Let’s Hope The Birth of the Blue Beetle is Not Shortlived

Just why this scarab known as the Blue Beetle exists isn’t fully explained in what is clearly the first film in a series, but will we see more movies made?

Blue Beetle Movie PosterÁngel Manuel Soto‘s take on DC Comics Mesoamerican hero, the Blue Beetle shows plenty of promise, but sadly the likelihood of more films is slim. What’s set up deserves a proper trilogy. But because of James Gunn and Peter Safran now handling the chores of managing the DC Cinematic Universe have other plans, if the Bluey’s adventures continues, this director will need the boss’s approval.

Unlike other origin stories, just how this director charts Jaime Reyes (Xolo Maridueña) transition to becoming a superhero is at least a bit different. Instead of being at the wrong place at the wrong time, he’s been given a gift. Just how he uses it depends on how much of a pure heart he has.

Although I’m much more familiar with the Young Justice version than the ones from the comic books of yore, what’s presented is different. Thankfully, no prior knowledge is needed to understand what’s going on. The plot about Victoria Kord (Susan Sarandon) wanting to harness the power of the Scarab sounds almost Egyptian, but it’s found frozen in a block of round stone. The hints of an ancient alien origin got me interested, and without going further into this narrative arc, we meet a fully graduated college student (Jaime) coming home to Palmera City, a fictional city located in the USA and is near Mexico. He’s greeted by his family, and they do a great job at embarrassing him at the airport.

Blue Beetle is ready to Dole Out Justice?

Elsewhere, Jenny (Bruna Marquezine) is at odds with her Aunt Victoria over the direction of her father’s tech company; he’s dead and since his departure, the focus on making military gear has been ramped up. In fact, I thought the idea presented in this film would’ve made for a better Iron Man 2 plot. While this family is having arguments and is very well off, another is having trouble making ends meet. What’s presented is a standard Peter Parker type problem. Jaimie’s degree means zilch and with his sister, Milagro Escobedo (Belissa Escobedo), they work as janitors at the Kord estate.

It’s no surprise that they’ll overhear the in-fighting. But when the young man shows interest in Jenny, what happens next is fairly standard. As their lives go from ho-hum to oh-my-god-what-is-happening, I was laughing out loud at what feels like a Marvel movie rather than DC. Usually their films aren’t as squeaky clean, and perhaps that’s why this film isn’t a huge draw.

Blue Beetle's Hispanic Family is All Casagrande
Blue Beetle’s Hispanic Family is All Casagrande.

As for what this young man can do with this newfound suit, I’m surprised screenwriter Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer isn’t delving deep into any of the local Mesoamerican folklore. While he’s focused on familia as the main theme, other aspects are forgotten. All that ancient alien lore is mostly forgotten. To deviate from the established canon, to have the Scarab helping mankind since the Olmec times would have been a game changer. I’d even welcome the possibility of it creating the Chicxulub crater, which caused the extinction of the dinosaurs when considering its power as revealed during the opening credit sequence.

And as for why more hasn’t been said about why this bug isn’t a Makech (a beetle worn as living jewellery), perhaps it got lost on the cutting room floor. Also, I would’ve liked to see Blue Beetle explore the symbiosis of an insect and man on a non-tech level. What’s presented is almost Kamen Rider-like, but ultimately, to have a work that also recalls why I loved The Green Hornet (not Seth Rogen’s version) is enough for me to give this film my seal of approval.

3½ Stars out of 5

Blue Beetle Final Trailer

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

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