DC is back with another film hot off the heels of The Flash’s big $200mil loss, can Blue Beetle save DC as James Gunn begins his reboot of the film universe?
Jaime Reyes suddenly finds himself in possession of an ancient relic of alien biotechnology called the Scarab. When the Scarab chooses Jaime to be its symbiotic host, he’s bestowed with an incredible suit of armor that’s capable of extraordinary and unpredictable powers, forever changing his destiny as he becomes the superhero Blue Beetle.
Superhero culture in film has been beyond saturated lately and many are simply worn out. Too much, too quickly. DC has that in spades with a jumbled and messy cinematic universe that is light years behind the MCU. The last few films for DC have been huge busts in terms of box office and audience satisfaction. With the shake-up of the DC universe under James Gunn, the question is, can they reboot and start over?
Blue Beetle won’t answer that question because it mostly stands alone from the rest of the DC universe, so far. James Gunn has commented that Blue Beetle as a character will continue in the new DCU, but isn’t the first new DCU film in the universe. To its benefit, Blue Beetle doesn’t drag in any of the DC baggage in the form of character cameos or post-credit scenes and instead stands on its own. Sure there will be character callouts and other pieces of that world that you will see in the film but that’s it. This is the origin story of Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle.
Jaime Reyes played by Xolo Maridueña has just graduated college and is trying to help his family after he finds out they are about to lose their home. Events ensue that tangle his future with that of the Blue Beetle, a scarab-like sentient creature that forms a symbiotic bond with Jaime and proves to grab the attention of KORD industries. We don’t get a ton of backstory about the scarab or where it came from, which serves as the only real knock I have on the film as a whole. If you haven’t read the comics, which I have not, you are left with a lot of questions that you just have to sideline for now.
In terms of the overall story, this is an origin story in its truest and purest form. And it focuses heavily on Latino culture and family. With an all-star cast lined up including Bruna Marquezine, Raoul Trujillo, Harvey Guillén, Damián Alcázar, and George Lopez just to name a few, director Angel Manuel Soto aligned the cast with the stories culture. The result was a funny, emotional, energized origin story that brought DC’s first Latino superhero to the big screen in Xolo Maridueña.
The enemy is played by Susan Sarandon as the Aunt and current CEO of KORD Industries who will stop at nothing to gain the power of the scarab. However, she never felt like a real threat in the film. Her ‘muscle’ and military experiment Conrad Carapax (Raoul Trujillo) was far more menacing and his fights with Jaime brought back memories of Iron Man’s initial fight with Iron Monger.
The biggest hurdle this film has is the lack of proper marketing behind it. With the ongoing actor and writers strike, studios have not been able to send talent out to promote their films and unlike Barbie or Oppenheimer, Blue Beetle doesn’t have the same buzz pulling it along. The trailer selected for the film was poorly cut which has left many unsure how good the film will be. Hopefully, you read this and decide to go see it, because you should and it deserves it.
Based on comments from James Gunn, we should hopefully see more of Xolo Maridueña as the Blue Beetle in future DC films. There are 2 post-credit scenes so be sure to stick around, but as mentioned above do not expect any DC cameos in this film. Blue Beetle is one of the best and most fun DC films in a very long time, and landed full of heart and family and Latino culture and I want to see so much more of his story.
Blue Beetle hits theatres on August 18th.