Jaime Reyes – a young man from a poor family, unemployed in the movie “Blue Beetle” – is shocked when he suddenly receives the most advanced extraterrestrial armor.
The film was released on August 18 and is the latest project from the DC universe. Revolving around the first Latin superhero, Blue Beetle is expected to bring a fresh breeze after some recent films from the same studio – such as The Flash, Shazam! Fury of the Gods – failed at the box office.
Director Ángel Manuel Soto chooses the familiar formula of superhero movies to introduce the origin of Blue Beetle. The 22-year-old young man Jaime Reyes (played by Xolo Maridueña) returns to his homeland Mexico after graduating from college, struggling to find a job. Despite having many dreams, Jaime is confronted with the harsh reality of financial burdens: his father loses his job, and the family is about to lose their home due to rising rent.
One time, while working at the mansion of Victoria Kord – the CEO of Kord Industries, a weapons manufacturing corporation – Jaime accidentally comes into possession of a box containing a Scarab – a biomechanical extraterrestrial armor in the form of a blue scarab beetle. After being chosen by the Scarab to host its symbiotic relationship, Jaime struggles to acquaint himself with his newfound powers. Being hunted by the owner of Kord Industries to retrieve the cutting-edge technology, Jaime realizes that becoming a superhero is never an easy task.
Jaime Reyes (played by Xolo Maridueña) is granted the power by the Blue Beetle armor
An unknown character receiving superpowers is not a new motif in both Marvel and DC movies. However, Blue Beetle still captivates with its intimate and humor-filled storytelling in the style of coming-of-age films. Jaime Reyes doesn’t aspire to become a world-saving hero. He simply wants to find a job to help his family, build a career to not disappoint his grandmother and mother.
Jaime’s inherent goodness is what leads the Scarab to choose him for its power. At the beginning of the movie, in a confrontation with a villain, the Scarab wants to eliminate the enemy, but Jaime intervenes. Jaime’s psychological struggle in choosing to become a hero is logically developed. He realizes that it’s the only way to protect his loved ones from evil, even though the path is challenging and full of responsibilities.
Unlike many films of the same genre, Blue Beetle stands out with its rich family emotional storyline. Set primarily in Mexico, the film features many characteristic details of life and Latin American culture. The Reyes family, spanning three generations, live in close quarters in a house but always wear smiles of optimism, supporting each other to overcome difficulties. They share breakfast with tacos, singing along to a familiar tune. When Jaime starts working, the extended family gathers at his workplace to show their support.
Jaime Reyes has the support of his family as he becomes a superhero.
In the latter part of the film, when a crisis occurs, the power of family becomes even more prominent. At this point, Jaime doesn’t fight alone, as he is supported by his relatives. The sense of responsibility towards his family helps Jaime unlock the full potential of the Scarab, fully mastering the high-tech armor.
The visual effects are well-utilized in the scenes where Blue Beetle showcases his powers. At the start of the film, the segment where Jaime acquaints himself with the armor brings visual effects with soaring flights beyond Earth’s orbit, flying through the city, and slicing buses in half with energy beams. The action scenes are visually impressive as Jaime single-handedly confronts the henchmen of Victoria Kord – someone who holds technology with power comparable to the Scarab.
The film’s weak point lies in its antagonist line. The “mastermind” character is portrayed as cunning and ambitious, but doesn’t create a sense of formidable opposition. The final battle scene doesn’t elevate the tension to its peak, as Jaime easily overcomes the villain. On the film review website Rotten Tomatoes, the movie is rated at 76% by critics – a favorable score. Blue Beetle is predicted to achieve an opening weekend box office of 30 million USD, taking the lead in the North American market.