DC Showcase - Blue Beetle
Studio: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation
Home Media Release - Original Release: July 27, 2021, included with Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two
Home Media Release - Special Re-Release: May 3, 2022, included with DC Showcase - Constantine: The House of Mystery
Synopsis: Sufferin' Scarabs! Silver Age Blue Beetle is back! And had he ever starred in a 1960s Saturday-morning limited-animation cartoon with its own jazzy earworm of a theme song, it would have been just like this short! Welcome to the adventures of Ted Kord, alias the Blue Beetle, as he teams up with fellow Super Heroes Captain Atom, The Question and Nightshade to battle that nefarious finagler of feelings, Doctor Spectro. Matt Lanter (Timeless, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, 90210) stars as Blue Beetle alongside Jeff Bennett (Johnny Bravo, Curious George) as Captain Atom & Pops, Ashly Burch (The Ghost and Molly McGee) as Nightshade, David Kaye (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe) as The Question, and Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) as Dr. Spectro. Originally attached to Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two, Blue Beetle is directed by Milo Neuman (Freedom Fighters: The Ray) from a screenplay by Jennifer Keene (Phineas and Ferb) based on a story by Jeremy Adams (Mortal Kombat Legends franchise).
Runtime: Appr. 15 minutes
DC Showcase - Blue Beetle Mini-Review
By James Harvey
Lovingly inspired by the likes of the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon and Superfriends, the DC Showcase - Blue Beetle short is a total nostalgic romp. It leans hard into what we expect of cartoons from that era, such as bad animation and barely coherent stories, and it's all the better for it. Blue Beetle is another strong, albeit very different, entry in the DC Showcase animated shorts library.
What's the plot here? Basically, the original Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) teams up with Captain Atom, The Question and Nightshade to battle Doctor Spectro, a foe who can manipulate emotions. That's it (well, there's plenty of comedy and humor, plus a little bit of action, too). The very game cast for this very Grantray-Lawrence Animation/Krantz Films-inspired trip includes Matt Lanter as Beetle, with David Kaye as The Question, Jeff Bennet as Captain Atom, Ashly Burch as Nightshade and Tom Kenny as Spectro.
Directed by Milo Neuman with a screenplay by Jennifer Keene, and based on a story by Jeremy Adams, Blue Beetle is just a total hoot. Everything about this short is pitch-perfect. The paper-thin plot, the bad animation, the lame humor, the over-expressive and occasional bad line reads - every last little bit of it works. There's also a couple running gags (including Blue Beetle repeatedly trying to deny his secret identity), some great meta bits (including a reference to Charlton Comics), and just some really excellent jokes (usually courtesy of The Question).
DC Showcase - Blue Beetle is not just another great animated short from Warner Bros. Animation, but it's also something refreshingly different. It's a fun, light, meta throwback to the old cartoons of the 1960s and 1970s, plus it's a notable departure from other DC Showcase shorts, but the cast and crew here stick the landing with ease. Long-time fans will definitely have a lot to appreciate here, and even new ones should enjoy this throwback to a long-ago era of 1960s superhero hijinks. Highly Recommended!
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