Making his DCU debut, ‘Blue Beetle’ is filled with action, humor, and a strong family dynamic that tugs at the heartstring. Recent college graduate Jaime Reyes unexpectedly crosses paths with an alien biotechnology that gives him incredible power but pits him against the dangerous Kord Industries in Warner Bros.’s latest superhero comic book movie.
What Is The Story of ‘Blue Beetle’?
In ‘Blue Beetle,’ we find Jaime Reyes as he returns home after graduating from college. What should be a time of celebration for the young graduate quickly turns gloomy as Jaime realized that his home was not how he had left it. As he settles back into his house and figures out how he can help his family, he unexpectedly comes into possession of an ancient relic of alien biotechnology known as the Scarab.
When the Scarab chooses Jaime to be its host, he is granted an advanced suit of armor that allows incredible and sometimes unexpected power. Once Kord Industries learns of this, they plan to hunt down Jaime and take the Scarab from him by any means necessary.
Who Is In ‘Blue Beetle’?
This is the Blue Beetle’s official entry into the DC Cinematic Universe. Aside from appearing in comic books starting in 1939, Blue Beetle has also appeared in the DC animated series ‘Young Justice’ and the TV show ‘Smallville.’
Xolo Maridueña is outstanding as Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle, adding his own charm to the character. Jaime has to toe the balance of being excited and apprehensive about his new power while staying grounded enough to understand the dangerous situation he’s in. Maridueña’s performance brought it all to life, as well as the delivering intense fight scenes and emotional moments.
As a young superhero’s origin story, the movie stayed focused on Jaime’s journey of becoming Blue Beetle and how to protect his family from the relentless Kord Industries rather than having him save the world in his first entry into the DCU, keeping the story grounded. The film also spends a good amount of time with Jaime’s close-knit family, hitting many heartfelt moments that elevate the movie.
Story and Direction
The film is directed by Angel Manuel Soto and written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer. The movie quickly introduces Kord Industries and their quest to find the alien biotechnology known as the Scarab. CEO Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon) also alludes to her intention to weaponize the alien technology, as well as her plan for the “One Man Army Corp,” better known as “OMAC.”
Jaime Reyes returns home after graduating college, excited to see his family. Much to his dismay, some unexpected news dampens the mood. The family is facing financial hardship, with their business closing and on the verge of losing their home. It’s subtle, but the film makes a point to show the gentrification of Jaime’s hometown – new corporate businesses such as Starbucks taking over the space of shuttered local businesses.
To help out his family, Jaime and his sister Milagro (Belissa Escobedo) work at a luxury resort owned by Kord Industries, putting him in the path of Victoria Kord and Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine) and, inevitably, the Scarab.
Without knowing, Jaime takes the Scarab home, where it deems him to be a suitable host. Once bonded with the Scarab, the movie kicks into high gear – taking the typical journey of Jaime learning how to use and understand its powers and the threat that comes with it.
The movie moves quickly in its 2 hours and 7 minute runtime but never felt rushed. It establishes the essential points efficiently so the characters can have their time to shine. While it is titled ‘Blue Beetle,’ the movie never forgets that Jaime’s family is equally as important as he is. They are there every step of the way – from the terrifying moment when the Scarab attaches itself to Jaime to supporting him emotionally when he needs it the most.
The attention given to the Reyes family is wonderful, but the same couldn’t be said for the antagonist of the film. The ambitious Victoria Kord will stop at nothing until she can get her hands on the Scarab, but the character remains a surface-level villain at best.
The Family Dynamic
When one thinks of superhero or comic book movie, explosive action sequences and flashy CGI comes to mind. ‘Blue Beetle’ has plenty of that and does it well, but the best part about this movie is Jaime and his family. They have a close relationship that results in playful banter that had the audience in stitches and more importantly, an understanding that the most essential thing about their family is always to support one another no matter what.
The spotlight on the Reyes family gives a valuable and significant representation of the Latino community and culture, and serves as the heartbeat of the film.
This was a solid entry for ‘Blue Beetle’ as a superhero’s origin story. It’s a refreshing take on the Blue Beetle origin and has all the elements that make a great comic book movie – entertaining, great action, and humor. Great to see the writer and director didn’t feel the need to have a superhero who has just come into his powers save the world. Instead, it stayed contained to let the new hero shine at his own pace. More importantly, the Reyes family gave the story all the right emotions in the right places and is the best part of the film.
‘Blue Beetle’ receives 8 out of 10 stars.
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‘Blue Beetle’ is produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, The Safran Company, and DC Films, and will be in theaters on August 18th.