Finally! A superhero movie with a heart that the whole family can enjoy that is not all about world destruction. DC’s new film Blue Beetle puts a Mexican American family at its core delivering laughs, cheers, and even some tears. The film is uplifting during the entire duration of the film.
After Jaime Reyes (perfectly cast and played by Xolo Mariduena) discovers an alien scarab that gives him superpowers, he faces off with a corporation led by Victoria Kord (deviously played by Susan Sarandon) who wants to lay claim to the technology. 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 unlikely superhero Blue Beetle.
The supporting cast consists of George Lopez as Uncle Rudy Reyes and newcomer Belissa Escobedo as the sassy and opinionated sister Milagro Reyes. Although one might think that Lopez is mere comic relief in the film, that is not the case. The whole family has their moment to shine; they’re not just mere backdrop. It’s refreshing to see how much the Reyes clan plays a part in creating a family for audiences to relate with. Think of how Shazam (the first one, not the sequel, because that second one was a massive drop in quality) utilizes his adopted siblings to form a band of superheroes.
What’s well done with Blue Beetle is that it doesn’t paint the Reyes family as a onenote Pan-Latino. They are very specifically Mexican. Musically, the film goes as far as incorporating Mexico’s musical legend, Vicente Fernandez, as does party favorite “La Chona.” Selena of course is a given as Uncle Rudy rocks out to “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” in his decked out pickup truck.
Though the film does fall into the often-trodden territory of special effects and larger-than-life set pieces, Blue Beetle also delivers a missive of cultural critique. However, the film is not saturated by CGI like The Flash, or Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania. Rather, Blue Beetle has the same feel as the early Tobey Maguire Spiderman films with a hint of the first Iron Man.
Remember that feeling you felt after the first Thor film? Or what about the first Wonder Woman, or The Black Panther films? It brings forth the feeling of nostalgia and joy because it delivers a fresh take on what has been the trope of superhero films. The movie depicts the important ways we’re influenced by our families, and most importantly, it allows us to see ourselves, because in the end, representation matters, and in this case, it’s a Mexican American family.
Puerto Rican director Angel Manuel Soto treats the genre with an endearing fondness and he’s created a film with a breath of fresh air, with throwback qualities that have mostly been missing in recent years.
Blue Beetle is rated fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with an “A” audience cinemascore. Here’s hoping that through good word of mouth, Blue Beetle will find success. DC needs this and we need more Blue Beetle films in the future.
Blue Beetle is now playing only in theaters.