With the DC Extended Universe being handed off to the newly formed DC Studio’s, the current lineup looks to be off to a rocky start due to combination of the Writer’s Guild Strike and the lackluster box office sales for Black Adam, it would be best to give the DCEU a proper sendoff before the franchise moves to its soft reboot. The Blue Beetle film shows some real promise with some humor and ties it all nice together with themes of family. This adaptation of Blue Beetle not only stands out as 2023’s superhero flick, but also shows some promise in hopes that the DC Cinematic Universe would live up to the legacy from the short-lived DCEU. All the same, it’s time to merge with the scarab and descend into this Blue Beetle Story. I must advise to you all that there might be spoilers ahead to be ready.
Jaime Reyes is a Mexican-American, played by American actor Xolo Maridueña, who has just returned from College with his new prelaw major degree, only to find out that his family is about to lose their home due to their landlord tripling the rent. Now Jaime has to find a job, which leads him to run into Jenny Kord, who offered him a job at Kord Industries. Even with his embarrassing family cheering him on, Jaime walked into the office building and runs into a visibly upset Jenny and handed a fast food box and told to not open the box. Jaime opens it after pressure from his family to find out what’s in the box – to find a strange scarab covered in light that assimilates with Jaime as its host. Now Jaime and his family get themselves tangled up with a Corporation who happens to be after the scarab as well. Can he protect his family from the current Kord Industries and Carapax while safeguarding the scarab at the same time?
Xolo Really melds into his character as Jaime Reyes even though the creative team had to age him a bit from his comic book counterpart as well as giving Milagro a rebellious teenager persona. Both of the characters have a lot of wit and humor to help the film move forward with the plot, with Jaime and Milagro trying to help when it comes to finding work in an attempt to save his family’s home. The brother-sister dynamic is truly funny and heartwarming. George Lopez’s portrayal as Jaime’s Uncle Rudy is also a welcoming addition, with the all-star actor being the comic relief. Especially where he stated that Batman is just too intimidating, while Ted Kord has some humor. Also, Becky G’s voice role as the Scarab is also an interesting twist with the dynamic between Jaime and the Scarab running system check after acquiring the host.
I would also applaud Ms. Susan Sarandon and Mr. Raoul Max Trujillo for portraying the villains right off the bat with Ms. Sarandon portraying a villainess once again after her role in Enchanted. In contrast, Trujillo is portrayed as the muscle being the foil for Jaime. At the same time, Sarandon matches the role of Victoria Kord and her intent to do whatever it takes to make her family’s company profitable, even if it’s at the expense of everyone’s lives.
The cons, however, is a different story. For example, the film is one of many examples of breaking the rule show, don’t tell. I looked up the film again and they didn’t show specifically how Ted Kord vanished without a trace. I also find Jenny’s existence in the film as somewhat unnecessary. Even with her handing the scarab over to Jaime, I find canon story foreigners being more a hit and miss. Especially when it comes to the source material that clearly states that Ted Kord never had any children, along with his demise in the comics. I also noticed that the OMAC armor donned by Carapax more resembled the Rocket Red brigade armor in the comics. That little bit of design alone demonstrated that DC is starting to lose its sense of originality.
As I stated earlier, Carapax tends to be the foil for Jaime, especially when it comes to upbringing and their views on family. This theme plays a vital role during the battle between the two opposites whether family could be a strength or a weakness. Carapax told Jaime that his love for family makes him weak. Jaime rebuffs his statement that his love for his family makes him strong. We also have to see Carapax’s Backstory regarding the conflict in Venezuela and how it cost him his own family, which also brings sympathy for the villain.
It makes me wonder, given my real world experience about family, whether family really is a support net for me, or hindrance. Regardless of the difficulty in each unique question in life, there are no straight answers. On one hand, I would like to believe that family would continue to support me even during my adulthood. On the other hand, I also feel that family tends to be in the way of proper decision-making to the point of creating friction between parent and child. So, after witnessing the movie, I too also ask that very question about family being strength or a weakness.
In short, the new approach for the Blue Beetle film was enjoyable enough, even with family on the silver screen. Even with the DCEU abruptly coming to a close, I would say Blue Beetle as a franchise would be one of the more memorable films superhero film fans should keep an eye on. All the same, a good deal of good things must come to an end as Warner Bros. decides how to soft reboot it into the DC Cinematic universe. There are even a good deal of Easter eggs in the film, including el Chapulin, which would be enough to keep my intrigue towards the film.
I’m giving the film 7.6 out of 10 stars with the new direction for Blue Beetle caught my interest – but barely. It won’t be long until this version of the Flashpoint Paradox will likely have all of these efforts in the DCEU gone in an instant. Nevertheless, best to savor the film while you can.
Yongma Lee is a digital media/game maker who lives in Olympia.
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