Blue Beetle is DC’s intro to one of its most enjoyable heroes and their first Latino superhero to debut on the big screen! The story of Jaime Reyes is one that’s intensely focused on his family dynamic and his Mexican heritage, showcasing the lives that many in our own country lead as Mexican Americans. After originally being slated to release on streaming only, Warner Bros. made an uncharacteristically smart move to move the film to a theatrical release and I’m happy to report that it’s their (DC) best release of the year and one of the more enjoyable comic book films of 2023 as well!
Growing up across from Palmera City (South Texas) in the Edge Keys, Jaime Reyes (Xolo Mariduena) has returned home after being the first Reyes to graduate college and is looking to get out in the workforce to help save his family’s home. Living with his sister Milagro (Belissa Escobedo), his parents Alberto and Rocio (Damian Alcazar & Elpidia Carrillo), his uncle Rudy (George Lopez), and his Nana (Adriana Barraza), Jaime also juggles trying to live his own life while caring for his family. When Jenny Kord (Bruna Marquezine), daughter of the famous tech giant Ted Kord, meets Jaime and hands him a blue scarab to keep away from bad people, Jaime’s life changes forever when the scarab chooses to link with him.
Blue Beetle doesn’t get bogged down with trying to rehash and recite DC history for the character, despite Jaime technically being a more present-day version of a Blue Beetle hero who’s existed since the 1930’s! Xolo Mariduena is exceptional as Jaime, bringing so much personality to the role and giving him so many great emotional moments to balance out all the ass he kicks. Unlike Shazam, this is a younger hero who is hilarious and representative of his age without being cheesy and too childish. Mariduena’s Blue Beetle is a complex hero who struggles with using his powers in the right way and with sharing his consciousness with this extraterrestrial scarab. He does, however, love that this Blue Beetle suit allows him to create any kind of weapon he can imagine, much like the Green Lantern!
Despite bearing a lot of similarity to other comic book films you’ve seen before, there’s something so refreshing and wonderful about how this film emphasizes the importance of family and highlights why having a multi-generational household is more of a blessing than anything. Being a superhero is often a lonely job and it’s certainly a lot for a young hero to take on, but it makes such a difference that Jaime has his family in his corner because they help him as much as he helps them. There’s tons of heart and humor in this film and while it doesn’t totally bring a lot of newness to the genre (it pays better homage to the DCEU with its action than The Flash), it’s central themes and characters make it more than worth your while and I’m hopeful that we’ll get to see them again in the future.
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