“Blue Beetle” is the best character from the DC Universe this year. Pay attention to the opening credits. I found them telling.
Anyway, outside of the character suddenly surprised they’re powerful and seen as a possible Superhero, all the boxes are checked to make it feel like what you expect to see when you go to a film based on a comic. However, this had several elements that made the film not so cut-and-dry. It’s different from others in very positive ways.
Yes. Our newest young superhero has a super suit to get used to, freaks out when he’s suddenly flying through the air and such, so it has its parallels and its problems like all the rest. This is where I throw in an “on the other hand.” Reason? Because after the routine, similarities in the narrative are through, the film focuses on family much more than I’ve seen before.
Xolo Maridueña plays Jaime Reyes or the Blue Beetle. His family are close and would do anything for one another. It’s deeply rooted in family. Finding this out the biggest nemesis of the Blue Beetle believes that Jaime’s love of family makes him weak.
Not so. You can plainly see that it’s his family that makes him strong. They back him in his choices, help him when they can, even Nana (Adriana Barraza), who was a rebel in her day. And she’s a badass with a gun.
Jaime’s uncle Rudy (George Lopez), who hasn’t met a conspiracy theory he doesn’t stand behind and pass along, Nana and the rest of the family are likable.
Rudy tells his nephew, “It’s our time to have a hero.” The Latino culture is represented very well in this DC Superhero movie, and it felt meaningful and refreshing. Jaime has had a loving upbringing and is down-to-earth, well, except for when his suit sends him flying. You can’t help but like him. It’s an essential difference for director Angel Manuel Soto (The Farm – Original title: La granja) to create an origin story that puts you directly in this young man’s life.
You sense the position he’s put in, considering the local color and how he can be and do the best with what he has been given. He’s changing into something tremendously dominant, but he doesn’t act like he’s better than anyone else because he, for some reason, is “the chosen one.” The Blue Beetle or Scarab takes a host and attaches itself to it, wrapping itself around the spine and becoming one with the host’s brain and cells. Jaime will have a symbiotic relationship with the Scarab… a world-destroying weapon. He hears the Scarab tell him that she can create whatever he can think of. That’s helpful to know! Maybe he can create something to stop all of this.
Jaime just returned home from school. His plan was to help the family have a better life. Instead, he sees nothing has changed, and he can do little to help their situation.
Then he meets Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine), the daughter of the man who created Kord Industries. The Kord company thrives by making exceptional weapons of war. Jaime gets to know Jenny, who will get him a job at the main office building. Before she gets a chance, she sneaks him into a lab, where he sees the Scarab. He hides it for her, taking it home. Uncle Rudy says it looks like the world’s “largest tick.”
Her father wanted to change what his company had been creating but died before he could. Kord Industries went to Jenny’s shrew-like aunt, Victoria. Victoria is played by Susan Sarandon, who is magnificent and realistic as a nasty, cold-blooded woman. Don’t get in her way.
Victoria plans to make a group of soldiers with one suit as powerful as a legion of fighters. She’ll have more power in her two hands than any country and, therefore, control the world. Victoria also has Carapax (Raoul Max Trujillo), whose suit is similar to the Scarab but still needs to be perfected. When she loses her Blue Beetle, she tells Carpax she wants him to find her another “Sanchez,” clearly meaning a peon to do the grunt work and testing for her. She tells him, “Sacrifices must be made for the greater good.”
So, the movie has the bad “guy”; it has a young person learning his place in the world, outstanding CGI, a reason to fight (always for the greater good)… everything comic fans will love.
Yeah. We’ve been here before, but the heart in Jaime’s family and what’s growing within him could be the change the DC Universe needs to continue without being identical to what they’ve given us before and pull away from its main competitor. I think “Blue Beetle” is just what it needed to do those things. Oh, and it is more politically themed than I would have thought it would be. A message or two the writer and or director wanted to include can be heard if your ear is tuned in for it.
There are two end credits to stay for. The first being the better of the two.
And, at the very end of the film, you read Para Rudy. Whoever Rudy was, I can’t help but wonder if he was such an important person, as that is why George Lopez had the name.
Directed by: Angel Manuel Soto
Written by: Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer
Starring: Xolo Maridueña, Bruna Marquezine, Adriana Barraza, George Lopez, Susan Sarandon
Run Time: 2h 7m
Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
Producer: John Rickard, Zev Foreman
Production Co: Warner Bros. Pictures Mexico, Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, Safran Company