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‘Blue Beetle’: Simple, yet fun superhero flick

Screenshot from Blue Beetle trailer | Warner Bros. Pictures

Blue Beetle is an action-adventure superhero film based on the DC Comics’ character Jaime Reyes, the third person to take up the Blue Beetle name.

Created in 2006 by Keith Giffen, John Rogers and Cully Hamner, the hero has gained a cult following due to numerous critically acclaimed comic runs, as well as his appearances in various animated projects and games. This left many fans eager to see the character brought to life on the big screen. Fans will be excited to know that this film not only meets their expectations but exceeds them as well.

Directed by Ángel Manuel Soto, the film tells the heartfelt story of Jaime and his relatives accepting his newfound role as a superhero and shows how family can be the foundation that helps anyone endure the hardships of life.

The film touches on many real-world issues like gentrification, displacement, racism and the ravages of war. This film, and by extension, Jaime’s character, is unique from other heroes in the genre in that he reluctantly becomes a superhero after an alien scarab latches onto him, and his family knows about his double life and actively supports it.

Actor Xolo Maridueña, does an excellent job at portraying the character, as he embodies everything great about the comic’s incarnation, from his compassion for others to a quirkiness that makes him so relatable and endearing.

Jaime’s family fills out the supporting cast of the film and are brought to life by many phenomenal actors, such as Belissa Escobedo, Damián Alcázar, Elpidia Carrillo, Adriana Barraza and George Lopez, all of whom have great chemistry with Maridueña and make their family dynamic believable.

Both Bruna Marquezine and Susan Sarandon play newly created characters for the movie, with the former being Ted Kord’s daughter, Jenny, and the latter being his sister, Victoria, who serves as the antagonist for the film.

Comic fans will be delighted to know that although he doesn’t make an appearance, Ted Kord,

Jaime’s predecessor, has a surprisingly large presence in the film, with both his and Dan Garrett’s costumes making their live-action debut. Ted’s iconic ship, the Bug, is also used in the climax of the film.

Ted’s comedic personality from the comics is also excellently conveyed through his inventions like a power glove gauntlet, Rubik’s Cube minigun and foam bubblegum, all of which are used by the Reyes family.

Raoul Max Trujillo plays Ignacio Carapax, a villain who makes his live-action debut as

Victoria’s enforcer, complete with a comic-accurate costume. The Omni Mind and Community Project also appears, which is Victoria’s main goal toward making more war-derived profit, but aside from the name, it is nothing like its comic counterpart.

Although generally well received, the film has been criticized for being too formulaic in its story structure, like the plotline of an evil villain wanting more fortune and power by using a MacGuffin, or a gadget that drives the plot forward. Another formula lies in how the main character is the chosen one who gets abilities that the villain can’t get from the MacGuffin.

Although this is true, simple story is what drives focus to the crux of the film.  Jaime’s love for his family allows viewers to connect with the Reyes family and creates a warm atmosphere that makes one feel as if they’re a part of the family.

All in all, Blue Beetle is a fantastic movie with heart and soul and the love for both the character of Blue Beetle and Latino culture is very palpable. Although some may criticize it for its basic story structure, this in no way detracts from how engaging and how wholesome the movie is.

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