While Blue Beetle might not have the household name status of Superman or Batman, it’s been drumming up a lot of anticipation as one of 2023’s most eagerly awaited superhero flicks.
But the burning question remains: Can Blue Beetle elbow its way into the spotlight in an overcrowded superhero cinematic universe?
The modern cinema landscape is bursting at the seams with capes, masks, and magical hammers. Even casual viewers could recite the backstory of Peter Parker getting bitten by a radioactive spider or Bruce Wayne witnessing the tragic demise of his parents in a dark alley.
It’s high time for something—or someone—fresh to join the fray.
Blue Beetle has a unique shot at breaking the mold in this congested superhero realm, where we are often served a rehashed version of the same formula.
There’s a lot riding on this film, and not just for die-hard comic book fans but for anyone looking for a cinematic experience that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking.
So, as we gear up for its release, the real test for Blue Beetle won’t just be whether it can match the thrills and spills of its more celebrated peers. Instead, the stakes are even higher.
The film needs to capture our imaginations in a way that makes us look at the genre through a new lens. Only then can it transform from a mere blip on the superhero radar to a significant cultural milestone.
Is it up to the task? We’re about to find out.
What’s the Backstory of Blue Beetle?
Meet Jaime Reyes (portrayed by Xolo Maridueña), the fresh-faced DC hero who has just earned his college degree and is in hot pursuit of a brighter future for his family, who originally hail from Mexico.
Destiny, however, has other plans in store for him. Enter Jenny Kord (played by Bruna Marquezine), a high-rolling heiress who tasks him with safeguarding a mysterious package.
What’s inside? None other than the Scarab—an intergalactic, world-destroying weapon that ultimately selects Jaime as its next host.
Now, if you think that’s a tangled web, wait until you hear the next twist. This Scarab, whose voice is chillingly articulated by singer Becky G, becomes an object of obsession for Jenny’s Aunt Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon).
This crafty relative envisions repurposing the extraterrestrial artifact for the production of ultra-powerful military weaponry, blatantly opposing the moral compasses of both Jenny and her father.
But here’s where things get really dicey: Jaime finds himself at the center of a manhunt due to his newly-acquired, Scarab-fueled capabilities, putting not just him but his family in the line of fire.
In a genre overstuffed with heroes following predictable arcs—often rich guys with tech or god-like beings from other dimensions—Jaime Reyes represents something of an underdog.
He’s not a billionaire or a deity, but a young adult, fresh out of college, grappling with newfound responsibilities that extend beyond job applications and student loans. This makes his character arc not just relatable but downright compelling.
To thicken the plot, Jaime’s not the only one trying to navigate ethical minefields here. Jenny Kord and her father also find themselves at the crossroads of ethical considerations versus family loyalty, embodied by the dubious ambitions of Victoria Kord.
It’s a layered narrative that doesn’t shy away from diving into complex family dynamics, ethical quandaries, and the weight of responsibility—themes that aren’t always front and center in superhero tales.
So, Jaime Reyes finds himself in a position that’s as unprecedented as it is perilous. At stake is not just his own survival, but the welfare of his family, and perhaps even the moral fabric of the world as it teeters on the edge of weaponization.
With a Scarab affixed to his spine, Jaime’s coming-of-age journey takes on cosmic proportions. Yes, he’s a superhero, but at his core, he remains an everyman forced to navigate an extraordinary situation, with the universe itself hanging in the balance.
And you thought your post-college life was complicated.
Latin Culture Takes the Spotlight in Hollywood
When it comes to superhero movies, and origin stories in particular, let’s be real—we’ve been around the block a few times, and we know the tropes and clichés to expect. “Blue Beetle,” helmed by Angel Manuel Soto, doesn’t necessarily rewrite the superhero playbook.
What it does offer, however, is an irresistible blend of charm and a robust Latin flair that centralizes the concept of family within its narrative.
Now, before you roll your eyes at yet another “the power of family conquers all” storyline (Yes, Vin Diesel, we’re looking at you; and Flash TV series, don’t think you’re off the hook), consider this: “Blue Beetle” makes it believably clear that in the intricate weave of Latin family dynamics, it’s basically impossible for a superhero to keep their identity under wraps.
Can you imagine a Latin family NOT discussing their superhero relative at Sunday brunch? It’s basically a topic that would steal the conversational spotlight every single weekend.
This is why Jaime’s real strength being his family feels so spot-on. The audience, especially those of Latin descent, will find a lot to love with the myriad of Mexican cultural references sprinkled throughout the story.
The film’s emotional core, which also has its fair share of humor, far outshines any lackluster visual effects or predictable plot twists.
Truly, if there’s a scene-stealer here, it’s Grandma, portrayed by Adriana Barraza. She doesn’t just steal scenes; she practically hijacks the film with her magnetic presence.
Where “Blue Beetle” really distances itself from the superhero pack is in its cultural texture.
It’s not just a nod to Latin heritage; it’s a deep dive, diving into the subtleties of language, food, music, and family gatherings that so define the culture. And that’s a win, not just for representation but for storytelling depth.
The film may not be a masterclass in unexpected plot contortions, but its real twist lies in its cultural richness and character depth.
In a landscape filled with heroes torn from the pages of America, it’s both refreshing and profoundly necessary to have a film that places a Latin hero and his complex world front and center.
So even if the film doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it brings its own distinctive flair to a well-trodden genre, and that’s something worth celebrating.
Bruna Marquezine and Xolo Maridueña Shine in “Blue Beetle”
You can’t delve into the fabric of the Reyes family without tipping your hat to the stellar casting choices. This ensemble crafts an infectiously enjoyable on-screen chemistry that serves as the movie’s backbone.
Let’s start with the man of the hour, Xolo Maridueña. If there’s ever been a clear sign that he deserves a place in DC’s universe, especially post-James Gunn’s reboot, it’s his portrayal of Jaime Reyes.
Not only does he give us a Jaime with a heart of gold, but he also knows how to balance gravitas with unfiltered enjoyment—even in the middle of a fistfight.
Sounds familiar? Well, he’s honed that skill perfectly in “Cobra Kai.” His rendition of the character bursts with a raw vulnerability coupled with a kinetic energy, marking him as a breakout action star for Hollywood’s new generation.
As for the rest of the Reyes clan, the lineup is a motley crew of engaging personalities. There’s Milagro (Belissa Escobedo), the quintessential little sister; the ever-wise and hopeful dad, Alberto (Damián Alcázar); Rudy (George Lopez), the zany uncle who’s good for a laugh; and the fiercely protective mom, Rocio (Elpidia Carrillo).
And let’s not forget the already mentioned scene-stealer, Grandma. Some are the comic relief, some are the emotional anchors, but they all collectively make up a captivating ensemble that you can’t help but root for.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room—or should we say the Brazilian sensation that has everyone buzzing? Yep, Bruna Marquezine. If you’re a fan, you’re in luck.
Not only does her character, Jenny, serve as Jaime’s love interest (which I’m totally rooting for, by the way), but she’s also the catalyst that sets the entire story into motion.
This means she has a rather weighty role in the unfolding drama, and boy does she own it. Sharing the screen with an acting juggernaut like Susan Sarandon? You’d think she’d be overshadowed, but nope—she holds her own spectacularly.
It’s no wonder her Hollywood debut has won her accolades from critics worldwide, and let me tell you, the praise is well-deserved.
So when you bring all these characters together under one roof—or in this case, one frame—the result is a narrative playground where the story and its characters don’t just exist; they pulsate with life.
It’s this combination of talents that enriches the movie’s texture, giving us an organic sense of a real family. So it’s not just about heroes and villains; it’s about people. And that, my friends, is worth the price of admission.
Is “Blue Beetle” Worth the Watch? Here’s the Lowdown
Frankly, critiquing “Blue Beetle” is a bit like threading a needle while riding a roller coaster. Why? Because the film is, undeniably, an enjoyable romp, albeit one with no sky-high ambitions.
While it lovingly winks at titans like Superman, Batman, and The Flash, it’s crystal clear that director Angel Manuel Soto isn’t too concerned with spinning a tangled web of connections to a broader cinematic universe.
Sure, it paves the way for sequels—this is Hollywood after all, and yes, keep your seats for not one but two post-credit scenes!
Yet the film’s core mission is really to introduce us to Jaime, his family, and Jenny. So much so that the villains—despite being portrayed by powerhouses like Susan Sarandon, Raoul Max Trujillo, and Harvey Guillén—don’t exactly get much of the spotlight or intricate character arcs.
The character Carapax even tosses in a plot twist, but let’s keep it real: they’re sort of a sidebar to the main action. (On a side note: it’s thrilling to see Harvey Guillén steadily carving out more real estate for himself in Hollywood; if you haven’t yet, definitely catch him in “What We Do In the Shadows”).
One could argue that “Blue Beetle” isn’t exactly breaking the mold in an era supersaturated with superhero flicks. And you wouldn’t be wrong.
However, this film is pulsating with heart (cliché as it might sound) and boasts a distinct persona that sets it apart from the recent soulless fumbles that DC has been churning out.
The last standout? Most likely, “The Suicide Squad,” a film designed to right the course of a ship that had veered perilously off course.
Perhaps it’s high time we ease off our focus on the tried-and-true classics. I mean, another Superman is on the way, this time featuring David Corenswet.
Instead, why not open the door wider for diverse and fresh narratives? “Blue Beetle” might not reinvent the wheel, but it unquestionably shakes up the board in manifold ways.
It’s a film with emotional heft, peppering in fresh faces that better mirror its diverse fanbase. People who, let’s face it, deserve to see more of themselves on the big screen.
Look, I can recite Justice League plots in my sleep, but isn’t it about time we usher in something new, warts and all? Let’s hope James Gunn is listening because, let’s face it, we Latinos are always battle-ready, ever geared for the next challenge.
“Blue Beetle,” based on DC Comics, follows young Mexican Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña), who, fresh out of school, returns home full of aspirations for the future.
While searching for his purpose in the world—and a job—fate surprises him by placing an ancient relic of alien biotechnology in his path, known as the Scarab.
The blue alien beetle chooses Jaime as its symbiotic host, granting him super-powered armor and abilities. The catch is that the item is highly sought after by businesswoman Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon), who joins forces with villain Carapax (Raoul Max Trujillo) to retrieve it.
In this whole mess, Jaime can only rely on the help of his own family and young Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine). Now, the young man must face unpredictable challenges; his life is forever changed as he becomes the superhero Blue Beetle.