- Blue Beetle is the best-rated live-action comic book movie of 2023 so far, tied with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on Rotten Tomatoes with an 81 percent score.
- While Blue Beetle’s score is impressive, there are two animated comic book movies with higher scores on Rotten Tomatoes, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (95 percent) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (97 percent).
- Blue Beetle’s 81 percent score ranks fourth among DCEU movies, with Wonder Woman, The Suicide Squad, and Shazam! taking the top three spots, showcasing an upward trend for the DC movie universe.
Blue Beetle is getting great reviews, giving it a Fresh Rotten Tomatoes score, but how does it measure up against other recent DC movies? The DC movie universe is in a state of flux, rebooting some elements and keeping others under James Gunn’s new 10-year plan, but after years of struggles with consistent reviews, Blue Beetles’s Rotten Tomatoes score is an encouraging sign, whether or not it’s actually the first movie of the new DCU canon.
While the MCU saw its first decade of movies consistently earn Fresh Rotten Tomatoes scores without exception until the release of Eternals, the last decade of DC movies hasn’t had have the same luck. DC movies have a deep cinematic history with a number of the best-reviewed comic book movies of all time, such as Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, but a more controversial approach under the direction of Zack Snyder produced a string of polarizing critical reactions, including the famously back-to-back low scores of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad in 2016. So how does Blue Beetle‘s review score compare?
Blue Beetle’s Rotten Tomatoes Makes it the Best-Rated Live-Action Comic Book Movie in 2023 (So Far)
Blue Beetle is currently “Certified Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes with an 81 percent score, tied with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for the title of 2023’s best live-action comic book movie. The Flash 64 percent, Shazam! Fuy of the Gods 49 percent, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania 45 percent. Comic book movies tend to lose a few points from their Rotten Tomatoes scores after the first wave of reviews, and The Marvels and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom are still slated to release this year (although they could be delayed due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes), so it’s possible Blue Beetle loses this title before long.
Additionally, while 81 percent is enough to make Blue Beetle the top live-action comic book movie in 2023 on Rotten Tomatoes, there are two animated comic book movies with better scores. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse scored 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem scored 97 percent, giving them the top two 2023 comic book movies on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite earning better review scores than Blue Beetle, animation is significantly different than live-action, so their scores shouldn’t always be compared head-to-head as a measurement of quality.
Blue Beetle’s Rotten Tomatoes Score Ranks 4th Against DCEU Movies
Blue Beetle‘s place in DC movie canon is odd due to the timing of its arrival. James Gunn has specified that Xolo Maridueña’s Jaime Reyes will be the first hero of the new DCU canon, which is said to be a partial reboot of the existing DCEU, which itself was a partial reboot of the “Snyderverse,” so it may not exactly be a “DCEU movie,” but the prior DCEU movies still make a good point of comparison. That said, Blue Beetle‘s 81 percent score beats the DCEU’s pre-Blue Beetle 61 percent average Rotten Tomatoes score and would rank fourth out of 15 DCEU movies.
The highest-rated DCEU movie is still the original Wonder Woman at 93 percent, followed by The Suicide Squad at 91 percent and Shazam! at 90 percent. Fourth is Blue Beetle at 81 percent, fifth is Birds of Prey at 79 percent, sixth is Zack Snyder’s Justice League at 71 percent, seventh is Aquaman at 65 percent, eighth is The Flash at 64 percent, ninth is Wonder Woman 1984 at 59 percent, 10th is Man of Steel at 56 percent, 11th is Shazam! Fury of the Gods at 49 percent, 12th is Justice League at 39 percent, tied with Black Adam at 39 percent, 14th is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice at 29 percent, and 15th is Suicide Squad at 26 percent.
Blue Beetle’s Rotten Tomatoes Score Continues DC’s Upward Trend
After Suicide Squad‘s 26 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, the DCEU average hit its low point at 37 percent, but it’s steadily increased since then to 61 percent before Blue Beetle, with Blue Beetle‘s 81 percent bringing the overall average to 62 percent. Including the recent non-DCEU releases The Batman (86 percent) and Joker (68 percent) in the mix improves that average even more to 64 percent. While Blue Beetle‘s Rotten Tomatoes score could lose a few points, it would need to drop all the way to 72 percent to drop the DCEU average back to 61 percent, so the current 62 average is likely safe.
While the DCEU has had a few big hits on Rotten Tomatoes following its rocky start, the difference in its average score isn’t as stark as it may seem. The seven movies released before 2020 averaged 57 percent, while the eight movies released after 2020 averaged 66 percent. Including Joker (2019) and The Batman (2022) in the mix brings the average for the eight 2013-2019 DCEU movies to 58 percent and the nine 2020-2023 DC movies to 69 percent.
How Blue Beetle Compares to the MCU on Rotten Tomatoes
Much if the reason there’s so much scrutiny surrounding the Rotten Tomatoes scores for DC movies is thanks to the MCU’s long stretch of Fresh scores prior to The Eternals and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, so how does Blue Beetle compare to the MCU on Rotten Tomatoes? With an 81 percent score, Blue Beetle is exactly tied with the MCU’s 81 percent average through 31 movies. If it were an MCU movie it’d rank 19th overall right behind the original Ant-Man‘s 83 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and ahead of Captain America: The First Avenger‘s 80 percent. Despite the MCU’s previously strong track record, the six most recent MCU movies have only averaged 68 percent.
Of course, all reviews are subjective, and since Rotten Tomatoes reduces all critical reviews to a simple thumbs-up vs. thumbs-down ratio, it’s merely a measurement of general approval consensus and not an actual measurement of quality. That being said, since the last decade of DC movies have struggled to earn consistent praise from critics, Blue Beetle‘s 81 percent score is still a great sign and hopefully a glimpse of the kind of critical evaluation the brand will see in the coming years as James Gunn reveals the rest of his DCU movie slate.