they can keep the family right at the centre here.